Select Page

The Ole Miss Hoops Handbook: Part Eight

The Ole Miss Hoops Handbook: Part Eight

OXFORD, Miss. — Welcome back. Today’s installment calls for a special edition of “The Ole Miss Hoops Handbook.”  The past editions took a look at major contributors from last year’s team as well as some newcomers who will look to make an impact for this upcoming season. If you are interested in getting caught up on any of the other installments click HERE.

Today will be the final edition of the series barring any update on the eligibility status of Brandon Murray and Moussa Cisse. As of writing this, the NCAA hasn’t officially made a statement on either Murray or Cisse. If either of them becomes eligible, the write up for them will be posted soon after.

Editor’s note: This “Ole Miss Hoops Handbook” series is set to help the Ole Miss community get familiar with these players and help build excitement for the upcoming season. Every day, The Rebel Walk will highlight an individual player or group to breakdown his/their game and describe what you can look forward to and where we can look for more growth this season.

Each player’s breakdown consists of notes from both the summer scouting and some re-watch of film this fall. On top of game film, an analysis was then formed alongside a statistical breakdown from several different sources. I have watched multiple games for each player to help give an accurate picture of their game. In an effort to give a better view, I tried to watch one game where a player had larger success statistically and one where his impact may have been overlooked by the box score.

Robert Cowherd

The fourth and final returner from last year’s team is Robert Cowherd. Now in his second year with the Ole Miss program, Cowherd redshirted last year and suffered an injury in the preseason that affected the plan for his first season. Cowherd earned second team all-state in Georgia before deciding to spend his final year at the Southern California Academy. While there, Cowherd played alongside former Ole Miss guard Amaree Abram.

On the court, Cowherd is a tough-nosed defender who can help space the floor and keep the ball moving on offense. We didn’t get to see much of him at Ole Miss or even in the summer trip to the Bahamas last year. At SoCal, Cowherd played in an off-ball role with them having Abram and Dior Johnson.

Offensively, he is a surprising passer who is willing to pass up a good shot of his own for a great shot for a teammate. A very underrated part of his game is his IQ and overall game awareness. He possesses good shot mechanics with one of the more smooth releases on this Ole Miss team. You will likely see him play a similar role to what he did at SoCal in terms of usage. He can attack and slash to a smaller degree but finishes more in a straight line sense. He really enjoys catch and shoot threes or one dribble pull-ups in the mid-range.

Cowherd knows where to be on both sides of the ball, and in position to help out his teammates for relocations on offense or tags on defense. Going back to a play from his SoCal days, he did a great job defensively stepping up and rejecting Eli Ellis off of help on a potential buzzer beater shot. His 6’5″ height, strength, and length provide him with the opportunity to be another one of those versatile players Chris Beard is coveting. His SoCal coach claimed that he was one of the better perimeter rebounders in his class.

Beard on Cowherd – “Tough, dependable, winner”

Rashaud Marshall

Marshall was the top high school commitment from this class. A consensus four-star prospect, Marshall has a pathway to a potentially important rotational role with the status of Moussa Cisse in flux. Marshall hails from Blytheville and was one of the priority re-commitments for Chris Beard who went to go see him soon after taking the head coaching position.

A 6’9″ center, Marshall plays the game of an old school big man with the modern day athleticism. Looking at the film, Marshall really plays on the inside as a traditional back-to-the-basket style. The first noticeable thing that is key for a successful old school big is that Marshall has really good hands. He can handle all kinds of different passes. Once he receives the ball he uses his overpowering style to find his way to his spot to finish. He really excels at sealing and holding defenders off to get the ball. While his power creates the separation for him to get off shots, his explosiveness is what really shines. He can really rise up off two feet with big-time explosion to finish things off the glass if he doesn’t try to throw it down as well.

While he primarily operated in the post, Marshall shows projectability to expand his game making him a high upside player. Marshall shined in the dunkers spot as well being able to finish around the basket and finish opportunities above the rim. He does a really good job of not bringing the ball down and rising back up to finish off of rebounds or high passes.

Marshall showed good force as a rebounder and if he can rebound effectively early on, he could be in line for a good role early on.

Beard on Marshall –  “Talented young guy, not a big, a basketball player, has the potential to be great. A lot of parts to his game that he doesn’t know he has yet. Has to run his own race but could be really good.

Jacob Gazzo

Similar to Marshall, Gazzo was originally a Kermit Davis commit who held over after the Chris Beard hire. At 6’8, Gazzo is a tweener power forward who likes to step out amongst the perimeter. Gazzo spent this past season at Braircrest in Memphis. Prior to that, Gazzo went to Parklane Academy in the southern part of Mississippi.

As a player, Gazzo uses an inside-out approach to play the game. He can seal defenders down low where he is more of a technician with his footwork and body control to find the basket. He also is capable of stepping out and knocking down open shots on the perimeter where he excelled at pick and pops, flares, and other movement actions to set up his shots. He has a solid jumper, and excels at getting his feet set. He’s a really versatile scorer at the high school level who possesses good touch. There is a lot of potential for Gazzo to face-up and add a shooting element to his game in the mid-range. Briarcrest used him in a lot of different ways: they’d run him off screens for alley-oops, have him make decisions to attack or continue dribble hand-offs, have him sit in the dunker spot, or used as a floor spacer. He also occasionally attacked with the ball down the baseline.

Beard on Gazzo – “Dependable, Smart, Winner, Great teammate, chip on his shoulder.”

Cameron Barnes

Barnes has a very unique game as a guy who shows “big-guard” touch and defensive versatility to the perimeter. A solid rebounder, Barnes can benefit from the tutelage of Chris Beard and some time in the strength room at Ole Miss. He has the athletic ability to be a high-energy forward who can keep up with smaller players.

For a big, Barnes has one of the cleaner shots and shows good touch. He didn’t spend a lot of time out on the perimeter but showed he can step out and cleanly hit the occasional jumper from the perimeter. There is a realistic avenue for him to be a stretch big in the collegiate game. He spent a lot of time in the dunkers spot, finishing dump offs or putting back tip-ins. Barnes has a really good ability to make some acrobatic finishes on put backs. He’s going to have to get a little bigger to absorb more contact as he got pushed out of position on some attempts. In his time at Duncanville, he showed some unique passing instincts for a big as well.

It looks as though Cam Barnes is going to be redshirted this season. This should give him an opportunity to develop physically and gain some more experience. That is all subject to change but for now we may not get to see much of him this season.

Beard on Barnes “Upside. Could be special one day. So much more to his game.”

Gavin Murphy

A freshman walk-on, Murphy turned down several other offers to join the Ole Miss program. Hailing from Calabasas, Murphy brings shooting expertise to Oxford. The 5’11 guard finished his senior season with 100+ made three pointers in his senior season high school.

“He’s a tireless worker. He’s an old-fashioned gym rat. He’s come by his skills the old-fashioned way— he’s earned them. Any time your best player has such a strong drive and competitive spirit, it is great for the team,” said Jon Palarz, the Calabasas’ head coach.

As the players call him, “Q” was recruited by other D1 teams and was offered by NJIT, Colorado State, and East Carolina. Murphy has brothers who play(ed) the game at the collegiate level as well. His brother Luke redshirted last season at Colorado State. His eldest brother Ryan, played at Charlotte, started games at Pitt, and finished his career at Duquesne in 2020-2021.

Cole McGrath

McGrath joins the Ole Miss roster as a senior guard with experience at the JUCO and NAIA levels. McGrath spent the last two years at NAIA Blue Mountain College where he started 29 of 53 games. This past season, he shot 45% from deep and in the two years there, McGrath knocked down 73 total three pointers.

Prior to his time at Blue Mountain College, McGrath spent time at Northeastern Mississippi Community College. He played two seasons there, seeing action in 40 games. He is a native of Corinth, Mississippi.

Cam Brent

Brent is in his second year with the Ole Miss program. In his first year, the Jackson native didn’t see action in any games. Prior to his time at Ole Miss, Brent attended Jackson Prep. In 2021, he set a school record with a 43-point outing that included 12 threes. While there, Brent won back to back MAIS 6A championships.

Next Up:

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team will tip off the regular season against Alabama State on Monday, November 6 at 7 p.m. in the SJB Pavilion.

TJ Oxley

TJ Oxley

TJ Oxley is the Vice President of Operations and the Director of Community Relations for The Rebel Walk. He is also the Director of Basketball Content and Senior Basketball Writer. He has over five years of experience providing in-depth analysis of college basketball through multiple platforms. A former MBA graduate of Ole Miss, TJ started with The Rebel Walk in 2019.

About The Author

TJ Oxley

TJ Oxley is the Vice President of Operations and the Director of Community Relations for The Rebel Walk. He is also the Director of Basketball Content and Senior Basketball Writer. He has over five years of experience providing in-depth analysis of college basketball through multiple platforms. A former MBA graduate of Ole Miss, TJ started with The Rebel Walk in 2019.

Leave a Reply

Get RW Updates