By LEE ADAMS
The recent European Tour taken by the Mississippi State Bulldogs wasn’t all about the wins.
It was more about getting some game experience as a team for MSU head coach Rick Stansbury.
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.
“It was a great trip in a lot of ways,” said Stansbury. “Playing five different games and being able to experiment with different lineups and different people was good for us. That’s some things we don’t have a lot of time to do in the fall, so from that standpoint it was excellent.”
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.
“Our kids did a great job,” said Stansbury. “I thought our guys played hard and I was very pleased with that.”
Another positive about the trip was the players got to know all their teammates.
“it was real good for us to go and mesh as a team and get our chemistry together,” 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.
“It was a nice experience to go overseas, be with our new teammates and play over there,” said Bost.
One missing Bulldog from the tour was Renardo Sidney.
“I would have liked for him to be on the trip,” said Stansbury. “It would have been good but he had some things he had to handle.”
Since MSU’s return from Europe, Sidney has taken care of the things he needed to.
“He has fulfilled some obligations he had to have for the team,” said Stansbury. “We’ll see if he keeps progressing and we hope and believe he will.”
Another thing to come out of the tour, is freshman D.J. Gardner will be redshirted this season, and surprisingly this decision didn’t come from Stansbury.
“He came to us before we left on the trip and wanted us to make that decision,” said Stansbury. “He came to us seeing he was way behind, and it didn’t take him long in practice to realize that.”
Normally, the coach decides who he wants to redshirt so Gardner coming to Stansbury was different.
“Most guys you have to go them and most of them will fight the redshirt,” said Stansbury. “It’s good that he’s able to evaluate some things and he wanted to redshirt.”
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.