Kennedy thinks his class of newcomers can make a quick impact

Talked a little basketball with Andy Kennedy earlier this week.

He likes what he’s seeing in the early days of practice. Square Jam is Friday night, and folks in Oxford can get a first glimpse of this year’s team.

Ole Miss has reached the NCAA tournament in two of the last three seasons. Stefan Moody has recovered from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his lower leg, but if the Rebels are to make a run this year they will again rely on contributions from several key newcomers.

The guys to watch are Sam Finley, Rasheed Brooks and Tomasz Gielo, and Kennedy is optimistic that all three can impact quickly.

Kennedy comments here on:

Finley: “He has the greatest opportunity in that he’s coming into a position at the point that is void of a four-year starter in Jarvis Summers. It’s certainly a great opportunity, and he’s taken advantage of that by giving us good play from the point. He’s athletic. He’s a kid that can create shot opportunities not only for himself but for his teammates. He’s got good size. It’s not an easy position to transition into from the junior college ranks to the SEC, but certainly he’s capable of doing so. His play to this point has proven that to be the case.”

Brooks: “He’s a guy who was a first-team junior college All-American, a kid who at 6-5 can bring some size to that wing position. He’s a knock-down shooter. He’s got a very high basketball IQ, a guy we feel is really going to help us from Day 1.”

Gielo: “He’s 6-9, about 230 pounds, not quite as explosive at the basket athletically, but very very skilled. He has the ability to really stretch it. He was a career 40-percent shooter from 3 in his last two years at Liberty, a guy who really stretches things.”

Like Gielo, Finley has previous Division 1 experience, getting his at Cal-Riverside.

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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