After completing the 2016 season with a loss to Georgia Tech in the National Invitational Tournament quarterfinals, there was a little bit of turnover on the Rebels’ staff. A position that was previously held by assistant coach Tony Madlock opened up but was quickly filled with a familiar name: Rahim Lockhart.
After resigning from his post as head coach at Jones County Junior College, Lockhart, the former third-team All-American and Mendenhall, Miss. native, was hired after assistant Tony Madlock left the assistant spot vacant.
Lockhart, an alumnus of Ole Miss, was a standout forward for the Rebs from 1998-2001, earning All-SEC, All-American and All-SEC Tournament honors. He led the Rebels to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2001 and a berth in the NIT in 2000. In 2001, Rahim led Ole Miss to the the school’s first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance and a record 27 wins that was recently tied in 2012 by guess who.
He began his coaching career in high school as an assistant coach at Piney Woods High School, helping lead them a state championship in 2007. Lockhart has also had stops a the high school level at Taylorsville and Grenada, winning state titles at both. He then left Madison Central after 6A North State titles in 2013 and 2014 for Jones County Junior College. In his three years at the helm in Ellisville, the Bobcats had a combined record of 64-15.
Lockhart coached recent Ole Miss signee Bruce Stevens at Jones County and played an integral role in his development at the junior college level. Lockhart was able to mold Stevens into a legitimate scoring big man at JCJC and you can bet Kennedy is hoping he can do the same with recently-eligible Drake transfer, Dominik Olejniczak.
The Rebels are losing All-SEC center Sebastian Saiz to graduation which means they will have to replace 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 blocks. Lockhart’s first assignment will almost certainly be to establish the next big man at The Pavilion. Not a bad guy assigned to help do it, Lockhart himself scored 1,160 points, collected 780 rebounds and 132 blocks when he donned the red and blue in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.