Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Mediocrity can only last so long for a college basketball coach. Andy Kennedy is entering his seventh year as Ole Miss Rebels’ head coach and while he has led the team to five NIT appearances, a trip to the NCAA Tournament still escapes his resume. This year will likely be a repeat performance.
OLE MISS REBELS
Last Season: T-9th, 7-9 in SEC, 20-14 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 7th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Reginald Buckner (Sr)/Demarco Cox (Jr)
PF: Murphy Holloway (Sr)/Jason Carter (Jr)/Aaron Jones (So)/Terry Brutus (Fr)
G/F: Nick Williams (Sr)/Anthony Perez-Cortesia (Fr)
SG: Ladarius White (So)/Marshall Henderson (Jr)/Martavious Newby (Fr)
PG: Jarvis Summers (So)/Derek Millinghaus (Fr)
Gone: PF-Terrance Henry, PF-Steadman Short, G/F-Jelan Kendrick, PG-Dundrecous Nelson (transfer-Jackson State), G/F-Jamal Jones (transfer-Indian Hills CC), SG-Maurice Aniefiok (transfer-Collin County CC)
This year’s Rebels squad will be led by Murphy Holloway who nearly averaged a double-double after transferring back to Mississippi from South Carolina. While undersized at 6-7, his effort and physicality on the glass is a huge asset. Starting center Reginald Buckner is also back. While limited on the offensive end, Buckner is also a force on the glass and one of the conference’s best shot blockers.
Demarco Cox is in a similar mold as Holloway and Buckner in that he makes his biggest impact on the boards but is lacking as a scoring threat. Former Alabama post player Jason Carter joins Ole Miss after spending last season at Chipola Junior College. Carter is more skilled as a scorer as he has range out to the three-point line and will bring needed scoring to the frontcourt. Aaron Jones saw spot minutes last season and likely won’t factor into the rotation unless there is an injury while Terry Brutus adds some more physicality inside but also has a nice touch to his mid-range game.
Nick Williams returns to start on the wing. He likely shifts to more of a small forward role since Terrence Henry is gone. Williams relies on his strength and ability to get to the basket as opposed to his outside shooting. Anthony Perez-Cortesia is the small forward of the future. He brings more length and athleticism to the table than Williams and should factor into the equation right away.
Jarvis Summers will be the maestro of the Ole Miss offense. He is coming off a terrific freshman season and should look to be even more assertive on the offensive end. LaDarius White is likely to move into the starting line-up giving Kennedy more of a three-guard look this season as opposed to the taller, lengthier frontline look he used frequently last season.
One time Utah Ute and JUCO transfer Marshall Henderson brings some needed scoring punch off the bench and should help improve the Rebels’ abysmal long distance shooting from a year ago. Aggressive freshman shooting guard Martavious Newby should also be a key cog off the bench as that duo will help offset the loss of Jelan Kendrick. Freshman Derek Millinghaus will back up Summers at the point.
Like the past few years, Ole Miss figures to hang around the five-hundred mark in SEC play. Without a really challenging non-conference slate, that sort of result will probably just land the Rebels another trip to the NIT due to a poor RPI. Falling short of the Field of 68 could end up costing Kennedy his job this time around.
Player to Watch: Jarvis Summers
Summers’ playmaking ability will be a huge key for the Rebels this season. He is by no means a great distributor and has to do a better job of setting the table for an Ole Miss team that averaged less than 11 assists per game a year ago. His development and maturity as a floor leader could be one of the missing ingredients that could finally help get Kennedy over the hump.
Key Non-Conference Games:
12/1 vs. Rutgers (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/8 at Middle Tennessee
12/19 at Loyola Marymount
12/22 vs. Indiana State (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. San Diego State/San Francisco (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 vs. Arizona/East Tennessee State/Miami FL/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks