By JOEL COLEMAN
Demetrius Houston is no longer a member of the Mississippi State men’s basketball team head coach Ben Howland announced during a Thursday press conference.
Howland said that Houston will look to transfer and “follow other opportunities.”
The sophomore forward hadn’t played since the season’s opening game when he put up two points in six minutes of action against Eastern Washington. Houston didn’t play in the season’s second game of the season due to a coach’s decision, then was suspended indefinitely prior to Mississippi State’s trip to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Last season, Houston appeared in 29 games. The Montgomery, Alabama native averaged three points and 2.2 rebounds per contest in his freshman campaign.
Ready battling through pain
MSU junior guard I.J. Ready is battling through pain in his knee due to patellar tendinitis. Howland said Ready underwent an MRI which indicated there was nothing serious to the ailment, but Ready missed practices on Monday and Tuesday.
Ready said he’s starting to see improvement however.
“I’m feeling a little better,” Ready said. “It got to one point where I couldn’t even move in practice just because (the knee) was locking up on me, but we’re just being cautious with everything I do and just managing it and getting treatment once or twice a day. We’re icing it and trying to rehab it to try and take the pain away.”
Ready is averaging 12.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this season.
Holman bouncing back
Aric Holman’s comeback has begun. The freshman forward, who underwent knee surgery in September, is back on the practice floor for the Bulldogs.
“Aric has been out the last three practices for an hour each day,” Howland said. “He’s done a really good job for a guy that hasn’t practiced in three months. He has great feel for the game, but he still has a lot of strength left to gain in that leg.”
Ready has been quite impressed with what he’s seen so far out of Holman.
“He’s looking like Aric again,” Ready said. “He’s a great passer and shot-blocker. He has great feel for the game.”
Despite Holman’s progress, Howland says his debut is not imminent.
“He’s still got quite a ways to go to get back to 100 percent where we can throw him into a game,” Howland said. “He looks really good in practice when we’re doing half-court stuff, but as soon as we start going up and down, his lack of conditioning shows up pretty quickly. What we don’t want is to have him out there and push him too far and have him somehow get injured again by doing too much too quickly.”
Staley practicing for bowl
Forward Elijah Staley, who also serves as a backup quarterback for the Mississippi State football team, will prioritize football practice over the hardwood in the coming days as MSU prepares to face NC State in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30.
However, Howland said Staley will travel with the basketball team this weekend as the Bulldogs hit the road for a Saturday matchup at Missouri-Kansas City.
Following the Belk Bowl, Staley will fully return to the basketball squad.
“Once the (Belk Bowl) is over, (Staley’s) plan is to rejoin the (basketball) team immediately,” Howland said. “He has good skill level for someone who hasn’t played basketball in a while. He has a good feel for the game. He obviously isn’t in basketball condition, so that’s something we will try and remedy to get him up to speed. He really helps us because he gives us another quality player out there to make our practices more competitive.”