There's been a lot of chatter about how next season is the year when Andy Kennedy's Rebel squad will finally break through an made the NCAA Tournament. I know, I know, you hear folks say the same thing literally every Rebel basketball season, and you're so tired of hearing it, in fact, that you won't dare entertain the idea this go around. We realize that and can't help but agree to an extent. But, just to humor the thought and give us something to discuss during the college sports doldrums of the summer months, let's look at the Rebel basketball team's depth chart for this next fall.
So this idea that Kennedy could break through this fall and finally get this team dancing: there's a lot of merit to it we feel, and I'd like to analyze it a little bit further. While the team lost Terrance Henry and Steadman Short to graduation, Maurice Aniefiok to transfer, and Jelan Kendrick to "being crazy", the addition of the 2012 signing class should make up for those losses and perhaps give the Rebel basketball team it's most complete set of skills yet.
Here's my incredibly early guess at the 2012-13 basketball depth chart. My analysis follows after the jump.
|PG||Jarvis Summers||Ladarius White||Derrick Millinghaus|
|SG||Marshall Henderson||Martavious Newby||-|
|SF||Anthony Cortesia||Nick Williams||Terry Brutus|
|PF||Murphy Holloway||Aaron Jones||Jason Carter|
|C||Reggie Buckner||Demarco Cox||-|
Sophomores 6'4" Jarvis Summers (10.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.2 apg) and 6'6" Ladarius "Snoop" White (5.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1 apg) lead this unit with Millinghaus being somewhat of an unknown. Summers and White's contributions aren't obvious by their yearly stats though. Over the last five games of the season (without Jelan Kendrick sucking up minutes), Summers averaged 37.2 minutes with White averaging 20.8. Over that span, Summers averaged 14 points and White averaged 12. Summers and White were on the same page in the final game of the season with Summers notching 12 assists and White adding 26 points. If we can build on their chemistry, we could be quite intimidating at point guard (and shooting guard when White rotates there). Their height already makes them matchup problems as guards. Hopefully both will work on their defense though, because it struggled at times.
5'10" freshman Derrick Millinghaus is an interesting signee. No recruiting site thinks highly of him, and I'm certainly not thrilled with his highlight tape (I'll address it later), but his play this year in prep school suggests he's a capable three point shooter, as Millinghaus was 43% from three point range this season. Originally Derrick signed with St. Bonaventure, but he never showed up for classes, stating that he wanted to be with his family in the South. He ended up at Ole Miss after a year at Queen City Prep (Charlotte, NC). He is described as tough and capable of driving the lane despite his size.
As you can tell by his video, he attacks the basket a lot. That's great. The problem is that he's going to have to prove he's capable of doing that against post defenders in the SEC, and I'm just not sure that's likely. Even Chris Warren was only alright at that, and he could dunk.
Overall, the point guards are good players. They're unlikely to lose us many games.
6'2" junior Marshall Henderson is likely to start at the two spot (unless we start Ladarius White there). If you're unfamiliar with Henderson's story, read this. Henderson is a talented shooter who has already averaged 12 points per game as a freshman at Utah. Looking back at this past season, the only thing the team needed was a player who could hit threes and free throws. Henderson fits the bill as he shot 41% from three in junior college and was 88% from the charity stripe. Having a player capable of taking and making the last shot or holding the ball when we're defending a small lead is crucial. By all accounts, that's Marshall Henderson's game. Here's a highlight tape of his time at Utah that's essentially just him draining threes.
6'2" freshman Martavious Newby is likely to be a fan favorite by the time he leaves Ole Miss. People who have seen him describe him as an effort player who excels on defense. He appears to be a talented scorer (going an astonishing 56% from three as a senior), but I think that we're going to be quite pleased with how hard he plays on defense. Newby is expected to contribute rotational minutes immediately.
6'10" freshman Anthony Cortesia is probably the player in our signing class that has fans dreaming of March the most. First off, here's a clip of Anthony at the City of Palms Event getting the play of the day. Skip to the 48 second mark if you're lazy.
Something that video doesn't showcase is how good Cortesia is as a three point shooter. Despite being 6'10", he can really make them fall from outside (44% as a junior). As a 6'10" player, that means you have to defend him with a perimeter player. How well can a typical wing player really face up with him and contest his shot? Cortesia (or Perez, or Perez-Cortesia) traveled a lot this year to showcases, and his stuff was on display everywhere. He looks to be improving constantly and could really be an important glue player for the young guards.
Senior Nick Williams certainly could end up starting at either the two or three. I like Nick's game a lot as a glue guy. His impact is too sporadic, but he's an important player as a heady, experienced guard- something we don't have on roster. Nick plays good defense and looks quite good at times. He'll be counted on a great deal this year as a starter or six man.
6'6" Freshman Terry Brutus is a bit of a tweener. Since he was a late signee, I don't really expect him to do much. Kennedy's tweeners (other than Murphy Holloway) haven't ever produced. If nothing else, he might be thrust into playing some minutes at power forward next year since our big man recruiting has been so bad over the past couple of years.
Obviously 6'6" senior PF Murphy Holloway (11 ppg, 9 rpg) is going to be heavily relied on this year. Last season, Holloway (in Greg Jennings-esque fashion) put the team on his back. Unfortunately, Holloway can only do so much since the offense isn't really built around him. He's not going ot have plays called for him to end up with the shot. He just has to make things happen when plays break down. He scores because he works so hard. Against Arkansas, Murphy had sixteen rebounds. He's 6'6". It's amazing how he goes after the ball. I'd obviously like to see Murphy work on his free throws. If he were any good at shooting free throws his game would be so much more impressive. He draws a lot of fouls, but he can't finish at the line.
I really liked 6'8" freshman Aaron Jones' (1.4 ppg, 2 rpg) game last year in limited time. Jones played just eight minutes per game in a crowded front court, but his time on the court was often productive. I did a little bit of data analysis on an admittedly limited sample size and looked at what he averaged per 40 minutes of SEC play. That comes out as ten rebounds, 6.5 points, and 3.8 blocks per game. Like I said, that only means so much since he averaged just under nine minutes in SEC play, but I do think it's interesting to see his potential, particularly with blocks. He will likely have to contribute a decent amount more this season, and I think he's up to the task.
6'8" junior Jason Carter appears to be a signee that we added just to add depth among the bigs. I don't expect much out of him in year one, which makes the signing interesting since he is a juco player. He was at Alabama for a year before transferring to junior college, and he didn't really do anything while he played for the Crimson Tide. He may have progressed. I just am not getting my hopes up about the guy.
6'9" senior Reggie Buckner is the all time blocks leader for the Ole Miss Rebels, but at times can be much more versatile than a defensive stalwart. Averaging 27.5 minutes a game last season, Buckner averaged 7.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. His biggest game of the year came against the fightin' Sidneys of Mississippi State, where he scored 19 points and tallied 15 rebounds, and looked about as explosive as a player as I've seen in the Tad Pad in quite a while. His inconsistency could be an issue, as are his foul troubles (he was DQ'd eight times this past year) and free throw shooting (he shoots below 50% from the stripe - simply unacceptable). Still, Buckner will give this team an experienced and powerful big man to work around, especially on defense.
6'9" junior DeMarco Cox is a guy who I really think could come along nicely and see plenty of minutes off of the bench and in certain looks. Cox averaged just over 13 minutes a game. Over those 13 minutes, he averaged 3.2 points and 2.9 rebounds, but most importantly is his ability to spell for Buckner and eat up fouls when necessary. He will need to develop consistency and assert himself more, but his role for this team for the upcoming year should be pretty well spelled out by now. He'll do fine as the second center in the depth chart.