The Rebels, 5-2 on the season with a road trip to Massachusetts up next, are set to potentially add freshman guard Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey and veteran forward Terry Brutus to the roster in the next few weeks.
Fitzpatrick-Dorsey was ruled ineligible prior to the start of the fall semester and enrolled in Elev8 prep school in Florida. Brutus, who sat out last season following foot and knee surgeries, has been sidelined with an ankle injury suffered in the summer.
“He’s still not back,” head coach Andy Kennedy said of Brutus. “He’s been cleared to the next phase. He’s conditioning now, he’s doing a lot of stuff in the pool, on the elliptical, on-court stuff. But he’s not been cleared for contact. Our hope would be similar to around Donte. We’re probably another two weeks away before they say ‘OK, he’s cleared for contact.’ We’ll throw him right in and see what we can get.”
Brutus is going on almost two full seasons without any real game action to speak of. He tore his ACL in 2013-14 and missed the year, receiving a redshirt. He was handed another redshirt as a junior when he played in just two games. He played in 27 games as a freshman, averaging 1.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.4 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game.
He shot 64 percent from the floor (16 of 25) and pulled down 47 rebounds in 245 total minutes. He collected 38 boards in SEC play.
“He practiced this summer, and then he had the setback,” Kennedy said. “It’d be unrealistic to think we could throw him right in with all of these changes. He has been in the program a number of years, he has an understanding and he’s around every day to watch. His conditioning is going to suffer. Small steps with him and Donte. Once we get them back all clear, the hope is they’ll be ready to be inserted late-December, early-January.”
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, of Melrose High School in Memphis, Tenn., was a widely-coveted high school standout. He chose Ole Miss over offers from, among others, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Memphis.
He re-signed with Ole Miss in November.
“The hope is that he finishes up his academic requirements this week,” Kennedy said. “We’re hoping to get a really quick turn and get him through from standardized testing, the ACT has to do what it has to do. The NCAA Clearinghouse has to do what they have to do. Internally he’s already been admitted, and he’s already been in classes at Ole Miss. I don’t think that’s an issue. The earliest he’d be available is at the end of our first academic semester, which would be a week from this Friday when the last final is administered on campus. That would be the earliest, which would be SEMO the following Saturday. He’s probably not going to be in a uniform that day. My hope is we can have him on board the following week - Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Troy - prior to the Christmas break. My hope is he would be available, but more realistically, just to get him in practice and to get up to speed. We’ll have a Christmas break, but we’ll try to use that time to try and get him caught up as quickly as possible leading up to SEC play.”
Fitzpatrick-Dorsey actually arrived at Ole Miss in the summer and enrolled in classes. While he didn’t get one-on-one work with Kennedy and his staff, he was able to get somewhat familiar with his surroundings, which Kennedy said could benefit Fitzpatrick-Dorsey in getting on the court as soon as possible.
“I think it helps him to be more comfortable just with the general setting of Ole Miss and the way we do things,” Kennedy said. “He has been through limited practices. It’d be unrealistic to believe he’d come in here and immediately be able to pick up. But he does have a skill-set that we need. He’s another body, he’s an active body. He’s a guy that plays with a great deal of energy, so when we do try to implement him into game situations, I’ve got to be smart in just giving him a small sample size of maybe creating a package he’s comfortable with so we can get some minutes out of him.
“I think he’s a point guard. I don’t know if he can be a point primarily, but I think he’s a guy who can play some point guard for us. With moving (Stefan) Moody to the one, there’s so many different things that we’re doing, and it does lead to confusion. But unfortunately, you’ve got to know it from all spots, because if you want to play with (Moody), he’s playing 35 minutes. There are going to be time he plays off the ball. You have to have the ball. I like what I see with (Moody) at point, especially defensively. That’s why we made the move. His on-ball defense has been very good.”