Plain Dealing

Ole Miss found one of the most prolific scorers in school history, Marshall Henderson, the last time it dipped into South Plains College for a player to add to its roster.


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The Rebels can only hope they've struck gold twice with the addition of 6-foot-4 shooting guard Roderick Lawrence.

Lawrence announced on Twitter Monday afternoon he has verbally committed to Ole Miss. He can sign as early as Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period. He joins Memphis, Tenn., forward Marcanvis Hymon, former Florida Atlantic guard Stefan Moody, Estonian forward Rauno Nurger and Miami Springs, Fla., guard J.T. Escobar in the signing class of 2014.

"There were a lot of factors, actually," Lawrence said of his decision to commit to Ole Miss. "I had a good feeling about the coaching staff. I feel like they committed to me when they started recruiting me.

"They had a good belief in me that I can help Ole Miss win the SEC. The coaching staff, they're big on relationships and how much time they put into their players. And I know they can make me a professional. That's the real goal, to become a professional. I know going to Ole Miss I'm going to have the opportunity to become that."

Lawrence, who averaged 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for South Plains last season, visited Ole Miss over the weekend.

"I would say 60, 65 percent," he said of the impact the visit had on his commitment. "Ole Miss was my top school going into that visit. They were kind of on top already, and then going into the visit, it just boosted my opinion even more."

Lawrence started 34 of 35 games for South Plains last season. He shot 39.7 percent from the floor in 31.2 minutes, while knocking down 32.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. He'll have three years to play two at Ole Miss.

Ole Miss was 19-14 a year ago, missing the postseason for only the second time in eight seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade in 2012-13. They also won the SEC tournament.

"We had a player from our school (Henderson) two years ago go to Ole Miss, and he helped take them to the NCAA tournament and they also won the SEC championship," Lawrence said. "That's definitely a school you want to be at. They definitely have a good chance of getting to the NCAA tournament, and everybody wants to play in that tournament."

Lawrence chose Ole Miss over Rhode Island, Creighton and Gonzaga. "Rhode Island was in the lead for a while, to be honest," he said. Gonzaga had yet to offer, but Lawrence said the Bulldogs were supposed to visit this week.

Now, though, the recruiting process is over, and Lawrence is eyeing a starting job.

"(Kennedy) told me he was recruiting me to become a starter, start at the three, and that I'm going to play valuable minutes and be one of the leaders on the team," he said. "He said he wanted to recruit a player who had experience, knowing I played JUCO for two years. I've learned a little bit about the college basketball game and how different it is than high school. I'll be able to come in and play immediately."


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