I can finally take some solace in the fact that basketball season is finally here. In the past, this has been a much bigger day for me because the only thing worth paying attention to during the football season was what recruit was going to be the one to spurn us in February.
The Rebels are coming off a scrimmage against UAB and will be facing the mighty Red Wolves (formerly Indians) of Arkansas State. Funny story about the name change later. Ok, screw the mighty façade from earlier. Arkansas State is woeful. They finished in sixth place in their division of the Sun Belt. You know how bad the Sun Belt is in football, it is arguably worse in basketball.
No one on their roster looks like we need to worry about them. Their leading scorer is Yima Naga…Naga…naga going to matter anyways (LAWLZ). Seriously, this team is awful and the game will be pretty boring so I guess I am just going to talk about a couple of issues going on with the team.
Trevor Gaskins Injury
I would say you all know about Trevor Gaskins tearing his ACL and being out for the season, but I realize this is Ole Miss and the majority of people do not care about basketball.
When I first heard about the injury to Gaskins I wasn’t that worried. We had plenty of depth at the two guard, Gaskins was undersized, shot too much and made ill-advised passes. Still, this is an injury that is going to hurt the Rebels. Gaskins was probably going to be the main relief for Warren off the bench, basically a more effective Brian Smith.
The loss of Gaskins rids the Rebels of a clutch shooter, and more importantly a fearless shooter. There are two players on the roster that will not pass up a shot now. Warren and Huertas. Players like EP are way too hesitant to force their shot if they are not in a rhythm. Gaskins, as a freshman, never hesitated to put up a big three and brought tons of energy to the team both on and off the court. This injury is definitely going to be noticeable. Why?
We may have some rough games early on in the non-conference play because of all the freshmen that are going to be getting significant playing time. Granted, they look good and have potential, but Division one basketball is a big difference from high school basketball.
The fact these players have never played a single game of college basketball is reason enough to worry about the start of the season and another reason why the Gaskins injury is reason to be concerned.
Terrico White is my freshman to watch this season. The Gaskins injury thrusts him into a major playing time role. White played some point in high school so he could conceivably spell Warren from time to time if the Rebels won’t to go bigger but still maintain its athleticism.
The Big Men
We are not going to miss Jeremy Parnell and Kenny Williams. We will miss Curtis and his ability on offense, but these new post players are adding a new wrinkle to the Andy Kennedy Experience. The athleticism that is going to be on the floor at all times is going to be something Kennedy has not been able to utilize. Their ability to spread the floor now because of having big men who can all play facing the basket and most of them can stretch the floor with their range. This is going to open up the lanes for slashers like EP and Graham and allow them to get to the basket easier. Also, when teams start packing it in and collapsing the lanes with the penetration a player like Cranston, Henry, Huertas, or any other pure set shooter can drift to the baseline or the wing and wait a kick out for an easy three pointer.
Anyways, the Rebels win by 30 in both games this weekend.