Point Blank

Chris Warren was a scorer. Jarvis Summers? Well, he's more of a passer. The two are totally different players.

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Warren, of course, graduated last season, finishing his Ole Miss career as one of the most prolific scorers in school history. Summers, signed out of Jackson (Provine) in the class of 2011, arrived on campus in the summer.

Ever since, he's been working with his new team in the gym. And by all accounts, his game can best be summarized as a pass-first point guard, a stark contrast from the player, Warren, he is looking to replace come November.

"I just like to get everybody involved so nobody won't be complaining about points or nothing like that," Summers said. "I'm not really a scorer, but I can score. I just love to see my teammates score the ball and be happy. I'm going to have to get everybody involved.

"Really, Chris, he was a big-time scorer and a big-time player. It's going to be really hard to fill his shoes."

Thing is, he doesn't have to fill those shoes; at least not by himself.

Summers and sophomore Dundrecous Nelson are the players head coach Andy Kennedy is counting on to make up for the loss in production following Warren's departure. Warren was one of only four players in Southeastern Conference history to reach 2,000 points and 400 assists in a career.

Jarvis Summers
Ben Garrett

Nelson is cut from a similar cloth as Warren; a volume scorer with the ability to pile up points in bunches. Nelson played in all 34 games last season with starts in the last seven, and averaged 7.2 points per game.

"We all saw flashes of what Dundrecous can bring to this program with his explosive ability to score and the physical nature that he brings to that guard spot," Kennedy said.

Summers averaged 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as a senior. He and Nelson have a battle on their hands.

Ole Miss opens official practices this month. The season opener is a month away. Moreover, decorated transfer Jelan Kendrick will be eligible to play in December. He, too, can play the point.

"He's impressing me the most. I like Jarvis," senior forward Terrance Henry said. "It's just his knowledge of the game. He's not like a traditional point guard, a score-first guard we've had here in the past. He's a pass-first guard, a little old school in his game. He's going to be pretty good."

Nelson, who tied a freshman record with seven 3-pointers against Auburn last season, and Kendrick, a transfer from Memphis, are multi-dimensional players; a positive as Kennedy shapes his starting lineup. They can handle point-guard duties or shooting guard, depending on where they're needed.

Nick Williams is the lone upperclassman returning in the front court. Among the newcomers are Maurice Aniefiok and Ladarius White. White's eligibility for the upcoming season is still up in the air.

"I think we've got a nice blend with (Dundrecous) being able to score and Jarvis being able to score but more of a passing point guard," Henry said. "Jelan, he'll come in and play the point. He's kind of a mixture of both. I'm excited about it."

"Our freshmen have just been tremendous, starting with Jarvis," Kennedy said. "He's come in with a more mature approach than you're used to seeing with most freshmen."

There is no bitterness between Summers and Nelson. Nelson, like Summers, is from Jackson, though the two played at different schools -- Summers at Provine, Nelson at Murrah.

Dundercous Nelson
Associated Press

They've known each other for years. Nelson has helped bring Summers along.

"We've been knowing each other since we were real young. We were never close like that, but as I got up here, everything was good," Summers said.

"It's good, ‘cause he's experienced it already. He can help me out with what I gotta do."

Summers is focused only on what he can control. He wants to get better every day, and hopefully add some weight. Summers currently weighs 182. If he had it his way, he would be at 195 by the time the season rolls around.

"It's a big transition. College level, it's just another level. You gotta stay focused and it's a grind, like no days off," Summers said. "Everybody's cool. They let me get my shine on. They stay on me, but I still work hard and do what I gotta do.

"During summer, everybody was putting in work. Now we're hitting the real season. It's getting closer. Fixing to be the first game. I have to put extra work in every day."

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