We spent a good 20 minutes with basketball coach Rick Ray at his weekly press conference this afternoon, and he talked a whole lot about his team’s current predicament. The Bulldogs (7-19, 2-12 SEC) have lost 12 consecutive games and are playing with six scholarship players. Here’s video of the first six-plus minutes of Ray’s chat, and I have some more excerpts below.
On maturity factor to get players to play defense when offense struggles:
“It really is a maturity factor, but more so than anything I don’t know if it’s maturity more so than buying into that grinding system. … When you’re losing, no matter what’s going on, it’s hard for people to buy into it. It’s like telling somebody to keep investing in this stock, keep investing in this stock. Why would I keep investing if this stock keep losing money? It doesn’t make sense. That’s the same way some of our kids are going through it.”
Do you remind everyone of the reality of your situation (thin roster, injuries, suspension, etc.)?
“I’m not trying to remind anybody, I’m just trying to say what it actually is. I don’t need for people to feel sorry about what’s going on for me or for our team. I’m not trying to garner, hey, you do remember we only have this. I’m just stating facts. I don’t have an agenda behind it.”
Any buyer’s remorse about taking the job here?
“I don’t want our guys feeling sorry for themselves. I know I don’t feel sorry for myself. I have no buyer’s remorse about being the head coach here at Mississippi State. I think it’s a great opportunity and I think we’re going to be good.”
Teams focusing on Gavin Ware, how’s he handling it?
“It’s two fold. One, it’s getting Gavin to understand what the opposing team is doing. The second thing is how can help combat that? What he has to do is he has to do a better job of sealing. Now when he does get the basketball he doesn’t have to make a dribble move.”
On injured freshman point guard Jacoby Davis:
“Jacoby Davis got cleared on Thursday for five-on-five contact, and he was actually out there being the opposing team’s scouting point guard, and looked good. The thing he obviously doesn’t have is he’s fatigued, because he hasn’t been able to do things.”