Making the Call

Andy Kennedy has a way with smallish point guards. Devan Downey. Chris Warren.

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He added another Wednesday, securing a commitment from Queen City (N.C.) Prep point guard Derrick Millinghaus. He is the third commitment for the spring signing period, joining guard Marshall Henderson and forward Jason Carter.

"It feels real good. I'm ready to be part of Ole Miss," Millinghaus said. "Coach Kennedy, me and him talked a few times. I felt a connection with him, with his passion to win and his goals. I like to win, too. We connected on that. I felt like he could guide me to be the best point guard I can be."

Queen City Prep head coach Tyson Waterman compared the 5-foot-10 Millinghaus to Downey, an undersized point guard with an uncanny ability to score. However, at least to Waterman, there is a notable distinction between the two.

"They're getting a helluva player there, boy," Waterman said of Millinghaus. "They're getting a giant sleeper who's a lot like a Devan Downey; he just scores it a little better. Downey had a super career at South Carolina. But this kid is every bit as dangerous as Devan Downey. He's just a better scorer."

Downey was an honorable mention All-American and first team All-SEC selection in 2008-09. He averaged 18.0 points in his career, which also included a stop at Cincinnati, when Kennedy was the interim head coach in 2005-06.

Downey transferred from Cincinnati to South Carolina. Kennedy tried to bring him to Ole Miss. Now, he's getting a comparable player, Millinghaus said.

Millinghaus averaged 28 points per game at Queen City Prep. He shot 43 percent from 3.

Derrick Millinghaus
File Photo

"Coach Kennedy compared me to him, too. I feel I'm very similar to Devan Downey, but I feel I'm a little more explosive," Millinghaus, who originally signed with St. Bonaventure, said.

"I'm an exciting player. I shoot the 3, I go to the hole, I'm very explosive with my height, to be able to get above the rim and finish with the best of them. I get my teammates involved very well."

His recruitment spiked this spring.

Along with Ole Miss, Miami (Fla.), Wake Forest, Georgia and Cincinnati all showed interest in signing him. He is the fifth member of the 2012 recruiting class, which also includes Henderson, Carter and fall signees Anthony Cortesia and Martavious Newby.

"He's very aggressive and he's super athletic, as well, for a smaller guy," Waterman said. "The thing about him is his will to win. He has a tremendous passion for winning. I just think that he's going to be great for Mississippi. I know that Coach Andy really loves him, and I think that he's going to be a great fit for them for the next few years of his career."

"I feel good. I feel that all my work is paying off now and just that it's another step to show the world what type of player I am and what Ole Miss basketball is all about," Millinghaus said.

Ole Miss finished 20-14 last season. The Rebels were eliminated by Illinois State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Millinghaus, who will arrive on campus in July, said he followed Ole Miss throughout the year.

"I kept up with Ole Miss. I saw that they needed a point guard," he said. "They didn't have a true point guard at all. Other guys couldn't get much involved because there was no true point guard to get them touches.

"I feel like I'm the missing piece to get them over the hump. I'm very competitive. I don't like to lose at all. My goal is to get to the Final Four. That's my dream. I'm going to work extremely hard once I get to Ole Miss to get the program to the Final Four."

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