Andy Kennedy signs talented prospects for 2016 men’s basketball
On Wednesday morning, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy added some talented prospects to the 2016 class, which will feature three power forwards, a small forward, and a point guard.
Here’s a glimpse at the 2016 class Kennedy will have on the roster a season from now:
Nate Morris is a 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward out of Lancaster, TX who committed to the University of Mississippi on Oct. 27, 2015. Morris comes out of Lancaster High School and is rated a three-star prospect by ESPN. Morris is ranked No. 136 nationally after posting 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks per game as a junior for the Tigers to lead them to a 34-4 record and the Texas 5A State Title.
“Nate is a long, athletic post player who can really run,” Kennedy said. “He is an elite shot blocker and can protect the basket.”
Kennedy was able to sign another talented foreign player in 6-foot-11 forward Karlis Silins from Latvia. Silins has been all across the basketball world, making a name from himself in the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, averaging 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Silins is the fourth big man in the class and averaged 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in Latvia’s second division last season.
The second division in Latvia could move up to the top division after Christmas, meaning Silins is in line to potentially match up against former Ole Miss power forward M.J. Rhett. Rhett is currently playing professionally for the BK Barons in Riga.
“Karlis Silins is a great person,” Arturs Senhofs, Sports Director of Vef Riga Basketball Academy, said. “He’s been one of the good guys on our team. He’s improved greatly from year to year, becoming the starting center of the Latvian under-18 team. He’s achieved great team success, reaching the final stage of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament with VEF Riga Basketball Academy, where he competed with Europe’s best talent in his age and was one of the best prospects in the tournament.
“He has great size, great shooting touch and great work ethic – all the necessary qualities to become an elite big man. Hopefully he can follow up the tradition of the other great Latvian big man (Andris Biedrins, Kaspars Kambala, Kristaps Porzingis) and show his talents in American basketball.”
Silins is averaging 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds through six games in his final prep season, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 41 percent (9 of 22) from deep.
Breein Tyree comes out of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, NJ and is rated the No. 38 point guard and No. 92 overall in the 2016 class by ESPN. Tyree committed to Kennedy’s camp on Sept. 28, 2015 and brings a much-needed skill set to the Rebels’ backcourt with his stellar court vision and ability to slash to the basket.
Standing at 6-1, Tyree averaged 18.8 points, 4.9 assists and 3.3 steals per game as a junior en route to GMC Player of the Year honors.
“Breein is a dynamic guard who makes big plays,” Kennedy said. “He can score as well as distribute with equal effectiveness. He comes from one of the most respected high school programs in the northeast, and we expect him to make an immediate impact.”
Junior college prospect, small forward Justas Furmanavicius, pledged to Ole Miss on Sept.9, 2015 and brings solid attributes to the Rebels with his ability to shoot from the outside. Last season for Three Rivers Community College, Furmanavicius averaged 11 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in 31 contests for the Rocky Raiders.
Furmanavicius led the school to a 23-8 finish, including a 6-2 record in conference play and shot 45.9 from the field and 29.1 percent from three.
“He is a versatile, athletic forward who plays with energy,” Kennedy said. “His versatility will allow him to help us at either forward.”
Tyrek Coger was the first to stand up and pledge to the Rebels for 2016 over the summer and will be a great asset for next season, with forwards Anthony Perez and Tomasz Gielo heading for the exits. Coger, who originally committed to Missouri in 2013, decided to take the junior college route and enrolled at East Florida State and played in 27 games, shooting 48.5 percent from the field.
He, then, transferred to Cape Fear Community College but had to sit out for academic reasons. The 6-9, 240-pound prospect out of Raleigh, N.C. had offers from VCU, Memphis, Georgetown, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech before taking the junior college route.
Coger is good friends with current Ole Miss forward Rasheed Brooks, who also took the junior college route and signed with the Rebels last November.
“It’s a university that seems so committed to winning, but he really liked the family environment and family setting that Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy has surrounded him with” Cape Fear assistant coach John Lattimore said back in June. “He felt comfortable with the players, and he dealt with the academic people and they seemed to have a really good plan set forth for him to graduate and be successful.”
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.