All season long, SBNation’s FanPulse has been gathering data via emails containing questions in regards to fans’ confidence in their respective programs. Ole Miss fans have submitted consistently high scores, ranging from 71 percent confidence to HIGH SCORE 100 percent. And I don’t think that’s too crazy to think.
The Rebels are just 13-13 overall and 4-9 in the Southeastern Conference, but there is still plenty of intrigue and cause for hope in year three for the 2020-2021 season. Sure Breein Tyree and his 20.3 points per game will be nowhere to be found next season, but Kermit Davis and his staff will have themselves quite the interesting roster for next year and are bringing in a top-50 player.
Let’s take a look at why, despite a lackluster season this year, next year should be fun.
Everyone is back.
Okay, Tyree is gone. But, everyone else is back. Barring a decision to bail for overseas basketball, Devontae Shuler should return as Kermit’s two-guard, Blake Hinson and KJ Buffen will return as forwards, and Khadim Sy will be back as Ole Miss’ center. Luis Rodriguez will be back after recovering from his foot injury, Austin Crowley and Bryce Williams will be another year older, more mature in the system, and will have a full off-season in the strength and conditioning program.
Blake Hinson ➡️ Bryce Williams pic.twitter.com/0gpkX8zO61— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 19, 2020
Forwards Antavion Collum and Sammy Hunter return as well and will add depth to the frontcourt, but the real wild card is Cal State Bakersfield transfer and Oxford native, Jarkel Joiner, who will be eligible.
Sure bad to average experience doesn’t equal great results, but this is a huge bulk of the Rebels’ roster that will be able to continue to grow in Davis’ system and help the new guys transition.
Could Jarkel Joiner replace Breein Tyree’s prodution?
The former Roadrunner coached by former Rebel coach Rod Barnes is a walking bucket, has been since he played at Oxford High School and averaged 36.5 points per game as a senior, finishing top-five in the country in scoring.
He has plenty of athleticism, can really get to the rack with ease, and has a jumper to boot.
1,204 reasons why Ole Miss should've offered Jarkel Joiner pic.twitter.com/HCgTgr7rXL— OHSP (@ChargerVideo) April 7, 2017
Look, no one, certainly not me, is saying that Joiner can replicate what Tyree has done this season. He has literally and figuratively put the team on his back in games, win or lose, and has scored in bunches when it was damn near impossible for Ole Miss to generate any kind of offense.
Maybe Joiner can do it. If he can, it means next season will be even more fun that it already should be.
Shon Robinson and Matthew Murrell should make instant impacts.
Robinson is already on campus and has already grown into his frame a little bit. The roster lists him at 6’11 and he’s reportedly gotten to 220-pounds. By next season, though, it’s not inconceivable for him to be in the 230-240 range. If he can get there and still maintain his athleticism, he is going to be a matchup nightmare for folks on the low block and out on the wings.
Speaking of a matchup nightmare, incoming freshman Matthew Murrell has really shined for IMG Academy this season and has rocketed up Rivals’ national rankings, terrorizing backcourts all over the country. The Memphis native is a lot to handle at 6’3 and 200-pounds when you throw in his ability to stretch the floor with his sharp-shooting from deep.
The tough shot-maker will be a welcomed addition to a roster that has really struggled to find bucket-getters not named “Breein Tyree” this year and even if Murrell doesn’t average double digits in his first year, it will be refreshing to see a guard that is aggressive and has a confident shooting stroke.
This year has been tough and hell, it’s not over yet. For all we know, the fellas could make a run in Nashville and change the tone of this year’s campaign. But, it’s not looking like it’s likely.
But, there is some promise in 2020-2021 and everyone’s consistent confidence this season despite several close losses and head-scratchers is a sign that Davis and his staff are doing several things right.