Andy Kennedy has been on the crootin trail searching for a big man since March 19th after the Rebels had no answer for Matt "Stain Train" Stainbrook in their second round NCAA Tournament game. Kennedy and his staff knew that they had to hit the crootin trail with some vigor to find an answer and fast. All that hard work finally paid off after he was able to secure a commitment from the 3-star junior college center Tyrek Coger.
Since the season has ended, Dwight Coleby transferred to Kansas (SABOTEUR) and Kennedy snagged another JUCO commitment in Tomasz Gielo. Despite Gielo coming in to help with front court duties, he is a graduate student transfer who will be leaving after one year and Anthony Perez will be out of eligibility.
Originally from Raleigh, N.C. and Upper Room Christian Academy, the 6'9, 240-pound big man will be a rather large piece of the proverbial puzzle in 2016. Now, I know what you're thinking, "does Andy Kennedy only recruit 6'9" dudes?" The answer: yes, but this 6'9" dude will be a difference maker down low for Kennedy and the Rebels. Coger is considered by some as a power forward because of his size, but he will most definitely be counted on to be a center for Ole Miss. Kennedy and his staff are hoping that Coger will use his large frame to clear up some space in the paint, tear away rebounds from opponents and just flat out be a bully. Coger will have three years to play two and will be eligible at the start of the 2016-2017 season.
Coger was the 13th-ranked player in North Carolina's '13 class and had an impressive offer list coming out of high school. After being courted by Missouri, MTSU, LSU, Miami (FL), Tennessee, and Virginia, he committed to Missouri, de-committed and signed with Middle Tennessee, and eventually landed at EFSC. He then transferred to Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C. and was eventually redshirted due to academic reasons. Now, he's committed to the Rebs.
Happy to be part of the #Olemiss family.
— Hungry and Humble (@Tyrek_coger) June 13, 2015
M.J. Rhett was a humongous reason for the Rebels' success last season as he exploded on the scene in the NCAA Tournament first round game against BYU, where he was good for 20 points and three blocks. But, his replacement won't have a similar game. Coger's size and defensive skill set will be more of a throwback to a name that the Rebel faithful are very fond of: Reginald Buckner.
Coger is similar in height and weight to Buckner and will be looked upon to be the force on the defensive end like Buckner was in his career as a Rebel. Despite averaging only 4.4 points in 27 games at EFSC, he shot 48.5% from the field as he possesses a soft touch around the rim and can utilize his broad shoulders and athleticism to score inside. He will then put said shoulders and athleticism to work as he will be asked to command the defensive glass and to erase prospective shot attempts. Coger will most definitely be an important part of Kennedy's front court in 2016 after the departure of Perez and Gielo.