Andy Kennedy made waves after snagging the nation’s No. 103 player Devontae Shuler out of Oak Hill Academy earlier this year. Now, Ole Miss is sitting at No. 47 in 247Sports’ team rankings thanks to the commitment of Jones County Junior College power forward Bruce Stevens late Monday afternoon. The nation’s No. 6 junior college player according to JucoRecruiting.com chose the Rebels over Georgetown, Memphis, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Tennessee State and Western Kentucky.
Stevens’ head coach, former Ole Miss All-American Rahim Lockhart, tells the Ole Miss Spirit that the Rebels’ facilities played a big part in his decision.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the facility Ole Miss has now. He went up for a game this past year, and he was just really impressed with the facility, the atmosphere and the crowd. I think Ole Miss has done a great job building its program with not just success on the court, but you get on campus and look at the facilities. It’s impressive”.
Stevens, originally from Bay Springs, Miss., had a banner year for the Bobcats of Jones County, averaging 16.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season, all the while shooting 51.3 percent from the field, 81.6 percent from the free throw line and 37.5 percent from deep. The 6’8, 257-pounder helped Jones to the second round of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, a 29-2 overall record and a ridiculous 93.1 points per game average.
How does he fit in?
Stevens is a big-time pickup due to his skill set and stature. At times in 2016, Ole Miss really had no other inside presence other than Sebastian Saiz and teams would prey on that and often double Sebas. Now, Ole Miss has a legitimate stretch four joining a roster that includes newly-eligible 7-foot Drake transfer Dominik Olejniczak, Ole Miss will have some real beef down low and a proven scorer at the high school (23.4 PPG) and junior college level.
As a sophomore at JCJC, Stevens played in 31 games, scoring 15 or more points in 20 of those. He also grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 23 of those 31 games. Lockhart tells the Ole Miss Spirit, “they’re losing a lot in Sebas, so I think Bruce is going to come in and definitely help take a lot of htat burden that Sebas had rebounding. Bruce is going to stretch the floor and be able to take advantage of mismatches with his size. ”
Ole Miss returns senior Marcanvis Hymon, senior Justas Furmanavicius and sophomore Karlis Silins in 2017, so AK’s front court is looking better and better with Olejniczak now eligible and the addition of Stevens. And with All-SEC performer Saiz now gone, the No. 6 JUCO player in the country will need to bring some scoring AND rebounding with him from Jones County. The newest Rebel will be eligible immediately for the 2017-2018 season.