Ky Madden shunned the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program Wednesday in a press conference set in Lepanto, Ark. (Town motto: The Mississippi Delta is economically booming compared to this hell hole)
And yes, we're a little bitter here that Madden decided to play for John Pelphfphrey and the Hogs over Ole Miss. Though the arenas are the most glaring difference between the programs at first view, Arkansas' 1994-1995 national championship banner has collected a lot of dust since then. Ole Miss has had the recent successes of SEC Western Division titles while Arkansas has been forced to be that "scrappy team who might beat you."
Madden left Oxford Sunday after telling the Ole Miss coaching staff he would be a Rebel, and he changed his mind in the two-hour drive home. He chose to please the folks in his state by selecting Arkansas, and I don't know if I can slam that decision too hard. It's just interesting to note that Oxford is a shorter drive to his home town than Fayetteville...just sayin'.
Andy Kennedy, undoubtedly, has brought some recruiting excitement to Oxford in the basketball sphere. He's found guys like Chris Warren and Terrico White who could've gone to schools with better facilities and basketball tradition.
Players like Ky Madden and Johnny O'Bryant are longer shots to come to Ole Miss than we want to realize. The program needs a new arena, a NCAA tournament appearance and a SEC championship to really draw national recruit's interest.
Snoop White, a 4-star SG out of McComb, has already committed for next year – most likely to add some stability to a stable of guards including Dundrecous Nelson (yet unseen), Trevor Gaskins and Zach Graham. Kennedy has hinted that Graham is poised for a break out season after playing most of last year with a sore knee after patella tendon surgery.
Andre Hollins, a 6'1'' SG out of White Station, Tenn., is another name reportedly interested in becoming a Rebel. He looks to be interested in more up and coming programs like Minnesota, Harvard, Auburn and Ole Miss. He's a three-star, according to Scout, and is probably a more likely get than a guy like Trevor Lacey, a four-star Huntsville product who has more national attention.
Hollins has the ability to rain 3's, and he would be able to contribute something immediately. Kennedy likes his shooters and Hollins fits that bill.
There's no new press conferences in the works that we've heard of, but we'll stay on top of the recruiting through the season.
Speaking of this season, things have been fairly quiet on the home front since the Murphy Holloway fall out. An exhibition with Delta State is only six weeks away, the night before a football game with Louisiana Lafayette.
The first six games of the basketball season have more intrigue than in years past: Arkansas State, Murray State, Penn State and Dayton at home, then a visit to Miami and come back to Oxford to play Southern Miss.
These teams are not perennial top 25 talent, but they are early season challenges. Starting the year 6-0 would really mean something later in the year, and crowd support could be a little better early in the year with some of the teams coming to Oxford.
I'm still working to convince the Mrs. to go to Cancun for the Rebels' non-conference tournament there. This will be a chance for the Rebs to re-group, re-charge and ramp up for the conference schedule that is incredibly difficult at the start and doesn't look to have any stretches where Ole Miss would rack up four to five consecutive wins.
I don't want to dip too much into our season preview, but I did want to gauge some of the interest in the program for the blog. I know there's a few of you out there following along even in the mass hysteria of football season.
I'll close with a tweet from one of my favorite Rebels Trevor Gaskins @TriggaG_23:
Finna go to class!!!!