Loyalty Rewarded

Ole Miss welcomes its second prospect to campus in as many days Friday, as three-star guard Andre Hollins is set to arrive in Oxford for an official visit.

Hollins, targeted as a priority for the 2011 signing class, has primarily been recruited as a combo guard, though Ole Miss views the Memphis, Tenn. product as a possible replacement for senior point guard Chris Warren.

"Playing time is most definitely a factor," Hollins said. "I don't want to come in and just sit on the bench the whole time. I know playing time is earned. Nothing is guaranteed. (Ole Miss) hasn't guaranteed anything. But they're basically telling me that there's an opportunity."

Hollins is already familiar with Ole Miss, having been recruited by head coach Andy Kennedy and staff since his freshman season at White Station.

"They're the school that's been recruiting me the most," he said. "I want to give them a look. They've been loyal throughout my recruitment. They've been there since ninth grade. I have a really good relationship with the coaches.

"I just want to get a feel for how it is to see how well I fit there. They've told me that there's a guard spot open. Chris Warren's not going to be there next year. That's their lead guard. They want me to come in there and take his spot and get things rolling."

Hollins has narrowed his choices down to five schools. He has already taken visits to Auburn, Harvard and Minnesota. His final visit is set for next weekend, when he'll travel to Stanford.

Andre Hollins

"My top five are the ones I'm interested in," he said. "There's no favorites right now. I want to make an educated decision. I don't want to have the feeling after I make my decision that I left stones unturned.

"I just want to give everybody a chance, give everyone a look, so I can make a well-informed decision."

Ole Miss has kept in constant contact with Hollins throughout his recruitment. Kennedy and assistant coach Michael White were in his home last week, the latest attempt in landing the highly-coveted prospect.

"Coach Kennedy and Coach White, they were in my home last week," Hollins said. "They were telling me all about (Ole Miss) and showing me packages and stuff. They said I could be the first major athlete from football and basketball to attend the (Sally McDonnell Barksdale) Honors College. That's important."

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hollins comes from a family valuing education, an emphasis not lost on the talented prospect. He has intriguing options in Harvard and Stanford, two schools renowned for their marks in academia.

However, Hollins said he can't go wrong with any of his five remaining schools when it comes to education. So far, he's been impressed with what each school has had to offer. Hollins only wants to make the best decision possible, to choose a school where he feels the most comfortable.

"I know anywhere I go the academics are going to take care of itself," he said. "All the schools I have, they have great academic programs. I'm not worried about the academic aspect of it. I know I can't go wrong from whatever school I choose."

Hollins is already familiar with Ole Miss.

He's twice made visits, the first as a 12-year-old when his cousin, Jada Mincy, starred for the Ole Miss women's basketball team. The second was for an unofficial visit two summers ago. Hollins was able to take in "a little bit of everything," including a football game inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

All that remains, he said, is touring the Rebels' sparkling practice facility and visiting with the coaches and players.

"That's huge," Hollins said. "Relationships with coaches, that's ultimately what it boils down to, especially the head coach. You can't have a bad relationship with the person who's over your playing time and ultimately controls your career, your position on the team.

"Everywhere, all the coaches (recruiting me) are genuine coaches. I have a great relationship with all the coaches."

Hollins, rated the No. 30 shooting guard by Scout.com, has already determined a timeframe for his decision. Within the next month, he'll choose between one of his finalists, then sign with his school of choice in the early signing period in November.

"I'm planning on signing in the early signing period," he said. "I want to commit and get it out of the way so I can focus on my senior year. I'll just have that relief of knowing where I'm going. I don't want to have any worries, no stress or anything."

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