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Sebastian Saiz is getting NBA workouts with the Raptors and Spurs

Welcome back to Ole Misc., a weekly-ish roundup of Rebel sports and sports-adjacent news.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Arkansas vs Mississippi Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Saiz had an incredible 2016-17 season at Ole Miss, averaging a double-double per game (15 points, 11 rebounds) and generally terrorizing other teams on both ends of the floor. He’s somewhat undersized for an NBA center, though, playing more of a power forward role without the range. He’s got good footwork and fundamentals, and developed a consistent turnaround hook.

So it’s nice to see him getting some looks from professional clubs, including the Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. On Wednesday he worked out in Toronto, alongside five other prospects including Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe and Maryland’s Justin Jackson. Jackson, it should be noted, in the end decided to withdraw from the NBA draft and return to Maryland for his sophomore season.

Saiz then becomes the Rebels’ first serious pro prospect since Stefan Moody, who of course is currently playing in Turkey. Should the former land on an American club — even in the NBA developmental league — he’d join the likes of Marshall Henderson and Terrico White as former Andy Kennedy guys to get reps with NBA personnel. Not bad at all.

This Ole Miss student’s heart-wrenching story of being openly gay in Mississippi is a must-read.

Meet Dylan Lewis. Lewis graduated from Ole Miss last week and recently penned a personal essay in The New York Times describing his upbringing as a gay man in Mississippi. He knew that he was gay as early as the age of eight and was soon estranged from his mother and stepfather because of his sexuality.

Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who was gay. I was raised in tiny Mooreville, Miss., a tight-knit community of 3,500 or so in the northeast corner of the state. I was always made fun of for being “out there,” but even after I realized I was gay, around age 8, I never told anyone. My stepfather was one of my crueler bullies — he constantly called me “girlie,” “sissy” and sometimes “fag.”

He then moved in with his aunt and uncle, the latter of which was a Baptist pastor. When he came out to them, his uncle suggested he attend twice-weekly conversion therapy sessions, a now roundly discredited and tortuous medical malpractice.

It wasn’t until his arrival in Oxford, says Lewis, that he finally started to feel comfortable being himself. Financial troubles set in eventually — his mother had taken him off of the family’s health insurance plan — and he accrued upwards of $40,000 in student loan debt. He worked two jobs through college, sometimes as many as 35 hours per week.

Lewis now plans to move to Houston for Teach for America, an excellent vocation for someone with his life story. We wish him all the best, and congratulations on your matriculation.