By JOEL COLEMAN
It has been 25 years since Greg Carter finished off his Mississippi State basketball playing career with a Southeastern Conference regular season co-championship. It’s still just as sweet to him to this day.
The former Bulldog and current Starkville High head coach still vividly remembers the 1990-91 season in which MSU went 20-9 overall and 13-5 in SEC play on the way to hoisting a trophy.
“It’s like we all grew up that year,” Carter said as he looked back. “Everything kind of came together. When we came in as freshmen, we all pointed to that senior year. We all thought we’d be pretty good that year and when it came around, it seemed we were all grown up. The team jelled and we were pretty good.”
Carter and his teammates will be recognized for their success during halftime of Saturday’s 2.30 p.m. game at Humphrey Coliseum when Mississippi State hosts Tennessee. It’ll be a celebration for a group of men who came together to exceed expectations.
Prior to Carter’s senior year, preseason prognosticators weren’t too high on the the Bulldogs. One writer in particular didn’t have much love for MSU’s chances.
“Some polls had us ranked in the middle of the pack in the SEC for my senior year and there was one guy who picked us to finish last,” Carter said. “It was that one guy that picked us to finish last that really motivated us because he called us experienced losers.”
It wasn’t long before MSU had all those who made predictions eating their words. The Bulldogs came out and won the season’s first seven games. In the middle portion of the SEC schedule, Mississippi State put together a run where they went 8-1 over a nine-game stretch to pave the way towards a title.
Then on the regular season’s final day, MSU beat LSU 76-73 to clinch a co-championship alongside the very Tigers they had just defeated. Finally, Carter and the Bulldogs had proven to the individual who picked them last that not only was MSU not a cellar-dweller, they were one of the best.
“I still remember that to this day,” Carter said. “That was one of the things we talked about when we beat LSU in that last regular season game.
“It felt good to hold the SEC championship trophy at the end of the year after what he wrote.”