A conversation with Joe Harvell

Some good stuff here from a RebelSportRadio interview with Ole Miss legend Joe Harvell, now a Memphis businessman.

Harvell remains the No. 2 scorer in Ole Miss history, his 2,078 career points and 18.2 career scoring average ranking second to John Stroud’s 2,328 points and 21.2 scoring average.

Harvell played three years for Ed Murphy and was a senior when the change was made to Rob Evans.

I was working in Meridian when Evans was hired at Ole Miss, and I remember a comment attributed to him in which he was not impressed by Harvell’s defensive skills. I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of it was that Evans said Harvell thought “the defensive end of the floor was for peasants.”

Harvell clearly remembers Evans’ early assessment.

“That was so unfair. Rob came in as a def minded coach. He watched film before he came in. Rob knew what type of player I was. I was always into working hard. Even on the defensive end.”

Harvell said Murphy was an offensive-minded coach and wanted Harvell to come in and put up a lot of shots.

It was a completely different philosophy for Evans.

Harvell continued: “It’s a mindset change you have to go through, and I think he made that comment actually before he saw what type of person I was. I didn’t want anyone out there to out-work me. I remember that comment, and I mentioned to coach Evans, ‘I don’t think that was a fair comment.’ His response was, ‘I just know you’re used to scoring. I’m more defensive-minded.’ I said, ‘Coach, if you’re more defensive-minded, I’m all for it.’ The biggest adjustment for me was on offense. By the end of the season he told me, ‘You actually became a decent defensive player this year … a lot better than I thought at the beginning.”

Moving ahead, Harvell says Andy Kennedy did a great job of motivating his team at the end of last season.

“I have to give AK credit. What AK did last year, getting those guys to play. Before the tournament I thought they were NIT. They made that run in the tournament and got that momentum,” he said.

That momentum required key seniors to buy into the importance of Marshall Henderson’s role on the team.

“I call him the double-headed monster. You don’t know if you’re going to get the good or the bad from Marshall Henderson, but he had the double-headed monster down there, and he went on a roll. He got them to the point … I don’t know how he did it, how he sold those other seniors to buy into Marshall. They bought into that system, and that’s what got them there.

“This season he’s got a little struggle on his hands. Marshall has been suspended a few games, and now they’re being tested. He’s got to find scorers. He has a problem with scorers.”

From one scorer to another, Harvell has been really impressed with what he’s seen in Jarvis Summers.

“Jarvis Summers has stepped up, and in my opinion, I don’t see a guard in the SEC better than Jarvis Summers right now. I didn’t know it was in him. I did not know that kid had that type of offensive game. That just goes to show you how big a team player he’s been in the past. But he’s got to have some help. If Marshall’s not out there. He’s got to have some help.”

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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