Update 12:51 p.m.
Men’s basketball was one of four Ole Miss teams honored by the NCAA for finishing in the top 10 percent of teams within their sport in the Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. Women’s basketball, softball and women’s golf were also honored. Only Vanderbilt, with nine, had more programs honored among SEC schools.
With the Rebels in contstant pursuit of the NCAA tournament bid, here’s what a projected starting five and playing rotation could look like for Ole Miss basketball in 2012-2013.
Jarvis Summers/Derrick Millinghaus/LaDarius White: Summers was a huge part of the Rebels’ success last year. He’s a pass-first point guard, and on paper, it looks like he has more people to pass to this season. Millinghaus is a freshman signee who likes to get to the basket. I applaud the aggressive nature, but you have to finish. Just getting to the basket isn’t enough. At 5-10, 185, Millinghaus will have to have Chris Warren-like speed to finish. The finish at the basket is something in which White improved late last season. At 6-6 he’s an intriguing possibility, but he’s a guy who has spend his entire career being the focus of the offense. Creating it for others may be a bit awkward at times. Still, look for him to take the ball at the point on occasion when his job will be to look for a driving lane.
Marhsall Henderson/LaDarius White/Martavious Newby: Typically, late-period signees don’t step in and set the woods a flame. Last year there was a lot of excitement at this time for Maurice Aniefiok, but he never was able to fit in and make an impact. Henderson has a different background that makes him a stronger candidate to make big contributions right away. It’s not the fact that he’s the junior college player of the year, though that doesn’t hurt. It’s the fact that he averaged 12 points a game as a freshman at Utah before transferring closer to home to Texas Tech then to South Plains College following a coaching change at Tech. He’s been around. He should start right away not only because he was a devastating 3-point shooter in junior college but because there are no devastating 3-point shooters for him to compete with among the returning players. Competition could come, however from Newby, a scorer and high-energy player as a high school star in Memphis. Henderson, though, has been out of high school longer, has been around two D1 programs and will come in with a better understanding of the pace of the game and the effort required to be successful.
Nick Williams/Anthony Perez-Cortesia: The video on Cortesia shows a very smooth player with the ability to get to handle the ball in the open floor, get to the rim and finish. He’s a skilled 3-point shooter also, and he does it all in a 6-foot-9 frame. That being said, Williams has to play. He brings an experience and toughness that the Rebels will need, and he has the chance to be a more consistent shooter/scorer, because it appears he won’t have to be “the man” for scoring.
Murphy Holloway/Aaron Jones/Jason Carter: Holloway’s energy will set the tone for the Rebels. Carter spent a year at Alabama and brings that D1 experience that Henderson does. He also fits the “give you something different” need with his ability to step outside and shoot the 3. That fact alone will get him plenty of looks for early playing time. Jones is a thinner version of Holloway. When Holloway is out of the game, Jones will continue the pace of energy and hustle on both ends of the floor.
Reggie Buckner/Demarco Cox: Buckner, coming off minor knee surgery, is expected to be healthy and will continue as a presence in the middle that alters shots in the lane. Maybe that will improve his consistency on offense as well. Cox took a nice step forward as a sophomore and turned in some valuable minutes lsat year.