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State to the League: Where Are They Now?

Several players from the Ben Howland era are trying to make their own way in the NBA. How are they faring, and who’s where?

In 2015, Ben Howland became the head coach of Mississippi State Men’s basketball. Since then, Howland has taken a program that was, in essence, a dumpster fire, and turned it into a competitive team that has a legitimate chance to win the SEC tournament this year.

Howland recruited the highest-rated player in recent memory in Malik Newman, and although the 5-star didn’t pan out, it’s those types of players Howland has been able to bring to Starkville.

When a coach brings that type of talent in, it’s inevitable that some of them will end up playing professional hoops somewhere in the world, and with NBA season tipping off, it’s high time to take a look at where and who those players are from the Howland era.

Quinndary Weatherspoon

Weatherspoon was selected 49th overall in the 2019 NBA draft, spending his first two years in the league playing for the San Antonio Spurs organization on two-way contracts, allowing him to be called up or sent down to the G-league affiliate of the team at any time.

Recently, Weatherspoon was signed to an exhibit 10-day contract/league minimum to the perennial championship contenders, the Golden State Warriors.

On Oct. 15, Weatherspoon was let go from the Warriors and became an unrestricted free agent. More than likely, Weatherspoon will look for a G-league team to hone his skills this year.

Robert Woodard II

Woodard was selected with the 40th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. Through a deal, however, Woodard suited up for the Kings this past season, as they obtained his draft rights. The young prospect showed flashes of the athleticism and strength he was drafted upon, all while improving his basketball skills as the season progressed.

Woodard tore up every game he played in the g-league, becoming one of those fringe players that really only needs one good jump in skill to become a solid role player.

Whether Woodard made that jump this past offseason is yet to be seen, but he will nonetheless suit up for the Kings once more this season as he looks to stake his claim to a consistent roster spot.

Reggie Perry

Perry spent his rookie season in the Brooklyn Nets organization, earning few minutes on the main roster, and playing most of his games in the g-league. This was expected for Perry, as his size and post game worked well in college, but was questionable at best in terms of the next level as Perry stands at only 6-foot-9.

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Perry earned an invite to Toronto Raptors training camp back in late September, which typically either results in a league minimum contract or a player signing with the team’s g-league affiliate. This, was not the result for Perry, as he became a free agent on Oct. 15. 

The future is unclear for Perry, but Bulldog fans are indubitably hoping for the best.

D.J. Stewart 

The general consensus among Bulldog fans last season was that D.J. Stewart should have returned for one more year in the maroon and white, but Stewart felt otherwise. He announced last season that he intended to hire an agent and see where he would land in the draft.

That’s where the issues began. He didn’t land in the draft. Stewart went undrafted.

On Aug. 16, however, Stewart signed a contract with the Miami Heat. Later on in October, however, the Heat placed Stewart’s contract on waivers, and he became a free agent on October 18th. Stewart will no doubt be looking to play ball this season somewhere professionally, it just might have to be out of the country or in the G-league. 

Tyson Carter 

Speaking of playing outside of the country, Tyson Carter knew coming out of college the league was a slim chance for him, especially fresh out of school.

He then decided to take his talents to Greece, and boy did he make a good decision.

Carter left school after graduating to play for G.S. Lavrio B. C., a professional team in a tough Greece league. Carter impacted the team in as many ways as possible, to be frank, leading the team in scoring his rookie season and carrying the club to its first-ever championship game.

Carter has signed on to play for Lavrio again this year, but if he keeps performing at this level, the future could be bright. Plenty of players have successfully made the transition from Euro-league to the NBA, some finding it even easier. Maybe the Starkville product could be the next?

No matter what, the NBA is still a business, and now these former Bulldogs must figure out how to make that business work for them.