“I’m about to do damage in the portal.”
That’s what Coach Yo said in her postgame press conference after losing to Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen. Well, damage she has done.
Last week, Yo got a commitment from UNC transfer Kennedy Todd-Williams, a second-team all-ACC guard as a junior (who has two years of eligibility remaining). This week, she added Kharyssa Richardson of Auburn. The 6’2” freshman has three years of eligibility left. Both will be key pieces in trying to help this team continue competing at a high level.
Todd-Williams averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this year for UNC, which finished the regular season as a six-seed before being upended in the second round by Ohio State. Todd-Williams was second on the team in scoring, connecting on 39% of her shots overall and 32% from three. She is also a respected defender, which is crucial in Coach Yo’s aggressive system. She was a five-star prospect out of high school.
Todd-Williams spoke with Jacksonville Daily News after making her commitment, saying,
Change can be scary, but it can also be very good. Going to North Carolina was always my dream, but I stepped onto the campus at Ole Miss, I knew that was the place for me. I knew what Ole Miss could offer me and how it could help me grow my game.
Richardson started 27 games for Auburn as a true freshman, averaging 7.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game. For a big, her 78% free throw shooting isn’t anything to sneeze at either. Her best game of the season came against Florida when she had 15 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks in 35 minutes of action. Yo is obviously hoping that was a glimpse of her potential and not a complete outlier.
The train keeps rolling— Ole Miss Women's BB (@OleMissWBB) April 6, 2023
Welcome to The 'Sip Kharyssa! pic.twitter.com/aq7EONsJgi
So what’s next?
By my count, there are actually fourteen scholarships accounted for at the moment, with only Destiny Salary having announced she will enter the portal. I imagine there are 1 or 2 more to come, which could free up one more scholarship to use on a portal player. That’s important, because I really think this Ole Miss team needs one more thing: a three point shooter who plays good defense.
That’s why the player I’d most like to see Yo snag from the portal is Georgetown’s point guard Kennedy Fauntleroy. Fauntleroy was named the Big East freshman of the year this season, averaging 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.4 steals per game on 35.6% shooting and 36% from three. As the steals tell you, she’s a tenacious defender who anticipates passes and could be a tremendous replacement to Myah Taylor, who is out of eligibility.
Even if this is the end of Yo’s run through the portal, she nailed it. With some promising freshmen coming in next season, and a strong team returning, these could be the key pieces that help the Rebels continue the rebuild.