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2020 SEC Basketball Previews: Ole Miss Rebels

2020 SEC Basketball Previews: Ole Miss Rebels

After a tremendous debut season as head coach in Oxford Kermit Davis had a bit of a setback last season. The Rebels limped through the SEC schedule on their way to just their second losing record since the 2005-2006 season. This year looks bright however as they’ve added a number of new faces to this year’s roster.

2019 Record: 15-17 (6-12), 12th in SEC

Key Returners: (G) Devontae Shuler, (F) KJ Buffen, (F) Khadim Sy, (G) Luis Rodriguez

Key Additions: (F) Romello White (Arizona State transfer), (G) Dimencio Vaughn (Rider transfer), (G) Jarkel Joiner (CS Bakersfield transfer), (F) Robert Allen (Samford transfer), (G) Matthew Murrell (No.39 prospect), (F) Shon Robinson (2019 No.181 prospect)

Key Losses: (G) Breein Tyree, (F) Blake Hinson

2019 Season

The departure of Toronto Raptor Terence Davis hit Ole Miss hard last season. The loss of the versatile forward left most of the scoring on the shoulders of Breein Tyree. As a result the Rebels underperformed from preseason expectations and finished near the bottom of the conference.

Ole Miss drew a 9-4 mark out of conference with the losses coming to respectable tournaments. They were winless against ranked opponents but had an impressive early season against a Penn State team that spent a large chunk of the season ranked.

Overall it was a disappointing season that struggled to get anything going offensively. They ranked outside the top 150 in KenPom’s offensive efficiency rating and had to get a lot of offensive production from the free throw line thanks to poor shooting. With the addition of several sure scorers, Kermit Davis will hope to have that turned around this year.

2020 Season

Projected Starting Lineup: Jarkel Joiner (G, Jr), Devontae Shuler (G, Sr), Luis Rodriguez (G, Jr), KJ Buffen (F, Jr), Romello White (F, Sr)

Starters

The starting rotation will probably be shuffled a bit while Kermit gets a feel for all the new faces. Devontae Shuler is a sure starter though as the senior has the potential to bust open offensively. He is really good protecting the ball and can run the point if needed, and also is one of the best defenders on the team.

Jarkel Joiner could be looking at a starting role especially having had a year to work in Kermit’s offense after sitting out last year due to transfer rules. The hometown star led the WAC in scoring his final year at CSUB and earned First Team All-WAC. He is very good with the ball and can also man the point. But it’s his offensive prowess that Ole Miss will most want to take advantage of after ranking 158th in KenPom last year.

Luis Rodriguez and KJ Buffen are two forwards with good size and intensity. Buffin has developed very well under Davis and started in all but one game last year. He’s one of their top board crashers and arguably the team’s best defender. Rodriguez started the first five games in 2019 before an injury sidelined him for the year. He’s been a Kermit favorite and is another outstanding rebounder and defender.

Arizona State Romello White is in line to take the 5 from former starter Khadim Sy. White was the No.76 recruit in his 2016 class and was one of the Pac-12’s best rebounders over his three years. He was a three year starter with ASU and brings a lot of strength, explosiveness and aggressiveness to this team.

Reserves

Khadim Sy started 28 of 31 games last year and will be White’s primary backup. He was one of the best rebounders but was inconsistent with the ball. He’s an excellent shot blocker and can be a three-point threat after shooting 7-26 last year.

Robert Allen and Shon Robinson will also provide frontcourt minutes off the bench. Allen’s waiver was cleared earlier this month and was second on Samford in scoring and rebounding. Robinson has a lot of excitement surrounding him after redshirting last season.

2020 SEC Basketball Previews: Ole Miss Rebels
Murrell chose Ole Miss over Texas, Auburn, Florida, Memphis and others. (Photo by heraldtribune.com.)

Backcourt help will come from a pair of young but talented guards. Austin Crowley battled health issues at time a year ago and was undersized in his first year at the college level. He saw his minutes increase late in the season and is a long guard who excelled in finding open shooters last year.

Matthew Murrell will be the highest rated recruit in Ole Miss history to touch the court this Fall. He has good touch with the ball but the main part of his game is his scoring ability. He shoots very well from all over the court which will be much needed to replace Breein Tyree.

This is another team that might take some time to mesh with three new transfers coming in. The main core of the team has been together for at least a year however and has the pieces to be a threat in the SEC. Kermit Davis defenses are always superb so it’ll be a matter of addressing the offense to make a postseason run.

Prediction: 7th

 

 

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