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Exciting season ahead for Ole Miss men’s basketball

Exciting season ahead for Ole Miss men’s basketball

Many things will be different around the Ole Miss men’s basketball program this year. That’s no surprise when a new season begins, but there are plenty of exciting things surrounding head coach Andy Kennedy’s program. The Rebels have a team full of new faces that Kennedy hopes can lead them to similar results from the first 10 years of his tenure in Oxford.

While the Pavilion isn’t new, this will be the first full season Ole Miss fans can enjoy the comfort of the new marvel. Before the season kicks off November 3rd against Morehouse, the Pavilion hosted Dunk or Treat Friday, October 28, an event that was geared toward getting families and children face-to-face with Ole Miss hoops.

See, many things are new around Rebel basketball this season–so lets take a look at what is going to appear different on the court this season!

The roster

Sebastian Saiz, shown here at SEC Media Days, returns for the Rebels this season. (Photo credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

Sebastian Saiz, shown here at SEC Media Days, returns for the Rebels this season. (Photo credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

It starts with the roster, which will look very different this season. Even more specific, the rotation is sure to be loaded with new faces. Just six players from a year ago, only five who have been on the court, return to makeup the 2016-17 roster of 12 scholarship players.

In fact, Sebastian Saiz,  Marcanvis Hymon and Rasheed Brooks are the only three familiar faces who appear to be in line to start.

Further, the offense is likely going to work through Saiz. That is something that will appear different for Ole Miss fans who have grown accustom to seeing guards like Marshall Henderson and Stefan Moody be the bucket-getters when that is what the situation called for.

However, DeAndre Burnett and Cullen Neal could be the most talented backcourt duo that Kennedy has had in his decade-plus in Oxford. Burnett has been around the program for a year now and posses the qualities of a prolific scoring guard like those before him at Ole Miss. Neal is immediately eligible after transferring from New Mexico State where he played for his father. He is a coaches son, no doubt, and will bring savvy, creativity and length to the point position for the Rebels.

Cullen Neal transferred to Ole Miss from New Mexico State and is eligible immediately.

Cullen Neal transferred to Ole Miss from New Mexico State and is eligible immediately.

The rest of the rotation will be made of up guards Terence Davis, Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, Breein Tyree as well as bigs Karlis Silins and Nate Morris. Additionally Kennedy and the coaching staff are very excited about versatile swing man Justas Furmanavicius who will help on the wing and at the four.

While the running, gunning, scoring, shooting and zone defense will still be around, the tendencies will change this season. That is simply because of how this roster is built, with its strength in the interior, but depth in the backcourt.

The uniforms

Also new this season will be the Rebels’ uniforms. While Ole Miss has mostly sat on the sidelines for the uniform craze in college basketball, they are now in the game.

The cut will be different around the shoulders this season, as well as featuring an overall tighter look. The uniforms are some you will see around the country as Ole Miss is one of 51 teams to wear new Nike Elite uniforms this season. It is just another element of Ole Miss basketball that is trending toward “sexy.”

New arena, check.

New look, check.

The only thing left is a new, improved winning tradition. While Kennedy has set the bar high in Oxford thus far, his roster is more athletic than ever and next year’s roster appears to be in good shape, too. Furthermore, recruiting is beginning to take step forward, as well, as the Rebels are finding themselves in the game with more and more top-100 high school talent.

It’s almost that time, so get ready to come out to the Pavilion and enjoy a new year of Ole Miss hoops.

(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

About The Author

John Luke McCord

John Luke covers all sports for The Rebel Walk and also writes about high school football for the Southern Elite Sports network, most frequently for SES Mississippi. John Luke is from Tupelo and is the Host of The Buzz on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. on 95.1 FM in Tupelo. He is also a frequent co-host of Mississippi Sports Today with Craig Horton on ESPN 96.3 FM, The Ticket, from 7-9 a.m. in Tupelo.

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