On Tuesday, the final tabulations for the "Starting 5" and "Top 5 Games" as voted on by the fans were compiled, and it's an all-star cast with countless achievements and accolades that received the most votes.
Comprising the Starting 5 are former Bulldog standouts Bailey Howell, Jeff Malone, Darryl Wilson, Erick Dampier and Jarvis Varnado, all of whom received All-American or All-SEC honors or both.
"These five men represented Mississippi State on the court with great class and integrity, while also serving as great ambassadors off the court," MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin said. "This is an exciting time in our program's history, and I'm glad our fans had such a vital part in this process."
Fans also chose the five greatest games in school history, all of which occurred in the month of March. The Top 5 are March 15, 1963, vs. Loyola; March 2, 1991, vs. LSU; March 10, 1996, vs. Kentucky; March 24, 1996, vs. Cincinnati; and March 6, 2004, vs. Alabama.
"We have played countless big games that have had a major impact on our university, and these five games certainly reflect our history," Stricklin said. "Bulldog fans have their own stories and memories from these games, which makes them a special part of our basketball tradition."
A Look At The Starting 5
Bailey Howell (1957-59)
MSU's second-leading scorer ( 2,030 career points) and school record-holder for scoring average at 27.1. ... Elected into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997. ... MSU's first consensus first-team All-American (1958-59). ... Earned consensus second-team All-America honors during his junior season (1957-58). ... Selected first-team All-SEC each of his three varsity seasons (1957-59). ... Owns the Bulldogs' single-game scoring (47) and rebounding (34) marks. ... 12-year NBA veteran who was a six-time NBA All-Star and member of two NBA World Championship teams with the Celtics.
Jeff Malone (1980-83)
MSU's all-time scoring leader with 2,142 career points. ... Three-time All-SEC guard (1981-83) as a four-year starter. ... Nation's No. 2 scorer (26.8 ppg) as a senior. ... Chosen UPI's 1982-83 SEC Player of the Year in addition to being named first-team All-American by The Sporting News. ... MSU's all-time leader in field goals made (906), field goals attempted (1,768) and minutes played (3,851). ... Served as team captain during his junior and senior seasons. ... Enjoyed a successful 13-year NBA career. ... Two-time NBA All-Star (1986 & ‘87).
Erick Dampier (1994-96)
Became only the fifth player in MSU history to earn first-team All-SEC honors during back-to-back seasons (1995-96 & 1994-95). ... Helped lead the Bulldogs to three consecutive postseason tournament berths, including the school's first Final Four, and a 66-27 composite record. ... Finished his career with 1,231 points and 859 rebounds to go along with his 249 career blocks.
Darryl Wilson (1994-96)
Led the Bulldogs to a three-year record of 66-27 and three consecutive postseason tournament appearances as a three-time all-SEC backcourt performer. ... Member of MSU's 1996 NCAA Final Four and 1995 NCAA "Sweet 16" ballclubs. ... Named to the 1996 SEC All-Tournament and NCAA All-Southeast Regional teams. ... Finished his career with 1,619 points. ... Scored in double figures in 83 of his 93 career outings, including 32 games with 20 or more points and a trio of 30-point efforts.
Jarvis Varnado (2007-10)
Finished a record-setting career ranked 13th all-time on the MSU scoring list with 1,403 points and second with 1,096 rebounds. ... Set an NCAA record with 564 blocked shots, becoming the first player in the history of college basketball to score 1,000 points, collect 1,000 rebounds and block 500 shots. ... His 119 starts set a school record. ... He was a three-time SEC defensive player of the year and as a senior, won the Lefty Driesell Award and Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year and was the CollegeInsider.com SEC MVP. ... Led the Bulldogs to the Western Division crown as a freshman, sophomore and senior, and won the SEC Tournament as a junior.
A Look At The Top 5 Games
March 15, 1963; vs. Loyola, lost 61-51 in school's first NCAA Tournament Game
March 2, 1991; vs. LSU, won 76-73 to clinch a tie for the overall SEC title
March 10, 1996; vs. Kentucky, won 84-73 to claim MSU's first SEC Tournament title
March 24, 1996; vs. Cincinnati, won 73-63 to advance to school's first Final Four
March 6, 2004; at Alabama, won 82-81 in OT to clinch overall SEC title