Latvian big a last-minute addition to five-man Rebel recruiting class

Ole Miss is set to sign five players Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period for college basketball.

And a last-minute addition is among them.

Karlis Silins, a 6-11 forward from Latvia, cast his lot with head coach Andy Kennedy and the Rebels. Silins, the fourth big in the class, averaged 14.8 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game in Latvia's second division last season. He averaging 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds through six games in his final prep season, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 41 percent (9 of 22) from 3. 

"Karlis Silins is a great person,” Arturs Senhofs, Sports Director at Vef Riga Basketball Academy, said. “He’s been one of the good guys on our team. He’s improved greatly from year to year, becoming the starting center of the Latvian under-18 team. He’s achieved great team success, reaching the final stage of the Adidas Next Generation tournament with VEF Riga Basketball Academy, where he competed with Europe's best talent in his age and was one of the best prospects in the tournament. 

“He has great size, great shooting touch and great work ethic - all the necessary qualities to become an elite big man. Hopefully he can follow up the tradition of other great Latvian big men (Andris Biedrins, Kaspars Kambala, Kristaps Porzingis) and show his talents in American basketball.”

An Ole Miss source said Silins could potentially “develop into one of the best bigs Ole Miss has had,” and could end up being “the steal of the class.” He totaled 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in the Adidas Next Generation tournament. 

The second division in Latvia could move up to the top division after Christmas, which means Silins is in line to potentially match up against former Ole Miss forward M.J. Rhett. Rhett is playing professionally for the BK Barons in Riga.

“I believe he will able to play against (SEC competition), NBA prospects, because he has everything to develop his skills, the first of all his character,” Raimonds Feldmanis, head coach of VEF Skola, said of Silins. Feldmanis said Silins was the MVP of the month in the LBL2 last season. He was All-Star 5 of the European Youth Basketball League, and he was recognized as the best center of the International Cholet Mondial Basketball Tournament in France.

“Karlis loves challenges in the paint, and he can be aggressive from penetration and 3-point shots. His new teammates will enjoy his work ethic and good sense of humor.” 

Silins is joined in the class by fellow bigs Tyrek Coger, Justas Furmanavicius and Nate Morris, as well as point guard Breein Tyree.

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