Inside the SEC: August 14

14 Aug

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

One SEC team is having continued success in Europe, one school lost a key player, two schools landed important commitments and the world is learning what we already know – John Jenkins can flat out shoot.

MSU Still Perfect on European Trip

The Bulldogs may have been in a different country, but the results were the same as the first stop of their European tour, a pair of victories.

Mississippi State defeated Waregem 109-78 on Wednesday and followed that win with an 88-63 victory over St. Jan on Thursday. Both Waregem and St. Jan are division II professional teams in Belgium.

The Bulldogs have one game remaining on their trip against Vanves Basket in Paris on Saturday.

Against Waregen, State led by just eight, 52-44, at intermission, but started the second half on a 10-0 run led by Dee Bost.

“I thought the way we started the second half energized us and took a lot out of them,” Rick Stansbury said. “We played with energy, and this win was against one of the better teams here. I’ve seen improvement, but I also know we still have a lot to work on.”

Bost finished with 20 points, but it was his freshman backcourt running mate, Deville Smith, that turned in the best performance of the night with 22 points.

“I just wanted to get the ball up and down the court,” Smith said. “I thought as a team, we all did that. It was a great win for us. The second half, Dee and Arnett (Moultrie) got us going.”

Speaking of Moultrie, he continued his good play on the trip with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Wendell Lewis and Brian Bryant also reached double figures scoring 14 points apiece.

It was much of the same in the second contest, after leading 41-30 at the break against St. Jan the Bulldogs once again went a run to open the second half this time of the 12-2 variety.

The spurt was keyed by the State defense that forced five St. Jan turnovers in their first six possessions.

“We just kept pressuring them and forcing turnovers,” Wendell Lewis said after the victory in which he led the Bulldogs 15 points.

Coach Stansbury was once again please with the effort that his team.

“You know, everyone battled and played hard,” he said. “And I think you’ve seen this team improve with every game over here. And that’s what you want to see.”

Moultrie and Smith both scored 14 points for State. Incoming freshman Rodney Hood added 13 and Brian Bryant reached double figures with 11.

Derenbecker Leaving Tiger Program

For the second time this summer, a LSU forward has decided to leave the team. This time it is sophomore Matt Derenbecker.

“After some discussion with my family and the coaching staff, I have decided to take some time away from basketball to address some personal matters,” Derenbecker said. “In doing so, I will withdraw from LSU immediately. I wish nothing but the best for my teammates and coaches as they move forward in continuing to rebuild the program.”

The former two-time Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and  ESPNU Top 100 recruit started all but on SEC game averaging 8.3 points over that span. In all he played in 32 games averaging 6.5 points and 2.1 rebounds.

Vanderbilt’s Jenkins Shines in USA Tune-up

Chinese professional team New Century learned firsthand what the SEC and the rest of college basketball already knew, John Jenkins is a really, really good shooter.

How good, you ask. The Vanderbilt junior was a mere 8-of-10 from downtown, racking up 24 points to lead the USA past New Century 88-61 in an exhibition before the World University Games start Saturday.

This was a great experience for our team to come out here and play in this exhibition game in front of a crowd,”Jenkins said. “They came out strong and hit us pretty hard, and we had to battle back throughout the game. I want to thank my teammates for passing me the ball when I was open.”

Kentucky’s Darius Miller scored 7 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, equaling Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe for most on the team. Alabama’s JaMychal Green, who was among the starting lineup, added 7 points.

LSU Nabs In-State Guard

If Trent Johnson is going to bring the Tiger basketball program back to prominence, it has to start on the recruiting trail, and more specifically locking down in-state talent.

Johnson looks to be doing just that, receiving a verbal commitment from 2012 standout and one of the Pelican State’s best guards Malik Morgan.

The 6-foot-4 Morgan, who is rated a 4-star prospect by, chose the Tigers over Boston College, Tulane, and UTEP.

When asked about coach Johnson’s reaction to the news of his commitment Morgan told that “Coach Johnson sounded like he was going to do a split.”

Known more as a scorer, pouring in nearly 30 points per game at John Curtis Christian, Morgan said he likes to get his teammates involved.

“I can score as much as possible, but I also like to get my teammates involved and help set people up,” he said. “I know if I have to I can get 40, but that’s not what I’d prefer to do if I don’t have to.”

Gaines Goes with Georgia

When Kenny Gaines trimmed his list to five schools just a little over a week ago, it seemed that a college decision was still some time away, but the 6-foot-4 shooting guard had other plans.

On Tuesday the Mableton, Georgia native announced his decision on his Twitter account.

“I have decided to take my talents to Athens & join the Bulldogs at the University Of Georgia #GoDawgs!!!,” he wrote.

Gaines cited his relationship with coach Mark Fox as a major part of his decision,

“Really, it was Coach Fox that won me over,”. he told the Altlanta Journal-Constitution. “On Monday night, my mom and I were sitting in my room and praying what decision to make, and what schools to really consider and look at. It was like five minutes after we got done praying that Coach Fox gave us a call. We felt like that really was a sign from God. We asked Him to show us as fast as he could what schools to pick. After we got that phone call, we really knew that it was Georgia.”

The 2012 star, who also had offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Iowa, and South Carolina, joins Charles Mann in the Bulldogs recruiting class.

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