All-American Addition

Ole Miss' 100-62 win over Alcorn State Thursday night capped a whirlwind day of activity for head coach Andy Kennedy and the Ole Miss basketball program.

Thursday morning, Ole Miss welcomed the first McDonald's All-American in program history with the addition of Jelan Kendrick, who will arrive at Ole Miss Monday after a brief, half-semester stint as a member of the University of Memphis basketball team.

"I think it's big for us," Kennedy said, following his team's blowout victory. "I think the kid's talent has been unquestioned. He's a consensus top-15 player in the country. He's a guy that can fill an immediate void for us."

Kendrick is immediately eligible to practice with the team, though the 6-foot-6, 200-pound Kendrick won't be allowed to play his first game until after the conclusion of the 2011 Fall semester, per NCAA transfer rules.

"He'll have 11 months, basically, before he's allowed to put that uniform on and represent the university.

Andy Kennedy

"And with that, it's not going to be like a new guy coming in. We're going to have the advantage of him knowing us and us knowing him."

Kendrick, who was dismissed from Memphis in November, is a former five-star recruit out of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga., where he was regarded as the 20th-best prospect in the nation by Scout.com.

"I think he'll be a good player for us once he gets here, gets to practicing with the team," freshman forward Demarco Cox said.

"Coach (Kennedy) was saying he's supposed to be pretty good, an All-American. Once he gets here, and we get used to him as a teammate, I think he'll be a great player for us."

Kennedy said he gathered as much information as was possible when considering the addition of Kendrick to the program.

"If I was not comfortable, he would not be a part of this team," Kennedy said. "I think you can win playing fast, you can win playing slow, you can win pressing, you can win with a zone. One thing you can't win without is character.

"We went through the whole process and talked to as many people as possible through this due diligence. We had a lot of frank conversations. We were certainly pleased in our efforts to show him the opportunity and he certainly showed us he was ready to come and take advantage of it."

Kendrick and Memphis head coach Josh Pastner, as was reported by Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, held a meeting the morning of November 13. The two agreed it was best for Kendrick to leave the program.

The aforementioned agreement came after the talented guard had been suspended for two weeks so Kendrick could deal with what Smith reported as a "personal matter."

Kendrick could help offset departures of Warren, Graham

Seniors Chris Warren and Zach Graham, both guards, are set to graduate following the season.

At his current pace, Warren will finish as one of the more prolific players in program history upon season's end. Warren moved into seventh place all-time in career points in the win over Alcorn State.

Graham is inching closer to becoming the winningest player in school history. With 74 wins, Graham needs 13 more to reach that mark. Jason Flanigan (1998-2001) currently holds the record with 87 career victories.

"I think he's very, very hungry to get on the floor," Kennedy said of Kendrick. "Here's a kid who's as acclaimed as any we've ever had in the history of this program as it relates to recruits, and he's never played a minute of college basketball. I think he's very hungry to prove to people that he's the player they know he potentially can be.

"We had a scholarship. It was just a perfect storm. The people who were advising him throughout the process, we've had relationships with. They saw we had a scholarship. They saw that we were losing Chris and Zach. They saw the need. They saw the opportunity. We're pleased he's going to be a part of our program."

Freshman guard Dundrecous Nelson, widely considered Warren's heir-apparent at point guard, was excited upon hearing the news of Kendrick's transfer.

"That's kind of exciting, cause we needed somebody like that," he said. "That's a big boost for us. They told me he was a big-time player. That was all I needed to hear. I know he'll come in and help us a lot. He chose the right school."


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