Mum's the Word

Ole Miss opens official practices Friday. Murphy Holloway, however, remains in limbo.

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The junior forward, who transferred back to Ole Miss after a year spent at South Carolina in April, is still awaiting word from the NCAA on his status for the upcoming season, which opens next month.

Ole Miss is appealing to the NCAA to waive a year-in-residency requirement for transfers. Ole Miss remains optimistic Holloway will receive a favorable ruling, according to sources familiar with the situation.

"Really, me, I pray every night. We need Murphy, man," junior forward Reginald Buckner said Thursday. "He's a big contributor to the team. He's focused, and he's a great leader. He's still the same Murphy, but he's gotten a lot stronger, quicker and his jump shot's developed a lot more."

Holloway, a fourth-year junior, enrolled in classes in the summer, and has participated with his teammates in individual workouts over the last few months. Once a two-year starter at Ole Miss, Holloway led the Rebels in rebounding in each of his two seasons.

Murphy Holloway
Associated Press

"Our hope was that we would hear something leading into Friday, which still may be the case. In any regard, I think everybody is working together to try to get this resolved," head coach Andy Kennedy said.

"I'm trying not to obsess about it. Obviously I could allow it to consume me. What I'm trying to do is prepare as if he's going to be with us November 11 (the team's season opener) in earnest, and I'm sure we'll know well in advance of that what his status will be."

Junior guard Nick Williams, like Buckner, is hoping upon hope that Holloway is eventually cleared.

Williams described Holloway as a "tenacious rebounder," the type of player, he said, Ole Miss sorely lacked last season.

"Murph is a great player. Tenacious rebounder. We're going to need that," Williams said. "I know some games last year, rebounding was a big part of why we didn't win games. Murphy's going to bring that to us. We're praying every day that the NCAA clears him and get him on the court as fast as possible."

Holloway averaged 10.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 2009-10, his final season at Ole Miss. His 259 total rebounds led the team by a wide margin, and he also logged the third-most minutes of any player at 25.7 minutes per game.

Kennedy said Holloway has matured physically since his two seasons at Ole Miss.

"I don't know if you've seen him, but sometimes we forget that these kids are still kids. They look like men, but they're still kids and they're 17, 18, 19-years old," Kennedy said. "Murph left us as a sophomore. Now he comes back, he's a fourth-year junior. He's developing into a man, physically. What he can impact to our program obviously goes without saying.

"It's one thing to sign a kid with all the stars and all the bells and whistles and project what he can give you. We know what Murph can give us. We've seen him get 20 rebounds in an SEC game. We've seen him have multiple double-doubles. He was on pace when he left here as a sophomore to have a chance to be the all-time leading rebounder in the history of our program. Obviously his value is unquestioned."

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