Stansbury: It's best that Ervin go elsewhere

Sophomore point guard Gary Ervin will transfer from Mississippi State, a decision that was finalized after a meeting this week with head coach Rick Stansbury, the Commercial Appeal reported in Friday's editions.

Stansbury told the paper that he decided it would be best for the program if Ervin left for another school.

"I've made a decision that it's best for Gary Ervin and our program for him to transfer, and he will," Stansbury told the paper. "He's a good person and we wish him the best."

Stansbury also told the paper that freshmen Jerrell Houston and Charles Rhodes will return next season, contrary to previous reports that said both players would transfer. Stansbury has not reached a decision on freshman Walter Sharpe, who also is possibly leaving the team.

"I was waiting until finals were over before I made a decision on the freshmen, and Charles Rhodes and Jerrell Houston will be back. I'll make a decision at a later date on Walter Sharpe," Stansbury said.

Ervin was granted permission last month to speak with other schools. He reportedly is interested in attending SEC rival Arkansas, although Stansbury told ESPN.com's Andy Katz last week that he had a restriction in place on players transferring to other schools in the league.

Stansbury reiterated to the paper that he hadn't decided whether to release Ervin from his scholarship. If he doesn't, Ervin will not be eligible to be on scholarship at Arkansas for two seasons, even though he would be eligible to play after sitting out next season.

"Sometimes things just don't work out," Stansbury told the paper. "We just think it's best for both our program and him. I think it'll be good for him. Like I told him, he can take a lot of positives with him. He won 49 games in two years, an SEC championship and two NCAA bids."

Stansbury said he has not decided whether he will grant Ervin a release to transfer to another SEC school. Ervin already has to sit out a year if he transfers to another Division 1 school. But if MSU does not release him, he cannot be put on scholarship by Arkansas, or any other SEC school, for two years, although he will be eligible to play after one season.

According to the paper, there are conflicting reports involving Houston. Reportedly, Mineral Area College, a junior college in Missouri, announced Wednesday that it had signed Houston to a national letter of intent.

When asked about Houston signing the letter with the junior college, Stansbury told the paper, "It doesn't matter."

Stansbury told the paper that Houston will definitely figure into the Bulldogs' plans next season.

"One thing about him, I've always liked Jerrell as a kid. I think he's a good person and I think he's got great upside," Stansbury told the Commercial Appeal. "Naturally, when he redshirted, he probably didn't handle things as well as he needed to handle things, and I think he's learned from that, too. I think Jerrell has a chance to be a terrific player for us and I think he's a good kid."

Rhodes had previously announced that he intended to transfer, but will now return to the Bulldogs. Stansbury told the paper a decision on Sharpe may not come until the end of the summer.

Stansbury also told the paper he is still in contact with prize recruit Monta Ellis, a 6-foot-3 guard who has declared for the NBA draft, but has not signed with an agent.

"He's leaving his options open right now," Stansbury told the paper. "As long as he leaves his options open, that's all we ask him to do. If you don't go where you want to go in the draft, leave your options open and we still have an opportunity for you at Mississippi State. That's what he's doing right now and that's all we've asked him to do."