As far as our most trusted of sources can tell, nothing is officially official until it's made official, but all signs are pointing to the former Memphis Tiger and one-time McDonald's All-American shooting guard finalizing his transfer to Ole Miss. We're not ones to count chickens before they hatch (because we sue people) but, were this to take place, it would I just got a phone call from Juco - it's official. Jalen Kendrick will be coming to Ole Miss next season. This is huge as Kendrick is by a pretty good margin the most highly recruited basketballer Andy Kennedy has brought to Oxford. This is the kind of move that could legitimately give our basketball program the versatile star power it needs to get to the next level.
"The next level? Like winning the NIT?!" No, even better: making the field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament. Hell, I'll get greedy and say the second round of the NCAA tournament should be a reasonable goal with a talent like Kendrick leading a team. He has nothing in the way of college experience to support these claims but, unlike football*, recruiting hype in basketball is a pretty reliable indicator of future successes in both college and the NBA.
But there is a bit of a catch...
Kendrick's got a history, a sort of a recurring theme amongst star Rebel transfers. A product of the Atlanta area, Kendrick was a very highly rated and recruited high school shooting guard, making the ESPNU top 100 prospects list for the 2010 and having been selected as a McDonald's High School All-American. He received five stars from both Scout.com and Rivals.com and collected offers from a slew of storied basketball programs, including UCLA, Indiana, and Georgetown. He eventually signed with Josh Pastner's Memphis squad but, before his freshman season really even began, he was tossed from the team.
None of us know any specifics, but we're pretty sure his dismissal was the result of talking shit to his coaches, fighting other players in practice, and
STEALING A LAPTOP AMIRITE being an all-around disruption to the team.
He's our problem now, but he is definitely worth the risk. He is listed as a 6'6", 186 pound small forward by his Rivals profile but has enough perimeter and history with the position to be a versatile shooting guard. Scouts have raved about his length, ability to play the perimeter as well as approach the basket, smoother shot, athletic burst, and surprisingly solid passing ability. He's good, and lots of good basketball programs would want this guy in their lineup.
But, then again, there's the history there. I, for one, am not too entirely worried. I feel that the low-key aspect of Rebel basketball could, in itself, serve as some sort of "people heppin' bidness" for Kendrick, just as he could serve as a mercenary basketballer for our program. The Rebel basketball team, when compared to the football team, shows great cohesion both on and off the court and does a commendable job of staying the hell out of trouble - box cutter wielding wenches aside. They likely wouldn't welcome a player who was a real disruption to their unity and fairly mature demeanors. As well, Andy Kennedy, while not known as a strict disciplinarian, has shown (Eniel Polynice, Dahveeeeeeeeeeeed Huertas) that he doesn't really take kindly to shit from his players. If Kendrick does to Kennedy what he did to Pastner, I'm entirely sure he'll sit his ass on the bench or be shown the door a second time.
Also, Kennedy has demonstrated that he isn't at all afraid to fight a guy so, here's your warning Jelan.
And, Jelan, if you do get in a fight with your teammates as you were rumored to have done at Memphis, for goodness sake please stay above the belt - these guys all have issues with their lower half's connective tissues - and don't ever let that shit get caught on film by an ESPN camera. /renardo'd
*This isn't to suggest that football recruiting rankings don't matter, because they do. It's just that a blue chip football prospects seem to end up as busts far more often than the same for basketball. No, I don't have numbers to back this up but I'm sure somebody somewhere has looked into this. Google it.