Ole Miss basketball will feature offensive firepower in 2016-17 that is only rivaled by the offensive display being shown in NBA Finals.
While watching the dazzling offensive displays being put on in the NBA Finals by both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, I find myself looking forward to the future of Ole Miss basketball. By the way, I wish I had been watching it here.
Sure, Andy Kennedy’s roster is not as talented as either of the world champion contenders. Interesting to note however, is that when you watch the Warriors play, you see how AK’s offense would work in a perfect world. From the prolific shooting to the constant movement and well-time passing, 12-year head coaching veteran would take a little more of all of it in his program.
Speaking of his program, it has taken significant steps this offseason towards becoming a more effective and efficient offense, that features constant pressure, tempo and passing. Recently Ole Miss gained a transfer by way of New Mexico in Cullen Neal, who is set to be the starting point guard next season.
Alongside the 6’5 Neal in the backcourt will be fellow transfer, Deandre Burnett, who sat out the 2015-16 season after transferring from Miami. Burnett is expected to be a well-timed replacement for the departing Stefan Moody, known as a player with a knack for scoring the ball. He can shoot and he can drive, he knows how to get buckets. Neal is known as playmaker due to his passing ability.
Naturally, you can probably already envision just how dangerous two players with their skill sets playing together in the same backcourt can be. Once chemistry develops between the duo, their ability to run the fast break as well as being able to connect in the half court, they could form the one of the best backcourt tandems in the SEC.
With the post prowess that Ole Miss returns in the form of senior Sebastian Saiz, the Rebels have the potential to be a solid team inside and out.
Saiz owns the boards when he is on the floor and his effort makes him a constant threat on the offensive glass. To pair with that, he is equally as adept on the offensive end with his back to the basketball and the ball in his hands. He has an old-fashioned offensive game that is consistently effective.
The return of spot-up shooter Rasheed Brooks, do-it-all, effort wing Terence Davis, athletic, playmaker Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey and the explosive, big man Marcanvis Hymon, should also enhance the Rebels’ chances to be a good offensive team this coming season.
Davis and Fitzpatrick-Dorsey seem to be making steady offensive improvement and are both adept on the defensive end of the floor. Brooks is likely to knock down the three with more consistency this season, making him a dangerous kick-out option for a driving Neal or Burnett. Hymon has the makings to be a monster all over the floor, and could give an impact similar to former Rebel great Murphy Holloway.
Guys on the way that could contribute this season are junior college big man Tyrek Coger, JUCO combo-forward Justas Furmanavicius and prep point guard Breein Tyree. Coger could provide a low-post scoring option off the bench and provides a physical presence in the paint. Furmanavicius brings versatility and effort on the defensive end. He could be classic AK unsung hero that does everything well. Tyree gives the Rebels a go-to scoring option off the bench and the ability to create energy and tempo with the second unit.
More from Ole Miss Basketball
- Ole Miss Basketball: Auburn Transfer Forward Flanigan commits to the Rebels
- Ole Miss Basketball: Rebels land another top player from the transfer portal
- Ole Miss Basketball: Chris Beard lands a pair of highly-rated recruits
- Ole Miss basketball lands Western Kentucky transfer Jamarion Sharp
- Ole Miss Basketball gets another transfer, Arizona St. guard Austin Nunez
Other newcomers are high school center Nate Morris, foreign big Karlis Silins and Drake center transfer Dominik Olejniczak. Morris should see time off the bench this season and is likely to be a valuable option down the road as he is a true rim protector. Silins is a stretch four with high upside, but has remained in relative obscurity even since inking with the Rebs. He could be a guy that is a star down the road because of his center height and his guard-like shooting stroke. He also is very raw.
Just recently did the Rebels secure a commitment from the Polish big Olejniczak who will sit out the 2016-17 season, but he will be a valuable piece in his three following years of eligibility. He is believed to have NBA potential. At 7-feet tall, he could one day be the bigs we see playing in the NBA Finals like, Andrew Bogut, Tristan Thompson, which is something the Ole Miss hoops program needs.
Even beyond the 2016-17 season, the roster looks good Kennedy and his staff. Neal and Burnett will likely still be around and Olejniczak becomes eligible. Plus, Davis, Fitz-Dorsey and Tyree could each be monsters by then.
So watch the NBA finals and enjoy the last few games of basketball we have until next fall, basketball fans. Enjoy the high-flying dunks and the net-swishing threes and even the frenetic pace. It should excite you to know that you could witness an equal thrill next season inside The Pavillion. Not just from the Rebels, but also the stiff competition they are bringing into their brand new palace.
Non-conference games announced so far:
11/11 – UT-Martin
11/14 – UMass
11/18-21 – Paradise Jam
11/30 Middle Tennessee
Each of those foes will travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss in The Pavilion this season. So I hope to see all of you there, wildly cheering the Rebels on just as they do in Oracle arena and Quicken Loans arena for the Warriors and Cavs, respectively.