By DANNY P. SMITH
It's big news for Gavin Ware.
It's big news for Mississippi State.
It's big news for Starkville.
The bottom line? It's just big news.
With Gavin Ware's announcement Thursday afternoon that he's going to play college basketball at MSU after his prep career at Starkville High School is over, it provides a certain level of excitement for this city and community.
The sense of pride was evident in the voices of SHS athletic director Stan Miller and boys basketball coach Greg Carter when they heard Ware say he was going to play for the Bulldogs.
"It's a great day for Starkville High basketball to have one of ours go play for Mississippi State," Carter said. "He's going to have the support of not only Starkville High School and Starkville basketball, but the entire community."
Ware has lived in Starkville his whole life and the benefit of playing college basketball in his hometown is knowing his surroundings.
He already knows the best places to buy gas, he knows where to buy groceries and he knows where all of the good restaurants are. There won't be any surprises for Ware when he reaches the next level.
It wasn't surprising to hear from him where he thought the best food in town could be found.
"Home," Ware said.
If Ware honors his commitment and plays with the Bulldogs, he doesn't have to worry about things other prospects do when they come from other schools in Mississippi or out-of-state.
He intends on making the most of it.
"It's just a good opportunity for me to be here and make something out of it," Ware said.
All Ware has to do is make a couple of right turns onto and off Highway 12 to get from the SHS campus to MSU's Humphrey Coliseum. In this day of high gas prices, that has to be a point Ware considered.
The Bulldogs are getting a very intelligent player in Ware and a talented player also. It probably won't take him long to become comfortable with MSU coach Rick Stansbury's system.
Don't expect Ware to look too far ahead. He would like to add another state championship ring to the one he's already wearing on his hand.
The Yellowjackets anticipate being preseason ranked No. 1 in the state this fall. With a healthy Ware and a good supporting cast, Starkville could very well have the potential to be the best team in Mississippi.
It will be very interesting to follow Ware's final year with the Jackets and anticipate what he can eventually provide for the Bulldogs.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.