MSU coach suspends Augustus
Published 5:22 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009
By CHRIS TALBOTT
Associated Press Writer
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury has suspended forward Kodi Augustus for two games.
The coach announced his decision Tuesday, four days after Augustus blasted Stansbury following a season-opening 88-74 loss to Rider that knocked the Bulldogs out of the Top 25. Augustus used two expletives and disparaged Stansbury’s coaching decisions after the loss.
The 6-foot-8 junior from Baton Rouge, La., who is expected to be a significant contributor, played just 15 minutes against Rider.
“I talked with the team and apologized to them,” Augustus said. “It was immature and I need to grow up and make sure it never happens again. My teammates supported me because we were all frustrated about the loss. I accept my punishment and for the next two games I will be their No. 1 fan.”
Stansbury and Augustus clashed last season, but appeared to have worked out their differences.
Augustus told reporters immediately after the game that he was upset with his playing time and that his father believed Stansbury was outcoached in the loss.
He finished with nine points, five rebounds and four fouls in his limited time on the court.
Augustus started the first nine games last season, but Stansbury benched him for 11 games before allowing him to play late in the season. He averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, but was key in the Bulldogs’ run to the Southeastern Conference tournament championship.
The forward said he expected so much more once this season got under way. When it didn’t go as planned, he sat down with reporters and immediately lashed out.
“I talked to my dad,” Augustus said Friday night. “He said we got outcoached. I don’t know. But I looked at it, I only played 15 minutes the whole game. Yeah, I’m (upset), but like I said, I can’t do nothing about it. I played all those minutes in the exhibition games and then you come and play me 15 minutes? Wow!”
Stansbury said Augustus is suspended “among other things” and will be free to return to the team once he completes his suspension.
“Kodi has done well this fall,” Stansbury said. “We have not had any problems with him. I think out of frustration he said some things. When you do things in life, there is accountability for it. I think he is remorseful. We will see how he handles things. If he handles things fine, he will be back where he was.”
The disciplinary action leaves Mississippi State with three scholarship frontcourt players and a walk-on available for Thursday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana and a total of eight ready to play significant minutes.
Injuries and eligibility issues have the roster in a constant state of flux.
Forward Renardo Sidney has yet to be cleared by the NCAA, which is investigating his amateur status, and center John Riek is serving an NCAA-mandated nine-game suspension for taking improper benefits.
Guard Twany Beckham is out for the year with bone spurs and guard Shaun Smith has tests scheduled on his hips and could redshirt this year. Forward Elgin Bailey is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered at the end of last season and hopes to play a few minutes Thursday.
Starting point guard Dee Bost also is hobbled with ankle and groin injuries.
Center Jarvis Varnado said there is no ill will in the locker room and the team is focused on Southeastern Louisiana, no matter how many players are available.
“We have to move on with what we have for our next game,” he said. “We know how we lost the game against Rider and we are trying to improve on the defensive end.”