By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Andy Kennedy says he hasn’t provided input on a proposed new basketball arena at Ole Miss. He’s just glad to see the project moving forward.
The university is expected later this summer to announce plans for a $125-150 million fund-raising campaign aimed primarily at replacing aging Tad Smith Coliseum.
The home to Ole Miss basketball is 45 years old.
“I was shown an informal version of what the mindset was to what they are thinking, the size, scope and structure. They are undergoing a plan right now with an outside agency to give a recommendation of what needs to be done moving forward,” Kennedy said.
The school is about a month away from having plans for a 10,000-seat building that will have various concourses and standing spaces and will host other events as well as a new Ole Miss Hall of Fame.
When the renderings are available there will also be a chance to take an online virtual tour of the facility.
Kennedy said the project hasn’t gotten “far enough down the road” for his input, but he applauded the administration for getting the ball rolling.
“There’s been so much done as a university to improve athletics facilities as a whole, they realize this is the last bastion for us and next hurdle that needs to be cleared.”
In the meantime, the next Tad Smith season will include three new assistant coaches and a void left by the departure of point guard Chris Warren, one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the program.
Currently signees Aaron Jones, Jamal Jones and Jarvis Summers are on campus. Kennedy expects his remaining two signees, guards Ladarius White and Nigerian-born Maurice Aniefiok, to arrive within a week for the second summer term.
Forward Murphy Holloway – a Kennedy signee who is transferring back to Ole Miss after sitting out last season at South Carolina – is expected to enroll in the second summer term as well. The school will seek a waiver of the NCAA’s one-year residency rule for transfers.
Kennedy said new coaches Al Pinkins, Sergio Rouco and Bill Armstrong – the latter having previously worked as the administrative assistant – are “acclimated” and eager to see the full roster on campus.
“Seven of our 13 will be new, and with that comes the excitement and anticipation of getting these guys on campus and getting them working,” Kennedy said.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.