BY GREGG ELLIS

Daily Journal

NEW YORK - Charles Rhodes doesn't want to be a distraction, so he's going to wait until the season is over to decide his future.

For Jamont Gordon, that decision has already been made. He says he's definitely coming back.

"When it's over, I'm going to sit down with my family and discuss every thing," said Rhodes, who's averaging 13.8 points and 6.1 rebounds this year. "But I see myself coming back next year and build from this (NIT) experience and win a championship. The sky is the limit."

For Gordon, who leads the team in both scoring (16.2) and rebounding (7.2), it's all about improving. And with another year under his belt, he feels the NBA could definitely be an option after his junior campaign.

"I saw somewhere that I could be the 20th pick," the sophomore All-SEC standout said. "I'm going to come back, work hard and see what happens.

"And if I feel I need another year, then I'll come back for my senior year."

Experiencing New York

n Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury says making it to New York is a reward for the success his team has experienced this year.

Therefore, he wants them to get a feel for the Big Apple.

On Sunday night, the team had dinner at ESPN Zone in Times Square rather than at the team hotel. They did practice on Monday but were allowed to do some things on their own early in the day.

"There's not a lot of time to do a lot of things," Stansbury said. "But they did experience traffic. The airport is 20 miles away, but it took 1 ? to two hours to get here. Then we got stuck in the Holland Tunnel for an hour with bumper-to-bumper traffic. So yes. They experienced New York.

"This traffic makes you appreciate Starkville, Miss. You're always five minutes away from the office."

First meeting

n Although Mississippi State and West Virginia are playing for the first time, Stansbury has faced Mountaineers coach John Beilein before.

Prior to taking the job at West Virginia, Beilein was the coach at Richmond.

During his time there, he faced MSU three times.

The first came in December of 2000, when the Spiders won in Starkville, 83-72. The following year, the two played twice in a span of two weeks.

After the Bulldogs won at Richmond, 71-57, they claimed a 74-72 overtime win in the Las Vegas Classic.

Bulldog bites

n MSU is 6-5 all-time in the NIT. ... The Bulldogs are 2-1 at Madison Square Garden. ... In its three NIT games, State has averaged 89.7 points. ... Stansbury is now six wins shy of tying Richard William's school record mark of 191.

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