By MATTHEW STEVENS
When asked what this Mississippi State basketball team is lacking this season, it didn’t take junior Dee Bost long to respond.
The veteran point guard thinks his team is missing a vital organ – heart.
“Same thing I've been saying – heart,” Bost said. “That's all that's missing, if we play with heart and we compete then we should be in every game.”
Bost, who was the only player cited by MSU head coach Rick Stansbury for consistent effort in State’s 86-64 loss at Georgia last weekend, knows now his team can’t afford more bad results against quality competition as they approach a two-game stretch against ranked
Southeastern Conference Eastern Division foes (No. 19 Vanderbilt, No. 24 Florida).
“We can't afford to lose many more games,” Bost said. “We're 10-8 overall and straddling the .500 line and we just got to try to win each game.”
The Bulldogs point guard had 20 points, five assists and just one turnover in 35 minutes of action and possibly most importantly said Monday that his conditioning was back to what it needs to be in order to log a lot of minutes the rest of the league slate.
“I played hard in every possession and tried to give it my all,” Bost said of the Georgia loss. “I tried to get everybody some energy but it seemed like it didn't work. Everybody practiced hard but when the lights come on it goes dead over there. I feel like my conditioning is there. I mean keep pushing and get everybody else there.”
Sidney & Stansbury differ on play in Georgia loss
The big mental divide with what the Bulldogs hope is the final “new version” of the 2010-11 season apparently starts with the play of sophomore forward Renardo Sidney compared to his own perception of his results.
“I talked to him (and) I guess he felt like he played all right,” Bost said. “At the same time it's up to me, Riley and the other guards to get him involved in the game early.”
Sidney was not made available to the media Monday due to an ongoing coach’s decision.
Needless to say, Stansbury has an opposite viewpoint. The 13-year coaching veteran said he’d use both film work and practice time to stress the level the former McDonald’s All-American needs to be at on both ends of the floor.
“We will try to show him all that,” Stansbury said. “Make him understand what you think you're doing and what you've got to do. When he gets in that game, there's so much game slippage back from the way he used to play.”
Sidney informed the public Monday he was going through an illness that Stansbury called a “sinus problem” and it was at the time unknown if he could practice.
Sidney finished the Georgia loss with 15 points and nine rebounds but most of that production came late in the game with the decision not in doubt. Stansbury, who after losing the eligibility to play last season still refers to Sidney as a “freshman” saw a remarkable regression
between the 6-foot-10 forward’s two road performances (Ole Miss and Georgia).
“There's a gap between every young guy,” Stansbury said. “That's part of being a freshman. Do we wish there wasn't a gap? Absolutely. Most freshmen have a gap. Understanding his ability to practice and what he's gone through - there's no question all of it ain't matching up
Motivation throughout a long SEC schedule was brought up as a potential culprit by Stansbury Monday when he met with the media at Humphrey Coliseum.
“Having the ability to get up for every game - not just getting up for certain games or home games,” Stansbury said. “All of them are the same. Every game counts the same. Getting young guys to play with the same mentality every game is an adjustment too.”
Another factor was Sidney's lack of fundamentals in the post on both offense and defense in a league of forwards that exploit inefficiencies in that department.
“(Sidney) has never had to do it a day in his life,” Stansbury said. “He's played straight up and down, been bigger than everybody else and shoot fade-away jumpers. At this level you can't do that. It's a challenge at both ends for him right now.”
Vandy’s Goulbourne named SEC Player of the Week
Vanderbilt’s Lance Goulbourne was honored by the league Monday after he averaged 14.5 points and 13 rebounds in a pair of wins over Ole Miss and 22nd-ranked St. Mary’s (CA) this past week.
Goulbourne joins juniors Brad Tinsley and Festus Ezeli, and sophomore John Jenkins as SEC weekly award winners this season. The 19th-ranked Commodores next play Thursday when they come to Humphrey Coliseum for a matchup with Mississippi State (6 p.m., ESPN2).
“He shines because he's tougher than nails,” Stansbury said. “He's tough. He's coming in and he's a guy that's taken them to another level right now. He can score, shoots the three a little bit and he's just tough."
Goulbourne, who leads the conference in rebounding during league play, had double-double efforts (the first two of his career) at home against both the Rebels and Gaels. The 16 rebounds against Ole Miss was a new career-high and tied a record in a single game for anybody
under Commodores head coach Kevin Stallings.
“He has a gift that helps someone be a great rebounder,” Stallings said after the St. Mary’s win. “He's an excellent two-foot jumper. He can rebound above the rim and can rebound in areas that aren't his own."