What Iverson Molinar means to Mississippi State basketball after reaching 1,000 career points

·3 min read

STARKVILLE — Iverson Molinar had no idea.

At the forefront was a Mississippi State basketball win Saturday, rebounding from a loss on Wednesday to Florida and washing away memories of the defeat in Oxford against Ole Miss two weeks earlier. That he had 20 points in the 78-60 victory at Humphrey Coliseum was a footnote.

But over the course of two and a half seasons, those footnotes gain traction. They add up, even when no one is paying much attention.

So there Molinar was, picking off a pass and driving down the floor in a game nearly decided, lifting up and laying the ball through the rim. That play was an even smaller footnote — just one basket in a game full of them, one layup in a career loaded with such highlights.

That particularly highlight, however, meant more. It was Molinar’s 1,001st point for the Bulldogs — the culmination of all those footnotes fitting together to create a major milestone. And yet, he had no idea.

“Oh?” he said. “OK. All right.”

Jan 22, 2022; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Iverson Molinar (1) handles the ball against the Mississippi Rebels during the first half at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2022; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Iverson Molinar (1) handles the ball against the Mississippi Rebels during the first half at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

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In a career such as his, spending time tracking those landmarks would take away from the preparation needed to reach them. Molinar is so frequently the driving force for Mississippi State; as he goes, the team goes.

As a freshman, he scored 299 points. He finished with an even 500 as a sophomore. And as a junior, in what could be his final season in Starkville, he’s reached 204 points so far — adding to a grand total of 1,003.

“I'm just happy,” Molinar said, “a little kid from Panama City to come to Mississippi State and score 1,000 points.”

To measure Molinar’s impact on Mississippi State (13-5, 4-2 SEC) in scoring alone would be shortchanging the guard, however. There are more layers involved for the 6-foot-3 ballhandler, who moved to the U.S. when he was 14.

Now, the 22-year-old is the Bulldogs’ leader.

“He’s just a leader all around,” guard Shakeel Moore said. “Everything you can describe, he’s that guy. And I think, with him on our team, it does a lot for our young guys and for me as well. He just keeps getting better and better every day.”

Molinar has improved over the course of the season, particularly once the SEC schedule arrived. He’s scored in double figures all season, but he’s reached at least 20 points in three of his last four games.

And beyond the scoring, he chipped in four steals against Ole Miss (9-9, 1-5), along with a 2-for-5 performance from beyond the arc. That’s been an area of concern so far, shooting just 30.4% from deep this season. Coach Ben Howland wants him to stay aggressive, though, taking 3-pointers if he has an open look.

“He’s really developed into one of the better players in our league,” Howland said. “He’s our leader. He definitely steps up, is very vocal, and all his teammates respect him because of what a great person he is and how hard working he is. He’s all about winning.”

So much so, in fact, that he doesn’t realize when the personal accolades arrive. He smiled once he found out he surpassed the 1,000-point mark.

But throughout his career, his smiles turn into determination. He’s at 1,003 points right now. He doesn’t plan to sit there long.

“It's not just 1,000 points,” Molinar said. “I'm gonna keep going, I'm gonna keep putting the work in.”

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State basketball: Iverson Molinar reaches 1,000 points

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