Ole Miss senior guard/forward Nick Williams is excited about the new components for Rebels basketball.
Only three of the six newcomers are on campus right now. Marshall Henderson, the junior college player of the year, Derrick Millinghaus and Anthony Perez-Cortesia will arrive later this summer.
That hasn't stopped Williams and his mates from doing what basketball players do in the summer. That's play ball and help get the new guys acclimated.
Williams calls freshman Terry Brutus a “smaller Murph,” which I take to mean muscular and aggressive. The smaller comes from Brutus' listed height of 6-foot-6. That's off-set, Williams says, by how much of his time Brutus spends above the rim.
Murphy Holloway is listed at 6-foot-7, but we've often kidded him about being 6-6 anyway.
Williams has been able to see the shooting skills of junior college transfer Jason Carter. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy describes him as a legitimate 3-point threat at power forward and says he has a skill set that no other Ole Miss player has had during Kennedy's time as coach.
Williams says pick-up games have been very competitive, and that will only increase when the full class is on campus.
“When everybody gets here, practice is going to be very competitive, and it's only going to make us better,” Williams said. More from Williams here.
What the Rebels really need from this group of newcomers is perimeter scoring. It's where they were woefully lacking a year ago, nobody to knock down the 3 with any consistency.
There are a number of candidates to do that this year: Marshall Henderson, Jason Carter, Anthony Perez-Cortesia, Martavious Newby.
Kennedy has also pointed out that any player you bring into the program is a risk. There are no sure things, and with every player comes a period of acclimation. Few put up big numbers from the start.
There's hope here in the fact that the signing class has, apparently, netted so many players with the shooting skills so lacking in this team last year. That's four guys who have scored from the perimeter consistently at other levels of play, and in the case of Henderson, at the Division 1 level as a freshman at Utah where he averaged 12 points a game.
If half of those four contribute, Ole Miss is much better from the outside. With four guys, there's the possibility that the production is spread around, placing undue pressure on no one. That's not the best scenario. The best scenario is for Henderson to jump up and be the player that many believe he will be. That would allow the others to find their own pace and come around sooner rather than later.
On paper, at least, it looks like there are more options than Kennedy had last year, and that's not an accident.