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Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter will rollover contracts of head basketball coaches Kermit Davis and Yolett McPhee-McCuin

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Ole Miss men’s and women’s hoops are on the come-up

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Grayson Weir

Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter will rollover the contracts of head men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis and head women’s basketball coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, he told Ben Garrett on the Talk of Champions.

“Kermit will be rolled over [and] Coach Yo will be rolled over, to get them back to four years. We obviously feel very good about those programs,” said Carter.

Davis, who took over the Rebels in 2018, signed a four-year contract extension worth $12 million in March of 2019. McPhee-McCuin took the reigns of a struggling Ole Miss program in March of 2018 and signed on for an additional four years in 2019.

With Carter’s announcement of his intent to rollover both coaches, it renews their contracts without any additional agreement or signature. The remaining term of the contract at the commencement of each succeeding season is the same as the original term of the contract. Davis and McPhee-McCuin’s extensions are now virtually evergreen, and both coaches will have four years remaining on their contracts until an athletic director chooses to discontinue the rollover.

When McPhee-McCuin took over the women’s program, there was a glaring need for new culture and leadership. The team had won only 18 conference game in five years under Matt Insell and never finished hire than seventh in the Southeastern Conference.

Though McPhee-McCuin’s first two seasons in Oxford didn’t begin with a splash, the rebuilding efforts has the team trending in the right direction. Her first year saw nine players announce they were transferring before the season and the team won only nine games.

Seven players either graduated or left before her second season. She filled the roster with four freshman and two junior college transfers, but the top signee didn’t qualify and top-100 freshman Sarah Dumitrescu tore her ACL. It wasn’t going to be a breakout year, but the circumstance led the Rebels to go winless in the SEC.

McPhee-McCuin is killing it as a recruiter, despite the on-court struggles. Talent wins games and there are dominant athletes headed to Oxford for the 2020-21 season.

Junior Andeija Puckett transferred from Cincinnati and sophomore Donnetta Johnson transferred from Georgia before the 2019 season. Both will be eligible this year. Joining them is the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the SEC, highlighted by five-star recruits Jacorriah Bracey and Madison Scott, and JUCO transfer shooter Tiya Douglas.

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To put the icing on the rollover cake, McPhee-McCuin landed transfer forward former No. 3 overall recruit and Maryland standout Shakira Austin, who will likely have to sit due to transfer rules.

Things are trending up for a program that McPhee-McCuin is building from the ground-up, and Carter recognizes that success takes time. He is providing that by rolling over the four-year contract.

For Davis, success came in year one. The Rebels went 20-13 in 2018-19 and received an NCAA Tournament birth with a roster anchored by rising NBA superstar Terence Davis Jr. Ole Miss won 10 games in the SEC, including a sweep of Auburn, who went on to reach the Final Four.

His second season didn’t come with the same results, and the Rebels were slated to miss out on a postseason birth before the season was cut short due to COVID-19. Despite the struggles, there were close losses early in the season that may have set a different tone and countless games where Ole Miss was hanging around but couldn’t finish down the stretch.

The SEC’s top guard Breein Tyree has graduated and will not be back in the fall, but Davis has a talented group to step into the starting five. Incoming four-star shooting guard Matt Murrell is the highest rated recruit in the school’s history and will compete for quality minutes from day one.

Where Davis has consistently made his mark over the course of his career, however, is in the transfer market. His short time at Ole Miss is no different.

Oxford native Jarkel Joiner will be eligible in 2020 after transferring from Cal State Bakersfield and brings with him an explosive drive and nasty jump shot. In addition to the hometown baller, this offseason saw commitments from powerful former Rider University forward Dimencio Vaughn and Samford transfer wing forward Robert Allen. Most recently, 6-foot-8, 235-pound Arizona State transfer forward Romello White announced he will join Ole Miss in 2020 after testing the NBA waters. His presence will be an immediate impact player, bringing a big presence to a position lacking depth. White is a massive get for Davis.

The momentum surrounding the men’s program is growing by the day. Davis has already proved what he can do with the right players in his system and is making big-time moves to get talent to Oxford.

It is unclear when an official announcement is to come, but Carter making the decision to rollover both coaches is the right move. Big things are ahead.