By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
Andy Kennedy said he learned a lot about his basketball team after its recent trip to the Bahamas.
The Rebels have several new players on the roster and Kennedy felt like taking them out of the country — which is allowed by the NCAA every four years — was perfectly timed so that they could bond and come together as a team.
Kennedy said the Rebels were scheduled to take the same trip last year, but due to injuries suffered by DeMarco Cox and AJ Jones, and the fact that Sebestian Saiz was still playing international basketball at this time last year, he postponed the trip.
Ole Miss played two teams in the Bahamas, under international rules, and against rosters that had several different age players. The Rebels were one of several different college teams that traveled or have visited the Bahamas this year. Kentucky and Pittsburgh were just two of the schools Kennedy talked about.
Jarvis Summers scored 22 points in one of the contests for Ole Miss, but there were several others, such as newcomer Stefan Moody, that showed their skills and what they could offer this coming season. Moody started his career at Florida Atlantic.
Kennedy praised the play of his post players, Saiz, Jones and Dwight Coleby, three of the returners who have gotten stronger and in better shape, as well as a newcomer in Marcanvis Hymon, a native of Memphis. Kennedy said 6-foot-7 Hymon was a “stretch four” or a power forward who could shoot away from the basket. He got some work in the post during the trip, and performed well in certain situations, Kennedy said.
Eight of the players on the roster are either a junior or senior. Summers, Snoop White and Jones have been in the program for the past three seasons, while Terence Smith, a transfer from Tennessee-Martin, and M.J. Rhett, a 6-9 post player from Tennessee State, have been added to the mix as seniors.
Moody and 6-5 guard Roderick Lawrence were both added from the junior college ranks. Anthony Perez and Martavious Newby are entering their third season in which they can earn a letter.
The collective group made Kennedy feel like this year’s roster was the deepest of his career. He added that the overhaul needed to happen. Ole Miss failed to make the postseason last year after being in the NCAA Tournament and winning the SEC Tournament title in 2013.
Here some of the other things Kennedy talked about during his meeting with the local media Tuesday morning.