By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Eniel Polynice is back with the Ole Miss basketball team, but he doesn’t enjoy all the rights and privileges that go with membership, at least not yet.
The suspended guard, and team’s assist leader, practiced with the Rebels on Tuesday and will resume all preparations leading to this week’s SEC tournament. Whether he will play in the Rebels’ quarterfinal game Friday in Nashville remains to be seen.
“Yes, he will make the trip. Friday (status) is yet to be determined. There are still things I want to see him do,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said.
Polynice leads the team with 119 assists, an average of 4.1 per game. But he also has 83 turnovers, and in the last four games has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 11-16. He played an SEC-low 17 minutes against LSU last Wednesday.
“When EP is on top of his game he brings a dynamic that we don’t have,” Kennedy said. “We’ve had a couple of pointed conversations, and we’re both on the same page.”
Ole Miss will play the winner of Thursday’s LSU-Tennessee game.
“He’s big to our team. We need him. Hopefully he’ll come back, and we can click on all cylinders,” guard Chris Warren said.
Warren, Buckner react
– Warren and freshman forward Reggie Buckner had different reactions to the SEC accolades they received on Tuesday.
Warren was named to the coaches All-SEC second team. Bucker was named to the All-SEC freshman team.
“I guess it means I had an OK season,” said Warren, who heads to Nashville as the SEC’s No. 3 scorer at 17.2 points a game and third in 3-point accuracy at 41.5 percent. “Right now I’m just trying to make it to the NCAA tournament. That’s my main focus.”
In the last week of the regular season Warren passed Auburn guard Tay Waller for the lead in 3-point accuracy in SEC-only games at 43.8 percent.
Bucker finished third in the SEC in blocked shots with 2.0 per game. He has 52 for the season, four off the school record-56 set by David Dean in 1993.
“I woke up, and coach told me I made the all-freshman team. I was just really excited,” Buckner said. “Really, I was surprised, but I thought the numbers I’ve been putting up would be good enough to make the team.”
Warren: I’m in a rhythm
– Warren may be shooting the ball better than at any point in his career.
“I don’t know. I think in AAU ball I shot it pretty good,” he said.
In SEC ball he was 10-for-16 from 3-point range last week against LSU Thursday and Arkansas Saturday. His 3-pointer at Arkansas with less than a minute remaining gave the Rebels the lead for the first time in a game they held on to win 68-66.
Warren has shot 50 percent or better from behind the arc in each of his last three games. He was 2 for 4 at Alabama on Feb. 27, 5 for 7 against LSU and 5 for 9 against Arkansas.
“I’m just in a rhythm. It feels good, it looks good, and it happens to be good. If I’m in rhythm, and it’s an open shot, I’ll take it. I’m not going to pass it up,” he said.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or parrish.alford@djournal com