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Jalen Steele took the podium Wednesday afternoon as the new face of Mississippi State basketball and ensured Mississippi State fans there is a new brand of basketball on the way.
‚ÄúComing in here after all I‚Äôve been through, it‚Äôs been quite a ride, but I‚Äôm here standing strong and ready to move on for another year,‚ÄĚ Steele said as he addressed the media. ‚ÄúMost of the players that played a lot, they‚Äôre gone and it is time for us to step up and accept big roles. I‚Äôm going to accept this role and make the most out of it.‚ÄĚ
Steele was honest in looking back on the 2011-12 season and the opportunities that were missed, admitting the Bulldogs were talented enough to reach the Sweet 16 but they got in their own way of achieving their goals. He simply said ‚Äėit is a breath of fresh air‚Äô to have players leave the program. The drama is gone and he is ready to take advantage of his opportunity.
‚ÄúIt is a great feeling knowing we don‚Äôt have to worry about who is going to go where," said Steele who made 70 3-point baskets last season for MSU. "Now we can work with the group that‚Äôs here.
"Now it is my time, and it is our time. It is our turn to step up and show people that we can play also and prove everybody wrong that we can win games next year.‚ÄĚ
‚Ä®Steele didn‚Äôt shy away from acknowledging the amount of work it would take to return Bulldog basketball back to form.
‚ÄúI just told Wendell (Lewis) that we‚Äôve got to go out and work twice as hard as we have worked in our entire life,‚ÄĚ said Steele. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got to do that just to keep the team in shape, keep us in shape and get the new guys in here and help them out.‚ÄĚ
New MSU head coach Rick Ray is expected to bring his own style to the table and that‚Äôs something that got Steele‚Äôs attention from day one. ‚Ä®
‚ÄúFirst of all, he is going to express defense,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúHe said if you‚Äôre not going to play defense, then you‚Äôre not going to play. Right then I was like, he‚Äôs serious about this.‚ÄĚ
Ray‚Äôs defense-first approach is perfectly fine with Steele because he knows the fast paced offense the Bulldogs will now employ will benefit from great defense.
More importantly, it is the discipline the defensive-minded coach brings to the table that has Steele excited.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs been tough," Steele said. "Everything he does is hard. No mess-ups and everything has to be on time.¬†He‚Äôs just the type of guy that will not accept less than what you can do. If you can do more, then he expects more.‚ÄĚ
One thing is for sure, MSU has much hard work ahead of them and Steele is ready for the task of leading the squad.View more articles in: