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Basketball signee Serrel Smith asked for release because Ole Miss still hasn’t named a coach

The combo guard from Florida will be a hot commodity. But more importantly, the Rebels need a head coach. Now.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

The hits just keep on coming for Ole Miss basketball.

A month removed from losing the winningest head coach in school history, their highest-rated signee is now in the wind as well. Three-star combo guard Serrel Smith has asked for his release from his letter of intent and will re-open his recruitment, per 247Sports Evan Daniels. The nation’s No. 13 guard was spectacular for St. Petersburg High School this season, leading them to the 8A FHSAA Final Four and a 24-6 overall record.

Serrel’s mother spoke with Daniels and detailed why they made the decision.

“We were really hopeful that by now they would have someone be in place so we could have an opportunity to find out the next plan and vision for that person coming in and how Serrel would be included that,” Tamika Coley said.

”[Andy Kennedy] was a special person,” she added. “He said and presented in a manner to us that he would give him every opportunity to be successful and compete right way.”

Since signing in November of last year, Smith’s stock has continued to rise despite his less-than-lofty three-star ranking. The 6’3 guard holds offers from Dayton, Memphis, Temple, and Wichita State, among others. Rebel Grove’s Russell Johnson expects Serrel to be a hot name in recruiting circles now that he is up for grabs again.

And for good reason.

The other signee from November, three-star forward Anthony Higgs, announced last month his intentions to honor his signature and stay with Ole Miss through this transition. But, no decisions have been made public by the other two members of the recruiting class, forwards Brian Halums and Zach Naylor.

So now what?

Ole Miss has yet to name a head coach. And despite pretty much everyone saying and almost knowing for sure it’s going to be Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis, nothing is set in stone and pen has not been pressed to paper yet.

Ole Miss cannot afford a blunder like they had with not only the extension of Andy Kennedy and his staff’s contracts, but they need to move fast to not only secure their signees for this class, but to get moving for 2019’s class.

If Kermit is the guy (he is), he needs to get his ass to Oxford, assemble a staff, and start contacting these players and their parents to get them to honor their letter of intent. Or, if they want out, fine, but it’s time to get a move on. This hire is not for the complacent or patient, in my opinion. Fans need Kermit Davis to win and win in a hurry. Or more apathy will set in.

Will things change? Well, as of right now, things look about the same as they did last time Chancellor Gumballs put his wrist out instead of a firm handshake for an athletic agreement regarding our basketball program.

The clock is ticking.