By LEE ADAMS
The recent European Tour taken by the Mississippi State Bulldogs wasnâ€™t all about the wins.
It was more about getting some game experience as a team for MSU head coach Rick Stansbury.Â
Even though the 2011-12 season is months away, the Bulldogs were able to get a jump on preparation due to the five-game tour.
â€śIt was a great trip in a lot of ways,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śPlaying five different games and being able to experiment with different lineups and different people was good for us. Thatâ€™s some things we donâ€™t have a lot of time to do in the fall, so from that standpoint it was excellent.â€ťÂ
During its 11-day journey across three countries, MSU played five exhibition games. The Bulldogs won all five of those games, including the finale where they defeated France 99-71.
Stansbury was happy with his team despite not seeing it in basketball shape.
â€śOur kids did a great job,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śI thought our guys played hard and I was very pleased with that.â€ť
Another positive about the trip was the players got to know all their teammates.
â€śit was real good for us to go and mesh as a team and get our chemistry together,â€ť said Arnett Moultrie, who led the Bulldogs in scoring (16.8) and rebound (11.2) average during the tour.
Veteran Bulldog Dee Bost was impressed with just the entire trip.
â€śIt was a nice experience to go overseas, be with our new teammates and play over there,â€ť said Bost.
One missing Bulldog from the tour was Renardo Sidney.
â€śI would have liked for him to be on the trip,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śIt would have been good but he had some things he had to handle.â€ť
Since MSUâ€™s return from Europe, Sidney has taken care of the things he needed to.
â€śHe has fulfilled some obligations he had to have for the team,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śWeâ€™ll see if he keeps progressing and we hope and believe he will.â€ť
Another thing to come out of the tour, is freshman D.J. Gardner will be redshirted this season, and surprisingly this decision didnâ€™t come from Stansbury.
â€śHe came to us before we left on the trip and wanted us to make that decision,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śHe came to us seeing he was way behind, and it didnâ€™t take him long in practice to realize that.â€ť
Normally, the coach decides who he wants to redshirt so Gardner coming to Stansbury was different.
â€śMost guys you have to go them and most of them will fight the redshirt,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śItâ€™s good that heâ€™s able to evaluate some things and he wanted to redshirt.â€ť
The season is still months away, and the Bulldogs are trying to complete their 2011-12 schedule. They plan to have is finished by today, as they have only one game left to schedule.