Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ole Miss Infuses Pair of Experienced Guards

Andy Kennedy wasted no time going after talent that could contribute right away. The Rebels signed Roderick Lawrence and Terrence Smith, a pair of experienced 6-4 guards, with the hope the two will help replace the scoring hole left by Marshall Henderson and scrap up a few more rebounds. Because of their age, these guys transfer to Ole Miss with the expectation of playing. They'll likely be the wings to play alongside Jarvis Summers. They seem like good pickups for a team looking for scoring threats.

There's one more big fish still out there - rebounding specialist M.J. Rhett, a post-graduate transfer from Tennessee State. He's receiving interest from national champion Connecticut, among others, so Kennedy has his work cut out for him to land Rhett, but Ole Miss sure could use the 9 rebounds per game TSU enjoyed from the 6-9 forward.
But back to Smith and Lawrence. From the Ole Miss press release:
Smith, a three-year starter at UT-Martin, transfers to Ole Miss with one year to play after leading the Skyhawks in scoring last year at 14.6 points per game as a junior. The 6-4, 195-pound Russellville, Ala., native ranked third in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage (.438), hitting 60 of 137 attempts. Smith also added 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steal per outing with a near 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. 
"Terence is a veteran guard who has produced at the Division 1 level for three seasons,"Kennedy said. "His ability to score, as well as, create for others is well documented during his time at UT-Martin. Any time you can add a college graduate to your program, you know you are getting a mature, focused young man." 
Smith, a career 1,000-point scorer and 40 percent 3-point shooter (101-253), scored 20-plus points five times his junior season, including season-best 23 points twice, and scored a career-high 26 points as a sophomore vs. SEMO.
Lawrence comes to Ole Miss by way of South Plains College - the same Texas junior college where Marshall Henderson played.
Lawrence averaged 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season for head coach Steve Green at South Plains College en route to all-conference and all-region 5 honors. He scored 20-plus points three times including a career-high 24 against McMurry. Lawrence lead the Texans to a 29-6 record and the NJCAA National Tournament quarterfinals. In the three National Tournament games Lawrence averaged 16 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2 assists per contest.

"Rod is an athletic wing who possesses a skill-set that will add versatility to our returning backcourt," said Kennedy. "We needed to get more athletic on our wings and Rod will bring a play-making ability to our team. He showed tremendous leadership in helping guide his junior college team to the quarterfinals of the National Tournament."
The Daily Journal's John Davis spoke to South Plains coach Steve Green as to how Lawrence compares to Henderson.
“He’s not the prolific shooter that Marshall was … he’s a completely different player. There is no comparison between the two at all. If you leave him open, I think he would make around 38, 39 percent of his shots from behind 3-point line,” Green said. “But he can put the ball on the floor and drive it to the basket. He also rebounds extremely, extremely well. He just plays with a high level of energy all the time. He played extremely, extremely hard. I know we say that about a lot of people, but when you watch him play, that’s what you will come away saying. A lot of people that don’t know much about basketball will come away saying ‘Wow, Rod really played hard tonight.’ Defense will be a strong suit for him.”

Kickoff Time Set for Chick-fil-A Game

ESPN announced the kickoff time for Ole Miss' season opener against Boise State:
The Thursday night game will be played in Atlanta's Georgia Dome to a football-starved nation. Millions of eyeballs will be watching. Games like this build the Ole Miss brand. It's the Rebels' 2nd Thursday night season opener in a row.

Last year, this happened on a hot Thursday night in Nashville:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LSU Looks to Ole Miss

The Thursday to Saturday series between No. 10 Ole Miss (29-9, 9-6 SEC) and No. 7 LSU (27-9-1, 8-6) looms large for both teams.

Unlike Ole Miss, LSU has a midweek game to play before traveling to Oxford, but LSU head coach Paul Maineri let it be known every decision he makes against Southern Miss tonight will only be with the Rebels in mind.

The Tigers' best pitchers will be saved for Oxford.
“You’ve got to have your guys available on the weekend. We want to go out and play well and win the game,” Mainieri said of the game against Southern Miss. “But at the same time, we also know that starting on Thursday we have a series against Ole Miss of utmost importance, and we need to have every available pitcher ready to go.”

Ole Miss Basketball to Play Memphis

It appears as though Ross Bjork locked up a home and away non-conference series with Memphis. A December trip to the Fed Ex forum to watch the Rebels play would be fun.