STARKVILLE – Derek Fountain has inked his National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the Mississippi State men’s basketball program announced Monday during the summer signing period.
Fountain, a 6-8 forward from Holly Springs, Mississippi, will begin his freshman campaign for the Bulldogs in 2020-21. He prepped under former MSU football player Kenzaki Jones and Sylvester Kilgore at Holly Springs High School.
Mississippi State has inked the state’s top three prospects for the Class of 2020 which include Fountain, Keondre Montgomery (Jackson, Mississippi) and Cameron Matthews (Olive Branch, Mississippi).
Fountain posted 23.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game as Holly Springs secured a 28-5 record en route to the MHSAA Class 3A state semifinals. He was an All-State selection, the Class 3A District 2 Most Valuable Player and was listed among the “Dandy Dozen” by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger during his senior season.
Fountain secured 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Holly Springs was the MHSAA Class 3A state runner-up in 2018 and 2019.
Fountain played the AAU circuit for Team Thad. He also was recruited by Fresno State, Oklahoma and Temple among others.
Mississippi State’s incoming freshman class features Fountain, Matthews and Montgomery along with Deivon Smith (Loganville, Georgia) and Andersson Garcia (Moca, Dominican Republic). Smith is an ESPN Top 70 recruit.
COACH HOWLAND ON FOUNTAIN
“I’m really excited for Derek to join our basketball family and for his commitment to our program. He will continue to get bigger and stronger and has an outstanding future ahead of him being only 17 years old. Derek is very skilled and possesses all the tools. He’s a strong shooter, passer, rebounder and defender who comes from a great family.”
COACH JONES ON FOUNTAIN
“Derek is a versatile wing man who leads by example. He is a very humble young man with a great work ethic. I think that once his body develops and he gets stronger, he will be an elite ball player at the next level. He has all the tangibles to excel and do great things for Mississippi State.”
COACH KILGORE ON FOUNTAIN
“I’m very excited for Derek, and the opportunity for him to play at Mississippi State. He’s an absolute matchup problem on both sides of the floor, a strong rebounder and can defend every position. Derek is a strong finisher especially in transition and an unselfish player who makes his teammates better. His basketball IQ is top notch, and the sky is the limit for him.”
Mississippi State won 11 of its last 15 SEC games to earn a top 4 finish in the conference standings, the program’s highest overall regular season finish since 2010-11. The Bulldogs have tucked away three consecutive 20-plus win seasons under sixth-year coach Ben Howland, and the first time dating back to the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The 68 victories are the fourth-highest total in program history for a three-year span.