Ole Miss found success with one-year graduate transfers last season, earning its second NCAA Tournament bid in the last three seasons with the help of M.J. Rhett and Terence Smith.
The Rebels hope for more of the same from Liberty transfer Tomasz Gielo.
The 6-foot-9 Gielo, a forward who is eligible to play immediately, announced for Ole Miss Monday. He only played in seven games for Liberty last season after suffering a stress fracture in his foot, though he averaged nearly 11 points and six rebounds as a junior. He knocked down better than 40 percent of his 3s over the past two seasons.
Gielo fills an immediate need for Ole Miss, one of two schools he visited along with Boise State. Kansas State and Marquette were also involved.
The Rebels are dealing with a bit of reshuffling along their front line. Along with departure of Rhett, the Rebels graduated veteran reserve Aaron Jones, and the status of junior Dwight Coleby is in question. Coleby is considering transferring. However, no decision has been made, despite a previous report.
Gielo is expected to slide into the role vacated by Rhett, who started 31 of 34 in his only season. Rhett, a stretch four, averaged 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds. He shined in the NCAA tournament, namely in the Rebels’ “First Four” win over BYU in Dayton, Ohio, when he totaled 20 points on 9 of 11 from the field.
Gielo is the second addition for Ole Miss in the last two weeks and the third in the spring signing period.
Former Miami guard Deandre Burnett announced on Twitter a week ago his intention to transfer to Ole Miss. Burnett, the presumed replacement for Stefan Moody, will have to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. He averaged 7.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in over 17 minutes per game last season. ESPN rated Gielo and Burnett as two of its Top 15 transfers in 2015.
Thought I was gone be a cane forever, but today I'm officially a REBEL!!!!!!!!!— Deandre Burnett (@_DREtheGREAT) May 11, 2015
Howard College guard Sam Finley committed and signed with Ole Miss March 30. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Finley chose the Rebels over Creighton, Tulane, North Carolina Central and Bowling Green, among others. Ole Miss considers Finley, formerly of UC Riverside, a point guard.
He averaged roughly 18 points per game in leading Howard College to a second place NJCAA finish last season. He was named All-Conference.
“Them losing two seniors in the back court that were playing heavy minutes and handling the ball was definitely a drawing point,” Finley said of his decision. “(Ole Miss head) Coach (Andy) Kennedy wanted to bring me in, try to handle the ball, try to provide some scoring and help win games.
“Moody’s going to be doing a lot of scoring next year. He needs somebody to come in there and help them out.”
Ole Miss was 21-13 last season, its season coming to a close with a loss to Xavier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.