Kennedy talks newcomers, chemistry | Ole Miss Sports

Good morning and happy Father’s Day.

I spoke with Andy Kennedy Friday afternoon for some advance work. We talked a lot about his signing class, transfers with D1 experience and talented newcomers who will expect to come in and play right away.

Three of the six signees — Terry Brutus, Jason Carter and Martavious Newby — are on campus now. Marshall Henderson, Derrick Millinghaus and Anthony Perez-Cortesia are all expected to be in house later, Henderson and Millinghaus for the second summer term, Cortesia once he finishes a summer tour with the Venezuelan national team.

There’s a period of acclimation to new surroundings that goes along with all signees. Kennedy needs quick contributions from this class, however, and there are several he feels can bring them right away.

The most college ready will be Henderson, “not because he’s the junior college player of the year, but because he averaged 12 points a game in the Mountain West Conference as a freshman,” Kennedy said. That was a Utah, a pretty solid program.

Newby is another one to keep an eye on here. He’s a 3-pointer shooter and a scorer. While it seems those two attributes would go hand-in-hand, that’s not always the case. It’s work ethic, though, that may be Newby’s path to early playing time. Kennedy compares him to Jarvis Summers in that regard. “He’s mature, and he shows up every day and goes to work. That tells me he will have an opportunity to help us early,” Kennedy said.

The unusual behavior of Jelan Kendrick created some chemistry issues for last year’s team. Kendrick’s background at Memphis had more warning signs in the chemistry category than other transfers, but brining in a McDonald’s All-American is a worthwhile risk.

Chemistry is not something you can predict, but Kennedy thinks this team will be OK there. Chemistry, too, is an evolving issue that often centers on playing time.

“If I sign him I feel like he’s worth the risk, and every kid is a risk,” Kennedy said. “You just never know. You do as much due diligence as possible, but until you get them all in the room and start playing those games, you just don’t know what you’re dealing with, really.”