After pulling in one of the best recruiting classes in Ole Miss basketball history last spring, head coach Andy Kennedy kept the momentum going on Wednesday with the signing of four new hoops recruits. The quartet of croots features two high school seniors and two junior college transfers.
While not eligible to play until the 2018-2019 season, the group will have the opportunity for early playing time, as the Rebels are set to lose four seniors from this year’s roster. Let’s take a quick look at Andy Kennedy’s incoming reinforcements.
Serrel Smith (3-star, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
This year’s edition of Rebel roundballers already employs a bevy of talented guards, and Serrel Smith should fit right in with that group. As a junior in high school, Smith averaged 27.3 points a game. Current Ole Miss freshman phenom Devontae Shuler can attest to Smith’s scoring ability, as Smith dropped 37 points versus Shuler and the vaunted Oak Hill Academy. The 6’3, 170-pounder chose the Rebels over offers from Dayton, Florida State, Memphis, and Wichita State.
Anthony Higgs (3-star, Baltimore, Mass.)
The other high school prospect in this class is Anthony Higgs, who should come in and contribute to a position of need at forward. Higgs did a little bit of everything at Perry Hall High School, averaging 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. Higgs is 6’8, 200-pounds with a 7’1 wingspan and can play either the three or the four. His versatility and athleticism should afford him the opportunity to compete for early playing time. Higgs chose the Rebels over Kansas State, Xavier, and UMass, among others.
Zach Naylor (Weatherford College, Richmond, Texas)
Naylor was the last of this group to commit to the Rebels after shining at Weatherford College in Texas, where he averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game. The Texas native is raw, but he resembles former Rebel great Terrance Henry and has the potential to play a lot of different positions. He can shoot the three and clean up on the glass, and if he adds some weight he should be a key player in the rotation.
Brian Halums (Itawamba CC, Fulton, Miss.)
Halums is a high-upside guard from nearby Itawamba Community College with two remaining years of eligibility. He averaged 17.3 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game as a freshman at ICC, and he received this glowing review from Scout’s Ben Garrett: “[Halums] has been described by sources as a ‘monster, athletic wing’ and the ‘best JUCO wing in the Southeast.’ His game has been compared to that of current Rebel guard Terence Davis.” Anybody with a game like TD’s is welcome in my book. Ole Miss basketball needs more 360 breakaway dunk attempts. Halums chose Ole Miss despite generating interest from Iowa State and LSU and offers from FGCU, Murray State, and Cal-State Bakersfield, among others.