#45 Ole Miss Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Ole Miss Rebels
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #45
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
Ole Miss Logo
Ole Miss has won at least 19 games in eight straight seasons, but have just two NCAA Tournament bids to show for it. The Rebels will enter the 2017-18 season with postseason expectations beyond just another NIT appearance. Mississippi will get two double-digit scorers back from a year ago as well as adding a couple of talented transfers. However, the Rebels will be without two of their top four scorers including All-SEC talent Sebastian Saiz, leaving no shortage of production to replace. Andy Kennedy has been consistent as head coach at Ole Miss, but with just two trips to the NCAA Tournament in 11 seasons, it’s time for him to take a step forward with this team.
2016-17 Record: 22-14, 10-8
2016-17 Postseason:
Andy Kennedy
Coach Record:
234-139 at Mississippi, 255-152 overall
Who’s Out:
The Rebels will have to replace two of their top four scorers this year. Sebastian Saiz earned first team All-SEC honors in his senior season with the Rebels. Saiz averaged a double-double on the season with 15.1 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Saiz was the top rebounder in the SEC and ranked in the top five nationally. His departure will leave a major hole in the lineup at center. Cullen Neal, the team’s fourth leading scorer, elected to become a grad transfer elsewhere. Neal spent just one season at Ole Miss as a transfer and averaged 9.4 points, while shooting 40.9% from behind the arc. Rasheed Brooks has graduated after two seasons with the Rebels. Brooks scored just 6.4 points per game as a senior after averaging 8.3 points the year prior. Brooks’ playing time and efficiency dropped as a senior, but he still provided Mississippi with important minutes off the bench. Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey has transferred after playing in 22 games as a sophomore and averaging 1.4 points and 1.1 rebounds.
Who’s In:
The biggest addition for Andy Kennedy is Memphis grad transfer Markel Crawford. Crawford was the Tigers’ second leading scorer with 12.8 points per game. Crawford immediately adds complementary scoring to the Rebels’ lineup as he reached 20+ points four times a year ago. Bruce Stevens also joins the Rebels this year as one of the top junior college transfers in the nation. Stevens, a 6-8 forward, earned first team All-America honors as a junior college sophomore, averaging 16.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. Mississippi will be hoping Stevens can replace Sebastian Saiz’s production in the post. Dominik Olejniczak will be eligible this season after transferring in from Drake last year. Olejniczak is a seven-footer who averaged 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman at Drake. Two freshmen, Devontae Shuler and Illya Tyrtyshnyk will join the Rebels this year. Shuler is a four-star guard who will add to the Rebels’ depth right away. Tyrtyshnyk is a guard from Ukraine who performed well in the 2016 FIBA U18 championships.
Who to Watch:
Ole Miss gets their leading scorer back in Deandre Burnett. Burnett put up 16.5 points per game last season, but struggled with efficiency as he shot just 35.5% from the field. Burnett is a premier scorer, but he will need to clean up his shot selection as a senior this year. Terence Davis also returns as a double-digit scorer for the Rebels. Davis averaged 14.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals as a sophomore. Davis is a productive all-around guard who plays as a nice complement to Burnett. The Rebels will also get back three players who each started 15+ games last season, but need to improve their production. Breein Tyree started 22 games as a freshman, averaging 7.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Tyree looks poised to take a step forward as a sophomore this year. Justas Furmanavicius made 17 starts and averaged 6.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Marcanvis Hymon made 24 starts but averaged just 3.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Furmanavicius and Hymon will both be expected to take on bigger roles down low after Sebastian Saiz’s departure.
Final Projection:
Ole Miss has been competitive since Andy Kennedy arrived 11 years ago, but there hasn’t been much postseason success to show for it. This year, Kennedy will have arguably his most talented roster since the Marshall Henderson era. Losing All-SEC player Sebastian Saiz will be tough, but the Rebels get back two of their top three scorers along with adding two talented transfers. There could be some chemistry issues, especially if Deandre Burnett continues to struggle with his shooting efficiency. If Kennedy can get this roster to mesh, they will be in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament bid. Otherwise, Kennedy might not be able to survive another mediocre season with the talent he has this year.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament
Projected Starting Five:
Deandre Burnett, Senior, Guard, 16.5 points per game

Markel Crawford, Senior, Guard, 12.8 points per game
Terence Davis, Junior, Guard, 14.9 points per game
Justas Furmanavicius, Senior, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Bruce Stevens, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.0 (66th in nation, 4th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 76.3 (272, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.3 (279, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.5 (105, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (125, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (190, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.2 (36, 4)
Rebound Margin: 3.2 (81, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (209, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (282, 13)
Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#62 Jamarko Pickett
#112 Devontae Shuler