The Rebels landed a commitment from Memphis graduate transfer guard Markel Crawford late Wednesday. Crawford joins Jones County Junior College forward Bruce Stevens as the second addition for Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy and staff in the spring signing period that runs from April 12 until May 17. Crawford is eligible to play immediately. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
The 6-foot-5, 208-pound Crawford averaged 12.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season. He shot 48 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3 as the Tigers’ second-leading scorer. He’s scheduled to graduate next month.
Crawford had no shortage of interest from prospective schools after he announced his decision to transfer from Memphis April 10. Along with Ole Miss, Texas, South Carolina and Iowa State were heavily involved, while others were in the mix as well.
“We are excited to add Markel to our program,” Kennedy said. “We recruited him years ago when he was coming out of Melrose in Memphis, and this time we were successful. Markel is a warrior. He is a versatile guard capable of playing either backcourt position. He is big, strong and athletic with the ability to make plays both on the offensive and defensive ends. He was a heavily-coveted post-grad transfer whom we've played against the last two years. We're looking forward to having him in a Rebel uniform next season.”
Ole Miss had a scholarship open. The Rebels signed three players in the fall signing period, led by Jamarko Pickett and Devontae Shuler, who checked in at No. 51 and No. 97, respectively, in the final Scout.com 2017 Top 100 player rankings. The third signee, Parker Stewart, was rated a three-star prospect. Ole Miss signed the No. 16 overall class in the country according to 247Sports.com, which stands as the highest-ranked class in school history.
“Adding Bruce was a big get for us,” Kennedy said. “You’re talking about a kid at 6-foot-8, upwards of 250 right now. He’s a guy that brings a skill-set we were sorely lacking from last year’s team in his ability to stretch the floor out to 3. He’s also a very good back-to-the-basket scorer.
“We signed three kids early that we’re very, very excited about, two Top 100 four-star guys and a third guy in Parker Stewart who if he was more on a national radar, he’s a four-star talent. We’re really excited about those guys, and those guys all had great years. Adding Bruce with the size, with the experience, with the skill-set, I think it enhances our roster.”
Crawford scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in a loss to Ole Miss Dec. 3. He’s one of six Memphis players to leave the program since the end of the 2016-17 season. He scored 20 points in an overtime win over Oklahoma, 28 in a win against Final Four participant South Carolina and 30 in a win over South Florida.
Ole Miss finished 22-14 last season, its season coming to an end in the quarterfinals of the NIT. The Rebels graduated decorated senior forward Sebastian Saiz, who set a number of school records over his career, but 7-foot Drake transfer Dominik Olejniczak stands in waiting to replace him after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.