January 5, 2011

New challenge for Stansbury, State

This is the point in the season when Mississippi State was supposed to have all of its pieces in play.

After half the season in the books filled with suspensions, point guard Dee Bost and big man Renardo Sidney will now take the court together. But along the way the Bulldogs lost junior forward Elgin Bailey and now reserve point guard Twany Beckham to midseason transfers.

"It's literally a new team and a new season for us," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "It's very obvious it's a new team. We've got to learn on the fly. We hoped to come into this situation with a little more experience with (Sidney) but we don't. Basically he's coming in as a brand new guy. What's he played? Two games and not a lot of minutes played. Our challenge is getting our team to function at the level it has to function at this level and you have to do it in SEC play. That's our challenge."

Bailey and Sidney were involved in a much publicized brawl in the stands on Dec. 23 in Hawaii and were both sent home on separate planes missing MSU's final two games of the road trip. It was announced Monday that both of their suspensions were ended and that Bailey had decided to leave the program and transfer.

Aside from the embarrassing fight, the Bulldogs play on the court during the road trip was pretty ugly as well. State sported just a 1-4 mark on the trip losing by an average of 22.5 points.

"You don't like for at any time to have an incident like we had," Stansbury said. "It was difficult enough in itself. Then on top of that you have to deal with playing some pretty good teams on that trip. Forget the travel and no practice time, there were a lot of challenging things on that trip and challenging is a nice word to use."

Beckham's decision to transfer was announced Wednesday. The sophomore missed all of last season with multiple hip surgeries but had played in 14 games this year including starting the first five. He was averaging 2.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game.

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