Fast Break with Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin
OXFORD, Miss. – As the 2019-20 season quickly approaches, Ole Miss women’s basketball head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin is ready to build upon the flashes of success from her inaugural season in Oxford last year, a great recruiting effort and a team with a year of experience in the Rebels’ system.
Earlier this month, adding to an impressive recruiting class, Coach Yo received a commitment from the highest-rated prospect in the history of the Ole Miss women’s basketball program as Madison Scott, a five-star phenom out of Bishop McNamara High School in Silver Springs, Maryland, announced she would play college basketball for Coach Yo and the Rebels. Scott is rated as the nation’s No. 13 overall player in the 2020 class by ESPN and the country’s No. 2 prospect at her position.
Thursday, as she was departing SEC Media Days, Coach Yo sat down with The Rebel Walk for a “fast break” of five quick questions:
The Rebel Walk: You came to Ole Miss from Jacksonville. So, you have traded Atlantic Beach for Sardis Lake. Did you have to adjust your recruiting philosophy or style?
Coach Yo: “Coming to Oxford, it’s really an easy sell. The campus is a beautiful place and I will put our facilities up against any in the country. I tell the recruits they can come here and make an impact and help us rewrite history. And as Coach (Matt) Luke says to football recruits, ‘Tell me what you see when you get here, not what you’ve heard.’”
TRW: Last year was a foundation season for you and your team. Where do you see Ole Miss this season?
Coach Yo: “I call last year ‘Year Zero’ because I got the job at the last minute and didn’t have a chance to do a lot, so this season is ‘Year One.’ What we are going to do is build upon our core values – the way we do things – establish our culture and fight for it every day. Getting (the players) to buy into it is our number-one focus.”
TRW: You’re the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels and head coach of the Bahamian National Team; how does a dual role help you?
Coach Yo: “A lot of the FIFA rules (international rules) are being adapted (by the NCAA) because they make sense. I enjoy it (coaching both) because it lets me work on things in the off-season besides recruiting. Plus, I get to see the styles of coaches from other countries.”
TRW: Caribbean food is great, but it must be difficult to find jerk chicken in north Mississippi. What local restaurants and cuisine do you and your family enjoy?
Coach Yo: (Laughing) “No, I haven’t found any jerk chicken or conch, another delicacy. Someone else asked me my favorite restaurant in Oxford and I just can’t pick one. It usually depends on what I feel like eating, but I can say I love the cuisine here.”
TRW: Finally, what can fans expect to see from this season’s team?
Coach Yo: “They are going to see our players playing hard and enjoying themselves. They are going to see more confidence from the staff and hopefully those things will get us some wins.”
Season begins soon
The first chance to start collecting those wins is Nov. 1 when Clark-Atlanta visits for an exhibition game. The regular season begins four days later at home against Mississippi Valley State followed by home games with ULM (Nov. 10) and New Orleans (Nov. 15) before the Rebels’ first road game at Southern Miss Nov. 19.
Southeastern Conference play begins Jan. 2 when Georgia visits Oxford.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.