Oh, Tupac, the Cup misses you. #changes
The season ended just weeks ago, and there has already been a flurry of activity within the Ole Miss basketball program.
This is most likely the heating of the coaching seat of Andy Kennedy in action, or it could be recognition that maybe, just maybe, it was time for some changes.
So is this change we can believe in? Or is it a shell game meant to hype fans up only to let them down with another average season?
Assistants Michael White and Torrey Ward have left the program for another team (Louisiana Tech) and an unknown destination respectively. Basketball operations director Bill Armstrong is now an assistant along with former MTSU assistant Al Pinkins (who should be a bigs coach).
Also, we've added Murphy Holloway from South Carolina, and Will Bogan will leave the program in May. It's additionally rumored that Trevor Gaskins will also graduate and not return to the program.
And you already know this, but Chris Warren and Zach Graham have graduated as well and finished out their eligibility.
What's it all mean:
White and Ward were apparently very strong recruiters, so there may be some affect there on future recruiting hauls. If there isn't, maybe Andy Kennedy is the real recruiter out of all of them (remember: he was the assistant at Cincinnati who did a lot of recruiting then). Armstrong has been in the program for five years in some capacity, so this is just a promotion and taking care of someone who's been a loyal supporter of Kennedy it seems (or maybe no one else wanted the job).
Holloway adds a wealth of experience and talent to the wings for the 2011-2012 season. It's likely our starting line-up for the first game could look something like this:
PG Dundrecous Nelson
SG Nick Williams
F Murphy Holloway
F Terrence Henry
C Reginald Buckner
Once Jelan Kendrick is able to join the team for late non-conference and SEC play, he would take over for Williams most likely. The other unknowns are if incoming freshmen Jarvis Summers (All-Metro selection by the CL) and Snoop White are as good as billed and could play immediately over Williams. It's not likely, but Summers could even take over for Nelson as he seems just as physically capable.
Also, off the bench, the Rebels would have a solid bigs option in Steadman Short and a project in Demarco Cox. That leaves AK with nine players to cycle in and out barring any fantastic juco's who come in and shock everyone.
The biggest challenge ahead for this team is that they will be fairly young. Holloway, a player who essentially deserted the team, and Short, a JC player, will be called to be the senior leadership. It's likely Holloway could step up to the challenge and be supported by the more mature of the juniors Terrence Henry, but overall, this team will most likely still lack a natural leader (pretty much like every other team Kennedy has had at Ole Miss).