Several noteworthy Mississippi State items came down the pipe on Wednesday. Let's have a quick look.
Sims, Bednar on Golden Spikes Watch List
The 2021 midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award features a pair of Mississippi State baseball student-athletes in second-year freshmen Will Bednar and Landon Sims.
State is one of four programs nationally with multiple student-athletes on the list and it marks the second-straight season MSU has multiple representatives on the midseason ledger. Bednar and Sims join Jake Mangum and Ethan Small from 2019 as the only MSU tandems to earn a nod to the midseason list for the award.
Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. The midseason watch list features 45 of the nation's top amateur players from the high school and college ranks with the semifinalists announced June 8.
Bednar has made a statement over his first seven appearances this season, including four solid starts in SEC play. The right-hander owns a 2-0 record and has allowed just 18 hits and four walks in 30 innings of work on the mound. He has fanned 48 batters, including 10 in each of his first two SEC starts. Bednar’s ERA sits at 2.10 and opponents are hitting just .171 against the Valencia, Pennsylvania, native.
After four perfect innings of relief in the season opener against No. 9 Texas, Sims has continued to push his name into the ranks of the best bullpen arms in college baseball. Of his 64 outs recorded, 43 have come via strikeout. Over his 21 1/3 innings of work, Sims has allowed just one run of his own and stranded five of six inherited runners. The opposition is hitting just .137 against the right-hander and he owns a 2-0 record to go along with three saves.
Alden Applewhite officially signs with MSU
Alden Applewhite has inked his National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the Mississippi State men’s basketball program announced Wednesday by head coach Ben Howland during the spring signing period.
Applewhite, a 6-7 forward from Memphis, Tennessee, will join the Bulldogs as a freshman starting in 2021-22. His prep stops include nationally-acclaimed Arizona Compass Prep School under Ed Gipson in addition to Houston and Lausanne High Schools in Memphis.
Applewhite is an excellent three-point shooter with beyond NBA-type range. He also is a solid passer and decision maker on offense.
Applewhite averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game before being sideline with an injury at Arizona Compass Prep last season. He led Houston High School to the program’s first state tournament appearance where he amassed 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during his junior season. Applewhite was the District 15-AAA regular season and tournament most valuable player in 2019-20 under the tutelage of Charlie Leonard.
Applewhite’s brother, Andre Applewhite, played for the Bulldogs during the 2013-14 season for Rick Ray. He chose State over Clemson, Iowa State, St. John’s and Wake Forest.
COACH HOWLAND ON APPLEWHITE:
“We’re excited to welcome Alden to our Mississippi State basketball family. He has an excellent skill level for a player with his size. He’s a very good shooter. The thing that I was most excited about in his recruitment, in terms of what he can bring to our program, is his ability to space the floor and shoot three’s. Alden is a very intelligent player. His Dad is a coach so he’s been around the game his whole life. He’s got a great feel for the game and possesses a high basketball IQ.”
COACH GIPSON ON APPLEWHITE:
“Alden is an extremely versatile player that can play multiple positions. He’s a high IQ kid with elite passing ability that can shoot from deep. He was a huge part of our success with his leadership skills, and his willingness to play and guard multiple positions. I have no doubt that Alden will be successful at Mississippi State. He’s truly built for the SEC in my opinion.”
One-time transfer rule passes
Multiple reports surfaced on Wednesday that the NCAA passed the one-time transfer rule for football, basketball and baseball, though it isn't expected to become official until Thursday.
Assuming it has indeed passed, that means college football, basketball and baseball players will now have the option to transfer one time before graduating without having to sit out for a season. Other sports have had that option available already.
The passage of this rule would have quick benefits for Mississippi State. The football program in particular already has players, such as defensive back Jalen Green and wide receiver Makai Polk, who have recently transferred in and would become immediately eligible to play for State in the 2021 season.