Kennedy plays with chemistry set

M.J. Rhett, right, will be a new face for Ole Miss after arriving from Tennessee State. He's a post-graduate transfer who averaged 9.1 rebounds per game last season. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

M.J. Rhett, right, will be a new face for Ole Miss after arriving from Tennessee State. He’s a post-graduate transfer who averaged 9.1 rebounds per game last season. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Andy Kennedy says he's in no hurry to fill a vacancy on his coaching staff. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Andy Kennedy says he’s in no hurry to fill a vacancy on his coaching staff. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – There are lot of new parts and pieces to Ole Miss basketball, and while Rebels coach Andy Kennedy focuses on chemistry for his players, there’s chemistry for his staff to consider also.

Kennedy says he’s content to let the vacant position on his coaching staff linger a little while longer.

The NCAA allows coaches to supervise player workouts for two hours a week during the summer.

That’s especially important this year with four new transfer players along with freshman signee Marcanvis Hymon.

Two of the transfers will be post-graduate signees – they’ll arrive with a degree in hand but with a year of eligibility remaining.

“All of our guys are on campus, and we’ve been able to get to know them better,” Kennedy said. “I’ve been excited with what I’ve seen so far. It’s been a productive summer.”

Kennedy is hoping M.J. Rhett, a post-graduate transfer from Tennessee State, will help with scoring on the low block and rebounding.

Rhett shot 54 percent from the floor last year and was fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference in rebounding at 9.1 per game.

Junior college transfers Stefan Moody and Rod Lawrence, and post-graduate transfer Terrence Smith are expecting to help fill the perimeter scoring void left by Marshall Henderson.

Kennedy sees an experienced and mature team in spite of the new faces.

“Ten of our 13 will be juniors or seniors. With that we hope comes a real focus and sense of urgency that you like to see from upperclassmen,” he said.

Underclassmen Derrick Millinghaus, Demarco Cox, Janari Joesaar and Jerron Martin have transferred out of the program to make room for the newcomers.

“We’ll be at 13 (scholarships) when we need to be in the fall,” Kennedy said.

Coaching moves

At some point he’ll be at three assistant coaches. Al Pinkins and Sergio Rouco have pursued other opportunities.

Bill Armstrong returns, and in the spring Kennedy added former Auburn assistant and Memphis native Tony Madlock.

Also, Todd Abernethy, a senior point guard on Kennedy’s first Ole Miss team, has joined the staff as coordinator of recruiting development.

“We’ve still got a spot open, but I’m in no rush to fill that,” Kennedy said. “It’s been great to get to know the new guys, and we’re seeing returns in maturity and growth.”

parrish.alford@journaliinc.com