Ole Miss is expected to hire Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis officially by the end of the week, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. We are not sure if he will continue to coach the Blue Raiders throughout the NIT, but until he is in Oxford in a professional capacity, the recruiting is up in the air.
Once he does arrive, his main focus needs to be hiring a SEC-level staff that has the recruiting chops needed to compete in a league that just sent eight(!) teams to the NCAA tournament and has potential lottery pick candidates like Michael Porter, Jr., Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Robert Williams, and Kevin Knox in it.
Rebel Grove’s Neal McCready is reporting that Davis’ Ole Miss staff could potentially include his former boss and LSU head coach John Brady. This would be a breath of fresh air in Oxford. Not only is Brady’s resume better than any assistant the Rebels have ever had, but he recruited at an extremely high level in Baton Rouge, too.
And Kermit will need it, too. Despite winning a lot in Murfreesboro, he has done it on the backs of low-level three-stars and transfers. His recruiting rankings nationally and in conference (Sun Belt AND Conference USA) over the years are as follows:
All rankings per 247Sports Composite Ratings
- 2003 - 102nd, 7th
- 2004 - 83rd, 5th
- 2005 - 51st, 2nd
- 2006 - 265th, 10th
- 2007 - 76th, 2nd
- 2008 - 231st, 8th
- 2009 - 62nd, 6th
- 2010 - 95th, 6th
- 2011 - 210th, 11th
- 2012 - n/a
- 2013 - 85th, 3rd
- 2014 - 98th, 5th
- 2015 - 156th, 6th
- 2016 - n/a
- 2017 - 76th, 3rd
- 2018 - 81st, 4th
As of now, most assume Davis will bring at least two assistants with him from MTSU. So let’s take a look at the three currently working with him and what they could potentially bring to Oxford.
Grensing has enjoyed stints coaching at UNLV, Creighton, Kansas State, and now MTSU. He has coached in 16(!) NCAA Tournaments, six at Creighton and three with the Runnin’ Rebels of Las Vegas. While in Nebraska, he was the recruiting coordinator for the Blue Jays, signing current NBA player Kyle Korver and former NBA player Rodney Buford. Korver was the Missouri Valley Player of the Year twice and was a consensus All-American in 2003.
Kermit’s long-time assistant has tons of experience, mostly as a head coach. Case was head coach at Oklahoma City University for 13 years, posting a 343-127 record, and winning NAIA national titles in 1994 and 1996. Before being the head man, he was an assistant there for two years, coaching on two more NAIA title-winning teams (1991 and 1992). The 1992 squad was a perfect 38-0. What up, Bobby Knight?!
The Duke alum is one of the most unique assistant coaches in the history of Ole Miss. Because he played football, not basketball. And hey, he’s from Oxford (North Carolina). He has been with Davis for four years in Murfreesboro, but not before enjoying several stops where he was instrumental in recruiting and developing all-conference players.
- Demetrius Nelson
- John Brown
- Michael Groselle
- Cameron Wells
All-Conference USA First-Team
- Ricky Tarrant (Freshman of the Year)
- Josh Davis
All-Conference USA First-Team
- Joseph Young
- Danuel House (Freshman of the Year)
The aforementioned McComb, Miss. native would be a big-time hire for Kermit. He went to four NCAA Tournaments as the head coach at LSU and had a phenomenal run to the Final Four in 2006. His recruiting was just as impressive in Baton Rouge, where he recruited blue-chip recruits regularly and even put a few in the NBA. The correlation to LSU is oddly fitting. John has experience coaching and recruiting at a place where football AND baseball are much more important on campus and to fans. Also, Kermit was a part of these classes at LSU as an assistant.
His 2003 class was ranked third nationally and was first in the SEC. That class was stacked with two five-stars and a four-star.
- 5-star PF Brandon Bass (2nd round pick by the Lakers)
- 5-star SF Régis Koundjia
- 4-star PG Tack Minor
His 2004 class, although not highly-rated (38th overall), included one five-star and another three-star. And both are still playing in the NBA to this day.
- 5-star PF Glen Davis (2nd round pick by the Sonics)
- 3-star PG Garrett Temple (undrafted, current member of the Kings)
- 3-star PF Tyrus Thomas (1st round pick by the Blazers)
The 2005 class finished 13th nationally and third in the conference and included two more five-stars.
- 5-star SF Tasmin Mitchell
- 5-star PF Magnum Rolle (2nd round pick by the Thunder)
Other notable Brady signees:
- 5-star SF Anthony Randolph (1st round pick by the Warriors)
- 3-star PF Stromile Swift (1st round pick by the Grizzlies)
- 3-star SF Ronald Dupree (undrafted, last played for Raptors)
- 3-star SG Marcus Thornton (2nd round pick by Heat)
- 3-star SF Chris Johnson (undrafted, last played for Timberwolves)
I would venture to say that Kermit and Ole Miss will be looking to bring at least three of these names to Oxford (not all in on-court capacities) and would probably hire another that we are not aware of. Could Davis
Now, one would assume that the assistant pool and recruiting budget is MUCH greater at a SEC program as opposed to a Sun Belt or Conference USA program, but hey, who the hell knows at this point?! We have spoken ad nauseam on this web site about Ole Miss’ lack of commitment to basketball and whether or not they are going to fully “invest”. If they do, these numbers should improve.
If not, it’ll be more of the same.