Yes, it is still football season, and yes the Gridiron Dawgs played a great game on Saturday, but the hoops season is just around the corner and the Basketball Dawgs got some HUGE news today. How huge? How about a Top-10 - and that is a national Top 10 - commitment for the class of 2008?
Hopkinsville (Ky.) University Heights Academy small forward Scotty Hopson made that fantasy a reality tonight when he opted to pick the Bulldogs over many suitors, including several in-state schools. Not only is he a Top-10 player, he is also the No. 1 - yes, No. 1 - small forward in the nation.
"I just committed to Mississippi State, maybe 20-30 minutes ago," he said. "I thought it was the best fit for me. Mainly playing time and things like that. I am expecting to play good minutes and looking forward to being a factor to the team."
Who did he pick the Bulldogs over?
"Schools like Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State schools like that. I felt they were committed to me more than the other schools," he said.
Although rated as a forward, Hopson will bring his skills to State at a different position. After growing to 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, his shooting skills will likely put him in the two slot. An AAU Midstate Ballerz star, coach Mike Artis gives his assessment of his five-star player.
"He's versatile enough," he said. "He can do it all. That is probably his biggest strength, his versatility. His ability to play above the rim. He can definitely do it.
"He liked their level of commitment to him. They were one of the first schools on him and didn't waiver in their recruitment of him. It's all about showing face nobody committed like them."
Coach Rick Stansbury was seen in the vicinity three times, while Kentucky coach Tubby Smith made one token appearance. Hopson had attended State basketball games three times as a sophomore and has been to two MSU football games, in addition to an exhibition hoops game and a Bulldog basketball camp.
So does Hopson have any plans to get ready for his new team?
"I'll be watching them pretty close just to see the playing style and the things I got to adjust to," he said. "I am bringing in a good advantage to the team and I am going to help the team win championships."
Hopson averaged 14 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore.