October 24, 2007

Returning freshmen have Stansbury grinning

As Barry Stewart took his seat in front of a gathering of media Monday, the Bulldogs sophomore was asked about his expanded role with this year's Mississippi State basketball team. Stewart burst onto the scene last year to earn a spot on the Coaches SEC All-Freshman team after averaging 9.8 points (fourth on the team) 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his debut season.

Expected to start for the Bulldogs when the '07 -'08 season tips off November 3rd, Stewart is eager to take on the added responsibilities that come with the starter's role. But for Stewart, whether he starts or comes off the bench, his approach is the same.

"You always have the responsibility of taking care of yourself," said Stewart. "That's first and foremost what you have to do as a leader. The different thing about this year is having to be more vocal, that's going to come with time, but I believe I'm ready for the challenge of being a leader this year."

Stewart is not alone in his ascension up the ranks from little-known freshman to starter and leader of this year's MSU squad.
Fellow freshmen Ben Hansbrough and Jarvis Varnado, each of whom joined Stewart as integral parts of last year's NIT run, are also being counted on to move forward with their progression as consistent contributors and team leaders.
Rick Stansbury likes the group's odds.

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