Bulldog basketball prepares for upcoming debut

The women’s basketball team plays against the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2019.

The Mississippi State University men and women's basketball teams are hopping back on the court on Nov. 25. The start of the season has been long-awaited since the NCAA set in place health guidelines for the season. 

The MSU men's basketball head coach, Ben Howland, and the new women's basketball head coach, Nikki McCray-Penson, have been getting their teams prepared for the upcoming season.

Howland said in an interview that he is feeling eager about how his freshmen are stepping up to the court.

"Those guys are all learning," Howland said. "All the freshmen. The best thing about a freshman in our situation is that they become sophomores. We're developing players here. These guys are all doing a great job working hard. They've all got some real positives." 

Howland said one freshman in particular to be on the lookout for is defender Cameron Matthews.  

"Our freshmen are improving and getting better. The guy that has really been coming on and doing a lot of positive things for his team the last couple of weeks has been Cameron Matthews out of Olive Branch. He's a very good defender and a good rebounder," Howland said. "He's ... really strong, handles it well, makes good decisions with the ball, does all the little things and the glue things that help your team win. He's done a great job, and I'm really excited about his progress."

Howland seems confident about the freshmen and how they will improve each year for the team.

The women's basketball team just got a new head coach this year. Nikki McCray-Penson has been preparing the ladies for the 2020-2021 season.

"I'm excited to begin this season with my team and staff," McCray-Penson said in a press release. "We have worked hard all off season, both to better our game as well as stay healthy during these times. We have a very talented group this year."

McCray-Penson seems to be eager for the season to begin, as well as eager to play some of her new players, a press release said. 

"Both Caterrion and Charlotte are pieces I believe that fit into the championship puzzle that we are building at MSU," McCray-Penson said. "[Caterrion] fills an immediate need with her experience and ability to consistently knock down open shots."

McCray-Penson has been creating her ideal team to take to the championships. Each and every day she is coaching, McCray-Penson is looking to improve her ladies and do her best to bring them to success.

Both of the Bulldog basketball teams are actively preparing for the season to start. With the little extra time of practice, they will for sure be ready to take on the new season. 

McCray-Penson has a lot of excitement for her first season coaching the Lady Bulldogs this year, and Howland is eager to get those Bulldogs back on the court for his seventh season coaching at MSU. 

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