ATLANTA – Much has been made of the offensive transformation of Jarvis Summers this season.
Everyone except Summers, that is.
A third-year starter as a junior, Summers has increased his scoring, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage this season.
Summers played as a pass-first point guard his first two seasons, but Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy asked him to become more than that.
“At the beginning of the season coach wanted me to be more aggressively offensively,” Summers said. “When Marshall (Henderson) was out I just had to be the guy. I just play every day, work hard and do what my team needs. If I’ve got to get somebody involved that’s what I do, just be the point guard out there.”
Summers and Henderson were both named to the coaches All-SEC second team on Tuesday. Earlier this season Summers was named the winner of the Howell Trophy, which is awarded to Mississippi’s top college basketball player.
While there’s been a lot of fuss about his improvement, Summers doesn’t feel like he’s strayed too much from his roots.
“I don’t really just feel like a true scorer,” he said.
Kennedy in SEC tourney play
Last year’s three-game run to the championship improved Andy Kennedy’s SEC tournament record to 7-6.
Kennedy’s Rebels have reached the SEC semifinals three times, but their best runs have come in New Orleans and Nashville.
Kennedy’s first Ole Miss team – the 2006-2007 season – reached the semifinals at the Georgia Dome.
Overall, Ole Miss is 5-12 in SEC tournament games in Atlanta.
Kennedy has won five of his last six SEC tourney games.
Kennedy says he’s worked as hard as he can at trying to get open shots for Henderson.
“It’s easier said than done when everybody in the country realizes what we’re trying to do. Just as you do, they can read stats, and when they see you’re not very productive as it relates to a percentage up front, they’re going to really, really overload his side.”
Since the Georgia game Henderson is 22-for-78 from 3-point range, 28.2 percent.
“At the end of the day, Marshall’s got to make hard shots,” Kennedy said.
“Looking at the road we have, we’re excited. We’re in the same position really, the same path. We just have to win one more game.” – Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson