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Rick Ray Press Conference

Opening Comment:
“I am really excited to be here. Coaching basketball is what I have been doing my entire life. This is all I know and I am ecstatic about being at MSU. I want to thank Scott Stricklin and Mark Keenum for giving me this opportunity. I have the best coach’s wife there is. She supports me, she puts out best foot forward and you guys will enjoy her. I like fans who are excited and fans who anticipate things with this program. That is great for this community. The people here have been so great and so hospitable. The one thing I want to talk about, is giving recognition to Rick Stansbury. He laid a great foundation here and I want to acknowledge him for his great job. I am definitely going to reach out to him because he knows about basketball in Mississippi, and it would be foolish for me to not reach out to him.


“We will be successful — I don’t know how to lose. All I have known is winning my whole life. The program I want to run will allow players the chance to flourish. I believe in individual development; the only way we will be better as a team is to improve individually. I spend an inordinate amount of time on individual development. The game is played through the players, and this is going to be a players program. The system we will run is based on integrity. I believe you win by doing things the right way. I want to make sure we put a team on this court that you guys are proud of. These guys need your support, because, at the end of the day, they are kids. I believe in getting out and pushing the ball. The way we will play is pushing the basketball and putting people on their heels right away.


“I will put together a fantastic staff here that has the same core beliefs that I have. It will take some time, but I want people who care about Mississippi State. I want guys who are hungry and are complete coaches that want to be a head coach one day themselves.


“I have to build a relationship with players in a short amount of time and I have to get them to believe in our system. It will take a little time, but you have to have patience because it will happen.”


On Reaching Out To Recruits:
“The most important recruits are the ones on the team. Rodney Hood is a guy who is very important to our program, but I don’t want to belittle the other guys. Of course we will reach out to the guys we have signed, but I want to reach out to the guys we have on our team already. I have reached out to some and received good feedback. I can answer that question better in two weeks.”


On Player Attrition:
“That should not hinder how you feel about the program. Those things will happen when there is a coaching change. I just need to make sure we don’t have more attrition.”

On Recruiting The Midwest:
“It helps to a degree. We want to build from the inside-out. We want to recruit Mississippi fi rst. Mississippi is the most important state to our program. Then we want to lock down the border states. We want to put a wall around Mississippi. With this day and age in recruiting, you have an advantage when you can get those (in-state) guys on campus.”


On Becoming A Head Coach:
“With my background, I don’t think it will be a problem because I was given a lot of room in my previous jobs. It could be daunting for other people, but I do not think it will be a problem. I relish the opportunity. I do not believe I will be nervous at all.”


On Assistant Coaches:
“My goal is to sit down and talk with current staff here. I would like to retain at least one guy from the previous staff, but we have to be on the same page. They have to have my beliefs and they have to be loyal to me. I want someone who knows me and knows my recruiting so they can represent our university the right way. Lastly, I want a wild card, a guy who recruits me.” 


On Coaching In The SEC:
“The SEC has always been thought of as secondary to football. Kentucky has made everyone up their game if they want to succeed in the SEC. At Clemson, South Carolina was our rivalry, so I am familiar with them.  I am a student of the game and I always watch other teams. The reputation of the SEC use to be that you go there to play football. People are realizing there are good basketball teams here, too.”



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