Mississippi State dismisses forwards Sharpe, Houston

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State will be without two dismissed forwards when the Bulldogs play LSU Wednesday night.

Sophomore Walter Sharpe and freshman Jerrell Houston have been kicked off the team for violating unspecified rules.

"Both young men are good people, but unfortunately things just didn't work out for them here. We wish them both well in their future endeavors," coach Rick Stansbury said in a statement issued
Tuesday night.

The dismissal ends Sharpe's troubled career in Starkville. The
sophomore missed the first seven games this season because he was
academically ineligible, and averaged 9.3 points and five rebounds
in six games.

Sharpe said his dismissal came Monday, when he called his coaches to tell them he would miss practice because he was late returning to campus from his home in Birmingham, Ala., The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reported on its Web site Tuesday night.

Sharpe's status reportedly was discussed by the players Sunday at a team meeting he did not attend, the newspaper reported. The
Bulldogs said he could remain on the team as long as he followed
the rules, and missing Monday's practice was his first breach.

"It was coming," Sharpe told the newspaper of his dismissal.

Last season, Sharpe skipped a practice before the NCAA
Tournament and did not travel with the team to first- and
second-round games in Charlotte, N.C.

He also missed a team flight to Anaheim, Calif., for a December
2004 game and received several suspensions for being late to games,
practices and shoot-arounds last season.

After the Bulldogs lost to Duke in the second round of the NCAA
Tournament, Sharpe said he "more than likely" would transfer, but
reconsidered and returned to the team, and enrolled in a junior
college near Birmingham to regain his eligibility.

Houston, a native of Memphis, Tenn., was a reserve who averaged 2.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13 games this season.