Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Ball Is Tipped!!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the second year of the Kennedy Administration. Andy Kennedy has high hopes for the program and is quickly drawing fans into his program with his new uptempo basketball that he has brought to Ole Miss. In Kennedy's first year he restored life to a program that was just about on its last leg and was drawing a very small crowd for home games. The 2006-2007 set a home court record for wins at Tad Smith Coliseum and played in the NIT. Not to mention winning an SEC Western Division Championship in a tie with Mississippi State.

The team this year will bring an even newer look to Tad Smith. Kennedy has re-arranged his team signing multiple players and cutting loose those that did not fit into his program. This team will more than likely be led by David Huertes and the duo of Kenny Williams and Dwayne Curtis. Yes I know that Williams and Curtis are not the type SEC caliber players you want to know, but Williams plays harder than any player in the league and Curtis can get on a roll and play very good in some games. There are a ton of newcomers who will make an impact but we need the first couple of months to figure out who of the new guys is going to make it.

As for my prediction, I think the team will have a record alot like last year, however they will be alot closer to the bubble than they were last year. This team will fit into one of two categories when it comes tournament time: Last Five In or Top Five Left Out. It is going to be yet another fun season for Ole Miss basketball. The SEC West is going to be pretty darn good. M$U returns a team with alot of talent and experience and will be tough to beat. Arkansas with new coach John Pelphry will also be very talented and will make a hard run at the title. I believe, Auburn who has had some bad seasons over the last several years, will be much improved this year and will make alot of teams sweat this year.

What I would like to see out of the season is some actual fans show up at the games. All these old Ole Miss fans need to wake up and smell the coffee, we are not a football school, support a program that has some fire and has the chance to win some games. I hate nothing more going to SEC games on a Saturday and there only being 6,000 fans there, that is no excuse. What a laughing stock Ole Miss is when you can not even fill up a 9,000 coliseum for a home SEC game. All I want is to see support of the basketball team like there is for football and baseball. There are enough Ole Miss fans within a two hour drive to fill the place up for Wednesday night and Saturday games all year during SEC play and I expect nothing less.

As for tomorrow, it is our first look at the 2007-2008 Rebs as they take on Delta State. Who can tell me probably the important connection between Delta State and Ole Miss when it comes to basketball players.

Here is a little look from UMAA on the Roundball Rebs:

BACKCOURT OVERVIEW Big shoes need to be filled in the backcourt as three productive senior guards must be replaced. Todd Abernethy, Clarence Sanders and Bam Doyne provided the bulk of the Ole Miss scoring and leadership in 2006-07. A three-year Team Captain, Abernethy was a fixture as the Rebel floor leader from the second he stepped on campus and was arguably the SEC’s top point guard a year ago. The leading candidates to grab the reins as primary ballhandler are a pair of true freshmen in Chris Warren (Orlando, Fla.) and Trevor Gaskins (Alpharetta, Ga.). Warren is a 5-foot-10 speedster who proved to be an all-around leader in his prep career. The Orlando native directed Dr. Phillips to the Florida 6A state title game for the first time ever and holds school records in virtually every statistical category. At 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, Gaskins provides a physical presence at the point. He too was a 20-point scorer in high school, and the Georgia native opted for Ole Miss over Tennessee and Florida State. Helping facilitate the post-Abernethy era is fourth-year Rebel Brian Smith (Lexington, Ky.). The senior and son of Tubby Smith has provided key minutes and some big-game dramatics during his teunure in the Red and Blue. Sanders and Doyne supplied an effective one-two scoring punch from the Ole Miss wings last year, averaging 16.1 and 14.9 points, respectively. Sophomore transfer David Huertas (Humacao, Puerto Rico) sparred with that duo in practice everyday. The previous year, he battled with Lee Humphrey and Corey Brewer for playing time as a member of Florida’s 2006 national champion squad. Another 6-foot-5 former Florida prep standout, Eniel Polynice (Sarasota, Fla.) saw action in every game with eight starts last year and is vying to be a full-time starting wing as a sophomore. Polynice posted four double-figure scoring games and helped energize several comeback rallies. Stout competition for a starting role will come from freshman Zach Graham (Suwanee, Ga.), who was tabbed the No. 89 recruit in this year’s incoming class. The 6-foot-5, 220 pounder was a do-everything star athlete at Georgia’s Peachtree Ridge High School, where he holds nearly every basketball and football quarterback record. Mississippi JUCO Player of the Year Wesley Jones and returning sophomore Rodney Jones provide further depth on the wings. Ryan Brown, Will Poole and Patrick Spach also help strengthen the backcourt.
FRONTCOURT OVERVIEW Ole Miss enjoys a wealth of experience and some serious upside in the frontcourt. Three seniors help make the blocks an area of strength for the Rebels. Despite missing the first eight games of 2006-07, Dwayne Curtis (Chicago, Ill.) still amassed the most rebounds on the team and notched nine double-doubles, giving him 16 over his two seasons in Oxford. The 6-foot-8, 262-pounder was an all-conference honoree as a sophomore and is among the most seasoned big men in the SEC. Kennedy’s first signee as Ole Miss mentor, Kenny Williams (Miami, Fla.) started 22 games and topped the club in field goal percentage and blocked shots. After a strong finish, Williams averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. Athletic forward Jermey Parnell (Gosnell, Ark.) has exhibited flashes of dominance over his three seasons, but long hours of conditioning in the spring and summer could have the 6-foot-8, 242-pounder poised for a breakout year. These seniors will be fending off some talented youngsters for minutes. JUCO forward Terrence Watson (Detroit, Mich.) comes in prepared for immediate battle. The versatile forward from Michigan led his team to a national championship, earning All-America and conference Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Malcolm White (Greensburg, La.) is one of the most highly touted signees in school history, rated as the nation's No. 64 recruit in the 2008 class before qualifying a year sooner. The 6-foot-9 Louisiana native averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks on Genesis One’s national prep school championship runner-up team. Include 6-foot-10 Kevin Cantinol (Guadeloupe, French West Indies) and the Rebels have a pair of freshmen forwards waiting in the wings. Hailing from the French West Indies, Cantinol guided Florida’s Calvary Christian High School to its first Final Four appearance, garnering All-State honors.