Kennedy hopes freshmen are turning a corner

Ole Miss will take on its in-state rival later this week. Mississippi State’s depth issues have been well-documented.

The Rebels have not been without depth issues, and the two freshmen who have gotten the minutes in the absence of Demarco Cox and Aaron Jones have had some bright spots but have mostly looked like two average freshmen.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy hopes that’s about to change, particularly with Brutus, a 6-foot-6 forward, who had six rebounds in 15 minutes against Auburn, a big part in helping the Rebels go plus-16 on the glass.

“I think Terry’s gotten a lot better. He’s a good position defender, and he has to be. For a long time he was not reacting quick enough. The fact that he was under-sized was costing him. Now he’s starting to figure things out a bit and understanding, ‘I’ve got to beat people to spots, because I’m going to be under-sized at times.’ He’s rebound the ball better for us, again, six rebounds in 15 minutes is a pretty good ratio. He understands his role offensively, keep balls alive, slip to the basket, be efficient around the rim.”

At times Brutus has shown the aggressiveness to go to the rim and finish. Other times he’s looked lost and has let rebounds in or near his grasp get away from him and let the opponent head down the floor.

Perez has more of an offensive skill set. He’s not going to be a banger but will always present the threat of offense to the other team. He was 3-for-4 from the floor in 10 minutes at Missouri. He scored in a variety of ways that day, hitting a 3-pointer, a mid-range jumper and putting the ball on the floor to get to the rim. Unfortunately, 0-for-1 from the floor as he was against Auburn has been more of the norm.

Kennedy: “Anthony, in fairness to him, it’s been hard for him, because I’ve switched positions with him three or four times. I know that when he gets out there he’ll pursue the ball. He’s a matchup difficulty. He’s always a threat to make a shot.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Hey Mr. Sqiudward what have you there? Never been to the big dance nor had any hair.

    “you see, the number on the matchbook is old and faded.”

    • concerned

      You mean kind of like bullethead down there in that place where no one wants to play? Oh wait. He’s never even been to NIT. Not going any time soon either. I don’t think he’ll ever get to 10 wins in our lifetime.

  • Longfellow51

    I think I will take that bet. Anyone with a little bit of college basketball knowledge knows what happened at MSU during the off season. They cleaned out the old coaching staff. This resulted in 2 pevious players leaving, at least 2 recruits to flip, and then lost 2 players to ACL season ending injuries. This left coach Ray with 7 scholarship players only and 2 walkons. For those of you that don’t know, you can have 13 scholarship players on a team. This woeful season was expected and not a surprise to those in the know. Even though they are not talented and have no bench, they are in shape, they hustle and play hard, big difference than previous years watching fat lazy talented players walking up and down the court. In a couple of years, coach Ray will have a competitive team, but will take a few recruiting classes and game experience to just get to that level.
    As for AK, I think he has done a decent job over his 7 years. It will be good for him and his staff to have a new arena to show recruits. I think if they take care of business these last 4 games, AK will finally get into the tournament.

    • Concerned

      For a response to a reasonable MSU fan, I have to concur. That previous comment was for the rabid MSU fan who is obsessed with Ole Miss. I actually like Ray, and wish him well.

      I’m sure a lot of what has been done to clean that program up was prescribed in the hire.

      • Longfellow51

        Thanks, yeah, RR knew exactly what was on (or not on) his plate when he was hired. I know it has to be tough on him and players, but its not a surprise. Everyone wants to jump on AK, but he has done a good job. There was a year or two with Chris Warren and Polynice where they should have gotton an invite to the NCAA.

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