Whenever Ole Miss finds itself in the midst of a good season in any sport, I find it hard to simply exist in the moment. I always find myself thinking about the next season and whether the team could improve upon its current standing.
If you’re wondering that about this basketball team, I wouldn’t be too concerned about things.
Sure, the Rebels lose Terence Davis, an explosive and ultra-athletic dynamo who can dominate games at times and often looks like the best player on Ole Miss’ team. Davis just garnered SEC player of the week honors for his performances against Auburn and Mississippi State, and the recognition is well deserved.
But past Davis, there’s not much the Rebels will lose. The only other seniors on the team are Bruce Stevens and D.C. Davis, and while both play regular minutes, the team likely won’t struggle to replace either’s production off the bench.
In the wake of a tough home loss to LSU, Ole Miss fans should take solace in the fact that this team is built to last.
The Rebels will bring back a strong core next season.
Breein Tyree, Devontae Shuler, Blake Hinson, K.J. Buffen and Domink Olejniczak are all expected to return and theoretically form a potential starting five. On top of that, freshman guard Luis Rodriguez should progress after getting marginal minutes as a freshman. Of course, there’s a school of thought that a player’s largest growth comes between years one and two on campus. Sayings like that is mostly just silly, but imagine a scenario in which two of Hinson, Buffen and Rodriguez improve a great deal.
The Rebels will also get Franco Miller (who’s out this year with an injury) and 6’11” Carlos Curry, who’s redshirting as he acclimates to the college level.
The inbound recruiting class fills lots of needs.
The Rebels’ top-rated signee is Dude Collum, a 6’7 small forward who is a spectacular, explosive athlete. Sound like anyone else on the team? Collum turned down offers from, among others, Georgetown, Florida and Florida State.
An Ole Miss team in desperate need of help down low gets help by way of 6’10 center Rodney Howard, who may need to get his body right before he can play significant minutes.
But Sammy Hunter, the Rebels’ other big man signee, doesn’t need to change his body. Hunter is 6’9, 230, has already had success against college teams, having put up strong games against UNC and Notre Dame while playing for teams in the Bahamas. Hunter is expected to come in and play significant minutes immediately.
Lastly, Bryce Williams is a shooting guard who has the coaches very excited. He’s expected to play a good bit at a position in which the Rebels really need to build depth.
This class might not blow people away, but consider that it would be the highest rated Kermit Davis ever signed during his 16 seasons at MTSU.
Davis has never had this type of talent to work with, especially not in the long term.
Sure, he hit on some good evaluations at Middle, but he wasn’t able to consistently win tough recruiting battles. Now, he has the chance to build the program with the type of athlete more fit for his system and lure more significant talent to Oxford. If he can keep finding Blake Hinsons and K.J. Buffens, Ole Miss fans are in for a real treat.