By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Aretha Franklin may have asked for it in a more melodious tone, but coming from Terrance Henry, the message was the same.
He just wants a little respect.
Ole Miss is off to a 9-1 start, a fact that has yet to earn the Rebels a single vote in either the Associated Press Top 25 or the USA Today-ESPN coaches poll.
“We’ve been flying under the radar. At 9-1, we’re still not getting the respect we deserve,” said Henry, a senior forward averaging 10.5 points and 4.4 rebounds. “Over the span of a few more weeks, once we get into conference play, maybe we’ll get the respect we deserve.”
More respect could come today if the Rebels defeat Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles are 7-2, their losses include a seven-point defeat at Denver and against Murray State in double overtime in the finals of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage. Murray State is unbeaten and ranked No. 24 in this week’s AP Top 25.
Tipoff at Reed Green Coliseum is 3:30 p.m.
More telling of the Golden Eagles’ early start is their RPI ranking of 13. Ole Miss goes into the game with an RPI ranking of 35 according to RealTimeRPI.com.
The Rebels have now won at least nine of their first 10 games for the third time in Andy Kennedy’s six seasons as head coach.
“We talk to the freshmen all the time about hitting that freshman hump. A number of us have been there,” Henry said. “We hit it. We know how it feels. We tell them to stay focused and not get overconfident by this fast start we’re having, because SEC play is coming, and it’s going to be ridiculous. Any given night you could be playing against a projected lottery pick. We have to elevate our game.”
In the mix
Freshman Jarvis Summers has played a key role as the Rebels’ starting point guard, averaging 10 points and 3.4 assists. He had nine points and five assists Wednesday in the Rebels’ 66-54 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Six-foot-six guard LaDarius White has recently become eligible and joined the mix. Memphis transfer and McDonald’s All-American Jelan Kendrick was expected to make his debut against La.-Lafayette but was suspended for what Kennedy called a “coach’s decision.”
It’s possible Kendrick could play today, but there’s no word on his status.
Ole Miss has won six straight since a 96-66 loss in St. Thomas to Marquette which is ranked No. 11 this week.
Included in the Rebels’ win streak are road wins at DePaul and Penn State.
“We’ve been grinding out close games, but we need to put away teams like we’re supposed to, have more focus on the floor and value the ball more,” Henry said. “When it’s time to step up and make a play, you have to make your play.”