Mississippi State head coach Chris Jans discusses the basketball offseason.

Mississippi State head coach Chris Jans and his staff have faced an intriguing offseason following the Bulldogs’ second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. With several roster gaps to fill and experienced leaders to replace, Jans began preparations for his third season in Starkville with a multitude of new faces from both the Class of 2024 and the transfer portal.

In a media session on Wednesday, Jans addressed various topics related to the program. Here are some highlights from the interview:

Q: How do you plan to utilize Riley Kugel’s versatility on the court?

A: Kugel’s versatility is a valuable asset, especially in today’s positionless basketball. He has the ability to play multiple positions and contribute in various ways. Once he becomes accustomed to our system, I envision him filling up the stat sheet and providing consistency in his performances.

Q: Any updates on the search for the assistant coach position?

A: The search has been progressing well, with a considerable amount of interest from potential candidates. We’ve been thorough in our vetting process, and we’re nearing the final stages of making a decision.

Q: How did you handle KeShawn Murphy’s decision to enter and then withdraw from the transfer portal?

A: We approached Murphy’s situation with patience and understanding. We provided him with the space to consider his options without pressure. Ultimately, we’re pleased that he chose to remain with us, and we’re excited to have him back on board.

Q: There were reports about your interview for the Arkansas coaching vacancy. Any comments on that?

A: I advise not to believe everything you read on social media. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Q: With the departure of Tolu Smith, how do you plan to fill the void at the center position?

A: Smith’s contributions will be missed, but we’re confident in the abilities of our new additions, Michael Nwoko and Jeremy Foumena, as well as our returning players. It’s a challenge, but we’re excited about the opportunity to develop and grow as a team.

Q: How is the process of scheduling non-conference matchups for the upcoming season?

A: We’re aiming to secure more home-and-home matchups with Power 4 programs. However, it’s a balancing act between home and away games to ensure a competitive schedule that provides opportunities for quality wins.

Q: What are your expectations for Cameron Matthews this offseason?

A: Matthews has shown tremendous athleticism and competitiveness, but he needs to improve his skill level to elevate his game further. This offseason is crucial for his development, both for our team and his future career. He needs to focus on refining his skills and expanding his game to reach his full potential.

Overall, it’s clear that Jans and his staff are focused on maximizing the potential of their roster and preparing for another competitive season in the SEC.