Baylor F Roberts transfers to Mississippi State

Updated: August 18, 2003, 8:08 PM ET

STARKVILLE, Mississippi - Baylor suffered its first player defection since the dismissal of athletic director Tom Stanton and coach Dave Bliss when junior forward Lawrence Roberts transferred to Mississippi State on Monday.

Roberts, a preseason Wooden Award candidate, averaged 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds last season for Baylor and was invited to the United States Pan Am Games tryouts this summer.

Baylor announced that all of its players were free to transfer after earlier this month dismissing Stanton and Bliss, who told the players to stay. It was later revealed that Bliss attempted to orchestrate a cover-up by telling players to say that slain teammate Patrick Dennehy paid for his tuition by selling drugs.

Carlton Dotson, who played basketball for Baylor last year, has been charged with the murder of Dennehy.

It is unclear whether Roberts will be allowed to play at Mississippi State for the 2003-04 season. NCAA rules state that transfers must sit out year, but Baylor has applied for a waiver for all of its players.

The addition of Roberts strengthens the Bulldogs, who lost junior Mario Austin as well as incoming recruit Travis Outlaw to the NBA. Roberts is expected to take Austin's place in the lineup at power forward.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index