Turns out, Ole Miss is now a powerhouse basketball school. Who would have thought?
Kermit Davis & Co have been making quite a few headlines lately. Bad boy Marshall Henderson is back, and the Rebels are atop the SEC for the 2021 recruiting class. If these recruits hold, it should be a heartpounding thrill ride for a few years.
When you first think of Marshall Henderson, it’s hard to think of anything other than over-the-top (editors note: not the awesome 80’s movie about arm wrestling truckers). Henderson is now a coach (kind of) but let us reminisce on the type of player he was. While at Ole Miss, Henderson averaged 20.1 point per game and broke SEC records by making at least one 3-pointer in every game. He played in 33 of 36 games, and managed to piss off just about everyone. I have no idea what he will be capable of as a coach, but I’m secretly hoping for a few broken clipboards and maybe an ejection? All I know is that it won’t be boring. Attention is all he knows.
Outside of the Henderson addition, the Ole Miss coaching staff has locked in one of its best recruiting classes ever, so the Cup has broken down each of these names to know from 2021 and the future.
It’s no secret Kermit Davis has had his eyes on guard Daeshun Ruffin for quite a while. He has been a top target, and announced his commitment to Ole Miss back in June. The 4-star from Jackson, Miss. will have no problem putting on a show at the Pavilion. In fact, he’s already done it. In February, Ruffin managed to put up 33 points on Center Hill to win the Mississippi 5A State Championship. He is one of the best players to come out of Mississippi in a long time, and despite being a 5’9” point guard, he executes explosive plays seemingly with ease. As a junior, he averaged 26.8 points and proved exactly why he has all 4 of his stars.
If there is anyone that knows how to score, it’s James White out of Conyers, Ga. Coach Davis added another 4-star prospect to the mix, and White is one to be excited about adding wing depth to the future roster. In his junior season, White put up 724 points, with six of those games being 30 point games, and this comes in a competitive Atlanta high school basketball region. It’s expected that he’ll be making an immediate impact alongside Matthew Murrell in 2021-2022. White is shifty, quick, and allows for a lot of different playing options for this staff.
Grant Slatten has flown under the radar a little bit. This 3-star from Sparta, Tenn. continues to gain recognition from other schools and analysts. According to Rivals analyst Dan McDonald, “I watched recent Ole Miss commit Grant Slatten last weekend and it was pretty easy to see why the Rebels were so eager to get him done before the line got longer. He has good size for a wing, pretty good athleticism, and he’s a pretty crafty scorer at all three levels. He’ll be a good one for Kermit Davis, and is probably somebody that needs to be in the next Rivals150.” Another top 150 player for the Rebs? Seems good if you ask me!
Matthew Murrell is going to be HUGE for Ole Miss in this 2020-2021 season (if it happens.) Despite playing down in Florida for IMG Academy, Murrell signed to play in Oxford, Miss. and is able to be close to home. This Memphis native is the highest rated recruit in school history. With his unbelievable athleticism and ability to create space, he will fit in quite nicely to Coach Kermit Davis’ offense.
P.S. He can dunk from the free throw line.
But who is coming back?
Losing a player like Breein Tyree is going to cut you deep as one of the most prolific scorers in program history. Thankfully, Devontae Shuler and Khadim Sy are here for one more year. For Shuler, 2020-2021 means coming out from the Tyree shadow. Shuler was second in scoring, only behind Tyree, and I think he is often overlooked as a more all-around player, particularly on defense. Shuler led the team in assists and steals last season, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say he is going to do it again. As a 6’10 forward, Sy had 170 rebounds last season on an average of 29.5 minutes. He is going to be a key factor for the Rebs as it is likely his second year in the SEC the game will slow down more for him to play a dominant big role.
Nothing is guaranteed in recruiting until pen is put to paper. However, there is a very good chance these recruiting classes, and a fired up coaching staff are going to cause some upsets and piss a lot of people off. Marshall, go on and pop your blazer at the Auburn fans.