Since signing with Mississippi State back in November, point guard P.J. Hardwick has been working on his game daily with well-known instructor and former NBA standout John Lucas. All the while the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native was awaiting his arrival at Mississippi State this summer.
But last month, Hardwick and the other MSU 2012 signees were thrown a curve ball when the coach that recruited them - Rick Stansbury - stepped down from the Mississippi State helm. But on Tuesday night Hardwick received a call from new MSU head coach Rick Ray and that naturally helped to ease some of his concerns.
"It was good to talk with Coach Ray (Tuesday night) and he was just introducing himself to me," said the 5-foot-10 and 170-pound Hardwick. "He said I will be a good asset to the program and that I was what he looks for in a point guard. He said he likes a player that is all about high tempo and that style of play."
Hardwick, who played last season at Christian Life Center near Houston, Texas, said Ray also talked in depth about how his system will be at Mississippi State.
"He said he wanted to his point guards to pressure the ball 94 feet," said Hardwick. "He said he wants his guys up and down and wants his point guards to create a lot in his motion offense. He said the motion offense isn't just pass, pass, pass. He said there is supposed to be a lot of movement so the defenses can't key on just one person."
Ray told Hardwick he would soon be meeting in person with all of the Bulldog signees. Hardwick said he was looking forward to that future meeting and that he feels good about his MSU future again.
"It was just great talking to him and kinda a big relief, too," Hardwick said. "It solidified me being a Bulldog. I liked the things I heard from him and what he has to offer. I can't wait to play for him. He is a young guy that is energetic and he said he won't mind getting in the middle of all of us in practice and playing some ball, too."
Hardwick and fellow signees Fred Thomas and Gavin Ware have all now said their future home is still at MSU. Now he is hoping to get Craig Sword and former prep school teammate Josh Gray to do the same.
"I know Gavin and Fred and I are sticking with Coach Ray," said Hardwick. "I am not sure of Josh and Craig yet. But we have a great class and I just hope we all five stick together."
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