Also from The Mother Ship this morning was the 600 words below on Andy Kennedy’s calls for more offensive efficiency from the players he calls his “Big Three.” You can probably guess who they are without reading, but good stuff there anyway. This one got lost somehow in cyberspace so it didn’t make DJournal.com.
That wasn’t the case for Tuesday’s columns, however. I touched on some of the same topics Kennedy would later discuss at his presser though he cast the net over his top three players, not just one. I focused more on Jarvis Summers at the end of the column because of the consistency he showed last year. LaDarius White has been up and down. When he’s on he’s really good, but Summers brought it more often a year ago and needs to bring it again down the stretch for Ole Miss to play its way into the NCAA Tournament.
The bracketologists are liking the Rebels right now, but Humphrey Coliseum has been problematic regardless of circumstances, and with six games to go Ole Miss still has work to do.
By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Jarvis Summers wasn’t available for a media chat on Monday. He was in Tad Smith Coliseum – not the basketball practice facility where his teammates were gathering for practice – putting up shots.
Summers performed at such a high level a year ago as a junior when he won the Howell Trophy, which goes to Mississippi’s top college basketball player, that it’s easy to see he’s struggling.
The most recent example: a 2-for-7 shooting night in the Rebels’ 71-70 loss to Arkansas included an errant effort at a reasonable game-winning attempt.
The loss ended a six-game win streak. Now the Rebels must try to start streaking again but at a place that’s haunted them for years – Humphrey Coliseum at rival Mississippi State.
Summers has elevated his play in other areas, but that the Rebels have been able to win games sans his scoring is a testament to their depth, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said Monday.
“If you’d have told me with the type of year Jarvis is having statistically that we’d be sitting here right now I’d have said you lost your mind,” he said.
Summers was a dominant factor against the Bulldogs when the Rebels won 79-73 in the first meeting on Jan. 28. It wasn’t his floor game, though. Summers was 4-for-10 shooting, solid but not outstanding. He did his real damage at the free throw line where he was 12-for-15.
“We just have to talk to him, check him every now and then to make sure he’s OK, It’s more of a personal thing that he has to get over,” says junior college transfer guard Stefan Moody, who has taken over Summers’ role as primary scorer.
While Kennedy has been pleased with effort – The Rebels were plus-14 on the glass against Arkansas – and intensity this week he called for more efficiency on offense. Not from everyone. He put the onus on what he calls the Rebels’ “big three” of Summers, Moody and LaDarius White.
“My big three is shooting around 38 percent from the field. They’re taking the most shots. Therefore, if they’re taking the most shots, we need to be more efficient,” he said.
White started SEC play on a roll, shooting 45 percent (9-for-20) from 3-point range. In the eight games since he’s 10-for-32 (31.2 percent).
He had 20 points at Auburn, 16 at Florida, but those are the only two games in the last five that he’s surpassed eight points.
Since going 5-for-15 from the floor against MSU, Moody has shot 46 percent.
It’s from the 3-point arc that he’s been erratic. He was 0-for-5 against the Bulldogs. In back-to-back road trips to Auburn and Florida he was a combined 7-for-13, capped by the electric game-winner in Gainesville.
But over the life of the Rebels’ six-game win streak plus the Arkansas loss, Moody is 3-for-24 in five of the games. In those seven games only twice – Auburn and Florida – has he connected on at least two 3-point shots.
Summers has hit 10-of-40 field goal attempts since the first MSU game.
The Big Three are leading Ole Miss in scoring, Moody at 15.6 points per game, Summers at 13.0 and White at 11.5. They have attempted 785 of the Rebels, 1,441 field goals.
Kennedy says he’ll work to help them become more efficient.
“We’ve got to continue to tweak some of the things we’re doing offensively and put those guys in a better position. Then they’ve got to own it. They’ve got to put in the time and the reps and go out and get the job done,” he said.