By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Jarvis Summers has accomplished quite a bit in a year and a half in the Ole Miss basketball program.
One thing he hasn’t done this season, though, is lock down a starting job.
Monday morning, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin called Summers one of the best in the league at “running his team and facilitating” offense.
Later in the day at his weekly news conference Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy was less sure about what his point guard spot will look like going forward.
“I’m waiting for somebody to take the reins, honestly,” Kennedy said.
SEC play begins Wednesday for Ole Miss as the Rebels (11-2) travel to Tennessee (8-4).
Summers played in all 34 games as a freshman last year and started 30. He averaged 10.4 points, his 3.4 assists ranking ninth in the SEC. He led all freshmen in 3-point percentage (43.6) and led Ole Miss in scoring in the SEC tournament with 14.7 points over the three games.
While Martin accurately describes the sophomore Summers as a facilitator, freshman Derrick Millinghaus is a completely different style.
Millinghaus has gotten more minutes as he’s returned from a knee injury.
“Jarvis has had his moments, Derrick has had his moments,” Kennedy said. “They’re totally different players, and they can both add a dimension to us that we need.”
Summers has started 12 games to Millinghaus’ one. Summers is averaging 23.3 minutes to Millinghaus’ 18.5 and 7.1 points to Millinghaus 7.7
Millinghaus has committed five more turnovers in 118 fewer minutes.
Summers said he’d like to see himself and his teammates improve their defense as conference play begins.
“It’s the SEC, and it’s going to be hard on the road. Everybody is good in the conference. We’ve got to step our defense up, and it starts with me from the point guard,” he said.
Ole Miss leads the SEC in scoring at 83.1 points a game but is ninth in opponent scoring at 64.0.
Opponents are shooting 38.3 percent against Ole Miss, fourth in the league. The Rebels lead the SEC in 3-point defense at 27.0 percent but are just seventh in rebound margin at plus-3.8 per game.
Summers leads the SEC in assist-turnover ratio at plus-4.8 per game.
Junior college transfer Marshall Henderson overcame a four-game slump earlier this season to enter SEC play on a bit of a roll.
The guard leads the league in scoring at 18.2 points a game.
After shooting 21.7 percent from 3-point range over that stretch, Henderson has rallied to shoot 44.8 percent (26-for-58) over the Rebels’ last six games.
“His last game, against Fordham, was probably his best game as a basketball player, because it wasn’t just catch and shoot. He actually bounced the ball into some shots,” Kennedy said. “He’s been very coachable to that, and he put it into play against Fordham.”