By MATTHEW STEVENS
Mississippi State junior point guard Dee Bost hasn’t played enough games in the 2010-11 season to qualify to be a league leader in certain statistical categories but that doesn’t mean the Southeastern Conference office isn’t taking notice.
Bost was recognized Monday as the SEC’s Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points, 8.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds in a pair of wins over Ole Miss and Auburn.
After being suspended and academically ineligible for a total of the Bulldogs first 14 games of the season, Bost returned for the league opener against Alabama but made an impact on the road against Ole Miss last Thursday when he poured in a game-high 25 points and eight
“We allowed Dee Bost to turn the corner time and time and time again,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said.
The victory in Oxford was the Bulldogs (10-7, 2-1 in SEC play) third straight in Tad Smith Coliseum making Bost undefeated in that building in his MSU career.
Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said on the SEC media teleconference the play of his point guard has been better since struggling to find his rhythm in the conference-opening loss to Alabama.
“His biggest role (this year) is he becomes our primary ball handler at all times,” Stansbury said. “Last year we could initiate the offense with Barry Stewart. Right now it’s not easy to do that because with Riley Benock and Ravern Johnson, that’s not their games.”
Similarly to when he made his exhibition return against NAIA Belhaven College before the Bulldogs’ 15-day holiday trip, Bost may be allowed to slide over to the shooting guard position as junior-college transfer Brian Bryant develops during the 2010-11 season.
“The biggest thing for him that he’s learned throughout the years (is) you don’t have to search for your shot,” Stansbury said. “There’s times we wish we could slide him over to the two-guard and give him some freedom off that basketball to go score more.”
The NCAA issued State’s floor leader a nine-game suspension after he became academically eligible in the spring semester. The suspension by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Staff is specifically for Bost
failing to properly withdraw by May 8 NBA draft deadline. The 6-foot-2 guard was coming off a sophomore season averaging 13 points, 5.2 assists per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Bost and the rest of his MSU squad will travel to Georgia (13-3, 2-1) Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip.
“Bost is terrific and so good in every area,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said during Monday’s SEC coaches’ teleconference.