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Pittsburgh transfer guard Trey McGowens puts Ole Miss basketball in his Top 8

Kermit Davis has made an impression on the strong slasher.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Former University of Pittsburgh guard Trey McGowens has released a Top 8 of schools that he will consider for next season, and it includes Ole Miss. Having played two seasons in Steel City, the rising junior will have to sit out for the 2020-21 season, and then will have two years of eligibility remaining at his next school.

McGowens announced his decision to enter the transfer portal on March 18, and received a phone call from Ole Miss shortly after, per Rivals’ Corey Evans.

”I feel it’s in my best interest to transfer to another program in order to further my development as a basketball player,” McGowens said. “My goal is to find the right system for me to continue to develop as a point guard.”

Ole Miss basketball finished the 2020 season with a blowout loss to Georgia in the SEC Tournament, loses its leading scorer, and doesn’t have a clear candidate to step into the spotlight role. Even with all the looming uncertainty, the Rebels have a solid foundation and a strong incoming recruiting class to hold the program above water as it hopes to bounce back from a disappointing second year under a good head coach in Kermit Davis.

Best positioned to fill the void of Breein Tyree’s absence in the immediate future are Jarkel Joiner, who played a significant role at CSU Bakersfield before he transferred and sat out last year in Oxford, and Matt Murrell, a four-star recruit who rose to national prominence in his senior year at IMG Academy.

Despite the soon-to-arrive backcourt play, Davis and his staff is in pursuit of another athletic guard, and appears to have made an impression. While with the Panthers, McGowens turned some heads with his strong drives in the lane.

The 6-foot-4, 190 pound guard often struggles to go to his left and hasn’t developed a consistent outside shot, but he possesses elite collegiate athleticism and shows signs that he could emerge as a strong secondary ball handler in his third season— especially with a full year to grow in a new system.

His stats indicate just 3.6 assists per game last season, but the tape shows fantastic court vision and a hesitation dribble that allows him a split second to see open driving and passing lanes.

On a team like Ole Miss, McGowens’ ability to dig out rebounds and loose balls against bigger opposition could prove valuable alongside relatively undersized big men like Blake Hinson, K.J. Buffen and Shon Robinson. The paint presence also opens up a drop pass option for a power-driving guard, and creates space for nifty finishes at the rim.

McGowens averaged 11.5 points after a slow finish to the 2019-20 season (likely attributed to his desire to move on), but hit 38.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot and step-in three point attempts, and 36.7 percent from the field.

The South Carolina native will not turn a program around by his lonesome, but his strong perimeter defense and explosive interior muscle will serve well alongside a primary scorer.

McGowens, has four SEC teams in his Top 8 and also heard from Wichita State, Georgia, Illinois, DePaul, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Southern California, Connecticut, Arizona State and Maryland, so the Ole Miss recruiting staff has their work cut out for them. Should he choose to join the Rebels, it would be a great get for Davis, and his athleticism could provide a needed boost in a supporting role.