OXFORD, Miss. – In the road win over Missouri Saturday, Deandre Burnett barely felt any pain in the ankle he sprained back on January 11 against Georgia, and that comes as good news for the Rebels.
Ole Miss begins a three-game home stand tonight with Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5 Southeastern Conference), and the Rebels will have Burnett, their most experienced guard, on the floor when the two teams tipoff. A&M is coming off a controversial victory at home against the Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday.
Prior to Ole Miss’ four-point win over Mizzou, Burnett had missed the Rebels’ two previous games, at South Carolina and at home against Tennessee, watching from the bench as freshman guard Breein Tyree ran the offense. Against the Vols, Tyree scored 15 points and dished out six assists to help the Rebels rally from a 13-point deficit to win the game 80-69.
But now, Burnett, who didn’t realize he played a career-high 36 minutes against Missouri on Saturday until Andy Kennedy mentioned it at the post-game press conference, says he is prepared to run the offense again or do whatever is necessary to help the team win.
“I’m full-go. Once I play 36 minutes, I am full-go.”
Ole Miss guard Deandre Burnett
Burnett’s explosiveness off the dribble and off the ball comes in handy for an Ole Miss offense that sometimes struggles to find a consistent spark from everyone, with the exception of senior forward Sebastian Saiz, who’s averaging 15.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
Burnett is the team’s leading scorer (17.8) and will be another viable scoring option for the Rebels if Saiz sees his usual double-teams.
The good thing for Ole Miss (12-7, 3-4) is that Burnett is a score-first type of point guard, similar to what Kennedy has had in the past with Marshall Henderson and Stefan Moody. He also loves to attack the rim, which was an attribute Moody brought to the floor each and every game. Burnett, a redshirt junior, has made 114 of 127 attempts from the free throw line, which is second in the SEC, only behind Arkansas’ guard Dusty Hannahs.
Though Burnett has just two full games of experience at point guard – against Missouri and Auburn – under his belt, he is not nervous thanks to the guidance he has received from his head coach.
“I think I am ready,” Burnett said when asked about playing the point guard position. “I think the two games I played in, we won both games. In the Georgia game, I got hurt, so I can’t really say because I didn’t play the whole game. But I think I’m ready,” he added.
“I have had a couple of experiences to get it under my belt. Then with AK’s (Andy Kennedy’s) help, he will put me in the right position to make plays that he knows I can make. It’s just about me making the plays. So, I think I’m ready.”
Deandre Burnett on playing point guard
Ole Miss and A&M tip off at 6:30 p.m. (CT) in The Pavilion in Oxford in what will be only the seventh-ever meeting between the two schools. The Rebels won the last meeting in Oxford (in 2015) 69-59, but lost last year’s contest 71-56 in College Station. Though Ole Miss trails A&M 4-2 in the all-time series, the Rebels are a perfect 2-0 against the Aggies in Oxford. The game will be televised on ESPN2.