Ole Miss basketball added some much-needed size to its front court Saturday morning, landing a commitment from 2016 junior college forward Tyrek Coger. Coger, of Cape Fear Community College, visited campus Friday.
“Tyrek said he felt really comfortable on the campus,” Cape Fear assistant coach John Lattimore said. “They showed him around, and he loved the facilities. He loved everything they had to offer.”
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Coger is a shot in the arm for an Ole Miss team that will be in need of front-court help following the 2015 season. Ole Miss will graduate a pair of 6-foot-9 forwards, Anthony Perez and Tomasz Gielo, next year, and the Rebel roster is short on true fives outside of rising junior Sebastian Saiz. Terry Brutus and Marcanvis Hymon could potentially be described as such, but neither player is taller than 6-6. Dwight Coleby transferred to Kansas in May.
Enter Coger, a Raleigh, N.C., product, who prior to junior college was long committed to Missouri. He considered Georgetown, Virginia Commonwealth, North Carolina State, Memphis and Virginia Tech before opting for junior college and East Florida State. He played in 27 games and shot 48.5 percent from the floor. He transferred to Cape Fear last year and sat out due to academic reasons.
“He came into us last year a little bit on the heavier side,” Lattimore said of Coger, who Ole Miss made a priority in for its 2016 class. “He’s worked really hard and gotten into really good shape, and he’s gotten a lot more athletic because of it.
“Tyrek is the type of player who has a really good frame. He’s really hard-nosed and a high-motor player. You don’t see that often with a 6-9, 240 kid. He plays really hard all the time, and he rebounds really well on both ends of the floor. He’s got great touch around the basket, too.”
Happy to be part of the #Olemiss family.— Hungry and Humble (@Tyrek_coger) June 13, 2015
Coger is good friends with current Ole Miss guard Rasheed Brooks. Brooks, himself a former junior college standout, signed with the Rebels in November.
While on his visit, sources indicate Coger was able to play some pick-up basketball with a few current players. He impressed with his rebounding and ability to step out and hit 3-point shots.
“It’s a university that seems so committed to winning, but he really liked the family environment and family setting that (Ole Miss head) coach (Andy) Kennedy has surrounded him with,” Lattimore said. “He felt comfortable with the players, and he dealt with the academic people and they seemed to really have a good plan set forth for him to graduate and be successful.”
Coger is but another example of Ole Miss identifying major-impact junior college players and locking them in before any other school, with Coger joining the likes of All-SEC point guard Stefan Moody, Brooks and many more. Moody was an All-SEC first team selection last season, his first of two at Ole Miss.
Lattimore said Coger was scheduled to participate in the Mullen’s JC Top 100 Camp, widely regarded as the best camp for rising junior college sophomores. The camp, held in July and headed by renowned junior college scout Jerry Mullen, is invitation only and provides a showcase for the best uncommitted junior college prospects.
Ole Miss, however, got out in front of his recruitment. Kennedy and staff visited Coger as early as last season and seemingly never looked back.
“Ole Miss did a really good job of identifying him,” Lattimore said. “They saw him out of high school, so obviously he’s been on the radar for a while. They jumped on him and got it done. Ole Miss wanted to be proactive, and Ty was obviously happy for it. He’s really excited.”
Ole Miss was 21-13 last season, the Rebels reaching the NCAA tournament and advancing for the second in three seasons. Their season came to an end against Xavier in the second round in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Ole Miss is getting a really good player,” Lattimore said. “An impact player on both ends of the court.”