Nick Weatherspoon looks to keep strong sophomore season going at MSU

Nick Weatherspoon

Staff Writer

Sophomore slumps seem to be common in the world of sports.

An athlete comes storming out of the gate in his or her first season only to hit a wall in the second year.

So far, Mississippi State’s Nick Weatherspoon is having none of that. MSU’s sophomore guard, one year after being picked as an All-Southeastern Conference freshman, is following up his debut campaign with even better play. He’ll look to keep it up Tuesday night when the No. 22 Bulldogs (6-1) host McNeese State (2-5) at 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.

Weatherspoon is shooting better than any MSU player that has taken more than 15 shots this season. He has made 28 of his 55 field goal attempts, including an incredibly impressive 10-of-18 mark from 3-point range. Weatherspoon says there hasn’t been any big secret to his shooting success. He’s just taking the right shots.

“I’m just shooting when I’m open and shooting when I feel like I can knock shots down,” Weatherspoon said last week. “I know there are some shots (the coaches) actually get mad at me for not taking because they think I should take it. I’m trying to be unselfish with the ball so I just pass to whoever’s open, but if I’m wide open, I’m going to shoot it.”

Weatherspoon is MSU’s second-leading scorer this season, averaging 11.1 points per game. Only his brother, Quinndary (17.6 points per game), has been better. Nick Weatherspoon has scored in double figures in five of his seven games played this year. In the two games he didn’t hit at least 10 points, he was injured in the first minute of one and never returned against Long Beach State and then scored five against Saint Mary’s.

He’s been incredibly consistent and MSU head coach Ben Howland has taken notice.

“What I think is that (Nick Weatherspoon) is taking the best shots,” Howland said. “I commend his basketball IQ in terms of good shot, bad shot and taking good shots.”

The Bulldogs could use another strong performance out of Weatherspoon Tuesday night as MSU looks to keep up its good start to the season against McNeese State. The Cowboys have struggled this season, but would love to upset the Bulldogs in Starkville. To do that, McNeese State will likely rely heavily on a trio of guys. Guard James Harvey is McNeese State’s leading scorer with 12.9 points per game. Center Malik Hines isn’t far off with 11.1 per contest. Meanwhile, guard Roydell Brown has been strong both scoring and on the glass. He’s nearly averaging a double-double with 9.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

However McNeese State will surely have its hands full with MSU. It could especially have a tough time trying to limit Nick Weatherspoon’s effectiveness as he keeps proving there will be no sophomore slump for him.

“Nick plays way bigger than he is because of his heart, his toughness, his strength and his athleticism,” Howland said earlier this season.