It appears Coach Rick Ray had a few choice words for Ole Miss star Marshall Henderson after the Rebels ran away with a 19 point win, 82-63 on their home floor to improve to 5-1 in the SEC and 14-5 overall. Mississippi State falls to 3-3 in the SEC and 13-6 overall.
Update 1: The above conversation has been translated between Marshall and Coach Ray: Marshall – “That’s right, we going to the Library tonight in my ride! What you driving these days Coach?” Ray – “TRUCK! You?”
Update 2: MSU Head Coach Rick Ray announced a formal apology to Marshall Henderson and Ole Miss (1/26/14):
“I responded inappropriately to an Ole Miss player [Saturday] in our game,” Ray said in a statement he texted Sunday. “I reached out to [Ole Miss] coach [Andy] Kennedy immediately to apologize and subsequently to the player too. There is no reason for a coach to ever have interaction with an opposing player, ever, regardless of the circumstances. I was more upset with our performance than the player. I was totally at fault.”
Ole Miss and Mississippi State is the SEC’s most played basketball rivalry. Both programs rarely have major success in basketball, the biggest item up for grabs when they play is pride.
Even though the schools are only 100 miles apart and many families in the state are split on their allegiance, some things are quite different as the two schools met for the 249th time in Oxford, MS.
MSU head coach Rick Ray is a strict, hard-nosed coach in the second year of a rebuild from the ground up. Several players have been dismissed from the squad he inherited in 2012 that did not have any players to spare.
Coach Ray, by all accounts is making strides and is getting the most out of his players, in at least effort, if they are not able to shoot from long range.
His players are made up of the guys he couldn’t run off. The hard nosed gutty guys who will accept discipline and play as hard as they possible can.
They still come up short against more talented teams, but you won’t beat them in effort.
Ole Miss’ Senior guard Marshall Henderson may be the antithesis of a Rick Ray type player. A flashy guy who is quick to shoot and take credit for any success his team has.
Even though Rick Ray is not a Mississippi guy, he has quickly taken to the rivalry and has won both games he has coached against the Rebels on his home floor in Starkville.
His home win earlier this season resulted in a huge celebration in the locker room to the point that even Coach Ray himself got into the dance line and “busted a move” with his players in celebration.
With only six scholarship players on the team, two bench players and football player or two, Rick Ray entered Ole Miss’ Tad Smith Coliseum as a 12 point underdog and quickly fell behind, eventually losing to the Rebels in a game where Ray was not happy with the score or the effort from his bulldogs.
As reported by the Commercial Dispatch’s Matthew Stevens, Rick Ray was quoted in post game, saying, “We didn’t compete. Everytime we play somebody good on the road, it’s not even a ballgame.”
The Bulldogs have not won a road SEC game yet this year. When asked what seems to be different about playing on the road, Coach Ray said, “I have no idea. If I knew that, I would try to adjust. I can’t put my thumb on it.”
With a 3-3 record in the SEC, the Bulldogs face the SEC leading Florida Gators and the always elite Kentucky Wildcats sandwiching two road games to Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. MSU could likely lose all four.
Coach Ray has gotten a lot from this thin, young team but taking frustration out on opposing players is out of character to this point.
At least you can’t deny that he is personally invested in his team and getting the most he can from his Dogs.