2012-2013 Overall Rank: #51
Conference Rank: #6 SEC
Mississippi Team Page
Mississippi reached the NIT last season and now it is time to take the next step and head to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. Coach Andy Kennedy keeps building up the Rebels program and this could be the year they fall on the right side of the bubble. Point guard Jarvis Summers is coming off of a superb freshman campaign. He averaged 10.4 points per game, but his ability to shoot from long range makes him extremely difficult to defend. When the opposition sags in on Summers, he can make them pay by knocking down the long ball. Summers committed a few too many turnovers last season, but he was a freshman. A year of experience will put an end to that little problem.
2011-12 Record: 20-14, 8-8
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Andy Kennedy
Coach Record: 125-78 at Mississippi, 146-91 overall
A few new scorers will need to be found though. Terrance Henry is gone after leading the team with 12.5 points per game. The versatile 6-9 forward did a lot of scoring and a little bit of everything else and, without him, the Rebels will likely play much smaller this year. Ole Miss spent most of last season without Dundrecous Nelson and Jelan Kendrick, but both were talented players who could have helped out on the court.
But Coach Kennedy has plenty of other talented youngsters ready to pick up the slack. A couple of junior college transfers will be expected to at least see quality minutes off of the bench. Jason Carter, a former Alabama signee, is a tough 6-8 power forward who will add some needed depth and strength to the position. The other juco transfer is shooting guard Marshall Henderson. Henderson is a great shooter and he could find himself in the starting lineup at some point. For now he will likely start out as an offensive spark off of the bench. The former Utah and Texas Tech player was the Junior College National Player of the Year last season. Incoming freshman Anthony Perez-Cortesia will find some playing time at the forward spots. At 6-9 and 205 pounds, Perez-Cortesia looks like a power forward, but he plays more like a small forward. That versatility will give Coach Kennedy the option of playing big like he did last season with Henry. Terry Brutus will add even more forward depth, but the best of the freshmen wings could be Martavious Newby. Like Henderson, Newby will give this team an offensive jolt in the shooting department. But, unlike Henderson, that may be all Newby will do for now. Yet, if Newby is making his shots, this team could use a shooter off of the bench. Derrick Millinghaus will add depth to the point guard position, a need that became painfully obvious once Nelson and Kendrick were gone.
Who to Watch:
Even without Henry, the frontcourt should carry the Rebels this year. Murphy Holloway will grab all of the headlines after averaging 11.2 points and 9.0 rebounds last season. At 6-7, Holloway is a bit undersized for an SEC power forward, but he surely makes up for it with his hustle and skill. He can score and rebound against bigger opponents and make it look way too easy. Holloway should get a lot of Henry’s touches this year, so do not be surprised to see him get a solid boost in his scoring. While Holloway gets the headlines, Reginald Buckner will be winning games for Ole Miss. The 6-9, 225 pound senior is a great rebounder and an even better shot blocker. He already holds the school record in career blocks and will shatter it by the time he leaves Oxford. Much of Buckner’s offense comes off of the glass, but he will do some scoring. It would be beneficial if he could hit a free-throw every once in a while though. What makes the Rebels frontcourt among the best in the SEC is the depth. Demarco Cox is never going to put up big numbers, but the 278 pound center is a force in the paint on the defensive end. He can rebound and block shots and can cover enough minutes to always be on the floor when Buckner is on the bench. The newcomers will add more options, but Aaron Jones should not be overlooked. The 6-8 sophomore averaged just 8.4 minutes per game last season, but he proved to be an athletic rebounder and shot blocker. There will be fierce competition for minutes, but Jones could be the guy Coach Kennedy calls on when he wants another shot blocker on the floor.
By the end of the 2011-2012 campaign it seemed that players like Summers and guard Nick Williams were on the floor 40 minutes per game. That lack of depth was a huge problem at the end of last season and for a team that just needed one big win in March to close the deal, it could have cost them a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Williams is back after averaging 10.1 points per game last season and, thanks to the newcomers, the depth is there to give him some much needed breaks. LaDarius White ended his freshman season with a bang and was playing great ball in February and March. He deserves to step into a starting role, but Henderson will not go away quietly. The result should be a lot more quality depth on the perimeter and more than enough depth in the frontcourt as well. If injuries are not a problem and the newcomers, especially the experienced ones, keep playing like they have in the past, this is a group with the talent to make the field of 68.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Jarvis Summers, Sophomore, Guard, 10.4 points per game
Nick Williams, Senior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
LaDarius White, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Murphy Holloway, Senior, Forward, 11.2 points per game
Reginald Buckner, Senior, Forward, 6.9 points per game
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#101 Anthony Cortesia
#128 Martavious Newby