Vandarel Jones Had Hoped To Close Out His Golden Eagles Career In Big Dance

Southern Miss coach James Green and his players are still feeling the sting of being left out of the NC-Double-A tournament, but will revive their basketball interest once the Mississippi State game tips-off 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night in Starkville.

Vandarel Jones, a 6 foot 9 Senior had visions of playing in the Big Dance, but must settle for a possible trip to the Big Apple. Jones bagged 12.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the 22 and 8 Golden Eagles.

Southern Miss center Vandarel Jones says, "I'm very proud of my accomplishments thus far because last year I wasn't in contention for any awards. I wasn't nominated for any team in the conference, so I'm just lucky to be where I am. I wanted to play in the NCAA, but there's a bright side to everything."

Mississippi State was a hot and cold basketball team this season running off 16 wins and 12 losses. The Bulldogs are highly capable of going a long way in the NIT if they play aggressively. Antonio Jackson leads the Bulldogs attack drilling 13 points an outing followed by Tang Hamilton netting 12.7 points per game.

Robert Jackson should provide an interesting clash inside the paint pitting his talents against those of Vandarel Jones of Southern Miss. Mississippi State holds a 13 to 4 edge over Southern Miss in previous head-to-head confrontations. The Bulldogs pulled out a thrilling 72-69 overtime win over the Golden Eagles in their last meeting in December of 1995.

By A.J. Giardina