New Ole Miss hoops coach Kermit Davis and his staff have been busy since arriving in Oxford back in March. After putting together a respectable 2018 class on short notice, they went out and snagged a commitment from four-star center Rodney Howard, a top-150 2019 prospect.
Now Davis and Co. are chasing another top 2019 recruit. D.J. Jeffries, a four-star power forward out of Olive Branch, Miss. and the top-ranked player in the state, recently told John Martin of 929-ESPN that he has a final three of Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Memphis.
The No. 43 player in the country was a Kentucky commit before backing off at the end of July. He looked like a shoe-in to pick Memphis after the Tigers hired Penny Hardaway, who coached Jeffries on the AAU circuit. But, according to Jeffries’ father, however, the Rebels made a real impression during a recent in-home visit.
It's Memphis, Ole Miss, or Mississippi State for DJ Jeffries. Alabama probably too far away, though they got the first in-home visit. His dad said Ole Miss impressed in its presentation yesterday.— John Martin (@JohnMartin929) September 10, 2018
It’s still an uphill battle for Ole Miss given Jeffries’ close relationship with Penny and a late surge by the Bulldogs (the 247Sports Crystal Ball doesn’t even have Ole Miss on the board). But, again, we all know how important relationships are with the parentals and it goes without saying that the dad’s comments on the record is a plus. You can make the decision for yourself here in the interview.
Even more good news, D.J. will be on campus this weekend with fellow blue-chippers 2020 five-star Jaemyn Brakefield and 2019 four-stars Antavion Collum (former high school teammate) and Chandler Lawson, Jeffries AAU teammate.
In case you were wondering amidst this hoopla of recruiting shop talk, Jeffries IS worth the price of admission. At 6’7 and 200-pounds, he runs the floor like a guard, can dish with the best of them in transition, has a steady jumper, and can leap from the free-throw line for a dunk like it’s nothing. He is equally as capable moving without the rock, spotting up for three, and rolling to the hoop for a finish with either hand. He’s an outstanding athlete who could play anywhere from the two to the four in Kermit’s system.
As a junior, he led the Conquistadors to a 25-4 record and the 5A title, averaging a cool 20.8 points per game on the way.
The young man is worth the down-to-the-wire recruiting headache and would give Kermit and his staff instant credibility. And it would be nice to get in on the “elite talent recruiting party” the rest of the SEC is throwing this summer. Four of the top 10 teams in 247Sports’ tam rankings are from the Southeastern Conference.
All in all, in my opinion, this is a long shot. But, getting him on campus with a couple friends and another big-time prospect can get folks talking. Maybe discussing coming together and playing together to be “the dudes who put Ole Miss on the map” or buying in to what Kermit has to say and thinking “that Tea Lizard guy knows what he’s talking about by God”.
D.J.’s father stated that he would sign in the early signing period (November 14th-21st) after he takes his official visits:
- Ole Miss - September 14th
- Memphis - September 21st
- Mississippi State - September 28th
- Alabama - October 12th
At this time he does not have a fifth and final visit scheduled.
Either way, it’s quite refreshing to see Davis and his staff work hard to get elite talent on campus and considering the Rebels when making their college decision.
Now, question is, can they close?
Time will tell.