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Moody exits SEC tourney as one of the most dynamic players in Ole Miss history

Moody exits SEC tourney as one of the most dynamic players in Ole Miss history
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Alabama head coach Avery Johnson congratulates Stefan Moody on his outstanding performance in Thursday night’s game. (Photo credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

NASHVILLEStefan Moody could well be remembered as one of the most exciting players to suit up at Ole Miss—and in all of college basketball. And the standing ovation following his fifth foul with 30 seconds left against Alabama on Thursday night signified his prowess in the sport.

Moody made 8-of 17 from the 3-point line and 12-of-27 from the field against the Crimson Tide. He also split a numerous amount of double-teams on his way to the lane for either a foul or an up-and-under layup.

The 5-foot-10 senior guard simply carried the Rebels on his back for the entire 40 minutes in an attempt to give his team a chance to play another day in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

But Moody’s 39 points weren’t enough as Ole Miss (20-12) fell 81-73 to Alabama (18-13). Regardless of the outcome, however, Moody wasn’t afraid to be in charge of leading a team to victory. It’s in his DNA. Outside of his scoring, the Rebels were 14-for-40.

“Well, some of that is my job,” Moody said when asked about the team’s offensive struggles against the Crimson Tide. “I don’t look at my teammates and complain at them for anything. It’s my job, and I embrace it. So I do what I can.”

A season for the record-books

Since the season started, it’s been Moody’s job to score more-than-enough points for the Rebels. During one of the low points of the season–when the Rebels were on a four-game losing streak–head coach Andy Kennedy wanted everyone to rally around the captain and help out. But everything always fell back into Moody’s capable hands.

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Andy Kennedy recognizes senior guard, Stefan Moody, after his 39-point game. (Photo credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

On Senior Night, Moody scored a career-high 43 points to lead Ole Miss to an 86-78 victory over in-state rival Mississippi State.

Three games prior, Moody had 23 points in the 69-59 road victory over Auburn. Over the course of the season, the Kissimmee, Florida native led the Southeastern Conference in scoring (23.1 ppg), posted 20-plus point games 21 times–including a streak of 15-consecutive games–and topped the 30-point mark five times. He also became the fifth-fastest player in school history to score 1,000 career points (52 games).

Moody receives well-deserved ovation, praise from Kennedy

So the standing ovation in front of the crowd inside Bridgestone Arena in Nashville wasn’t only for Moody’s tournament performance, it was for all of the games he has suited up for the Rebels.

And in the postgame press conference after his team’s loss, Coach Kennedy acknowledged, once again, what Stefan Moody has meant to Ole Miss:

He’s been a special player for us. I’ve said that a lot here at the end. You try not to heap too much praise on one of your current players while you’re in the grind, but now that we are done and you look back, I mean, obviously, he’s the most dynamic playmaker in the history of our program, most certainly in my ten years.

Andy Kennedy on Stefan Moody

Kennedy was grateful to the fans inside Bridgestone Arena for recognizing Moody: “I think what he’s been able to do in leading this team to back-to-back 20-win seasons and last year’s run in the NCAA Tournament, obviously, he’s been a tremendous playmaker for us, and I appreciate the fans acknowledging that in his last game here.”

(Feature image credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Courtney Smith

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.

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