By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Only half of his new teammates are on campus right now, but Nick Williams is excited by what he sees.
Ole Miss basketball is in a bit of roster transition with the departure of Jelan Kendrick and Maurice Aniefiok, and the addition of six new players.
Junior college transfer Jason Carter, a 6-foot-8 forward with solid shooting skills, and freshmen Terry Brutus, a 6-6 forward, and Martavious Newby, a 6-3 guard are in school and working out with their new teammates.
Guards Marshall Henderson – the junior college player of the year – and Derrick Millinghaus and freshman Anthony Perez-Cortesia are expected to arrive later this summer.
“Pick-up games have been very competitive. Those guys have come in with a lot of fire, and that’s been expected. When you come in, you try to prove something, and those guys have come in playing really hard and tough, and I think that’s what coach was looking for – guys to come in and push the guys that are here,” Williams said.
The Rebels won five straight at the end of last season to reach the SEC tournament semifinals and remain in the NCAA tournament conversation until Selection Sunday. They finished 20-14 with a first-round loss in the NIT.
This year they are hoping to get over the hump and reach the NCAAs for the first time since 2002.
With the addition of Henderson, Newby and Carter, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is hoping to see a team that shoots better from the perimeter.
“Carter is unlike anyone we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Kennedy said. “He’s 6-8, 220, but he’s really a skilled shooter.”
Kennedy recruited Carter out of high school, but he eventually signed with Alabama, where he played his freshman season. He played at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College last season.
Williams has witnessed Carter’s shooting in the pick-up games and has been impressed with Newby and Brutus also.
“Martavious is a strong guard. He handles it good, gets to the lane, and he’s really crafty. He knows how to play the game,” Williams said. “Terry is like a smaller Murphy (Holloway). He’s undersized, but you wouldn’t know it, because he plays above the rim, and he’s so tough.”
With movement on the roster, Williams says he understands the first weeks can be difficult for newcomers, but the veterans aren’t asking for much.
“It’s been great. It’s hard when new guys come in, because we’ve been around each other for so long, and you’re just adding pieces. It’s been an easy transition, I feel. We have a good family here. We get along well, and the only thing we asked is you compete. When you compete, a brotherhood grows. We just expect these guys to come in and compete.”