One Man's Opinion

The Rebel hoops team is lacking two major components. Those ingredients have shown up in the end results. Read about it inside.

It seems to me the problems of Ole Miss basketball were made obvious in the Auburn game.

The Rebels play reasonably decent defense. Their size is adequate. I don't think coaching is a problem.

What they don't have is quickness. There's a difference between being fast and being quick. Quickness gives you a half step on the opponent, both offensively and defensively. There isn't any quickness on this team. Which leads to problem number two.

There also isn't a single player who's got what in basketball we call "moves." The go-to guy who can fake an opponent out of his Nikes and get the crucial basket when you desperately need it. The team leader everyone else looks to in moments of desperation. He's the player who can get the ball away from the outside the minute it touches his hands and the same one who can grab a rebound and put it up and in before his opponents can react.

Against Auburn the Rebs hit only 25% of their three-point attempts. There isn't a three-point shooter out there an opponent has cause to fear.

Dwayne Curtis is plainly the Rebel's best player. But he is physical not clever. He'll battle an opponent under the boards but he doesn't have moves. If Ole Miss had that kid up front, the leader with moves, Curtis would be substantially more effective. He can get his team 15 to 20 points but he's not going to get 30. And as was proven the other night this team needs a scorer. Or have you forgotten that when the game was tied 52-52 with 5:54 to play the Rebels missed 11 consecutive shots, scored only two points in that amount of time and lost by four?

There's another thing that bothers me. Coach John Vaught always said he recruited Mississippi the hardest because when a game was on the line Mississippi kids playing for Ole Miss would play harder because the game meant more to them. Home state pride.

The 2006 Rebel basketball team doesn't have one single player who calls Mississippi his home state. Not one. Four are from Arkansas. Three call Illinois home. Two are Alabama kids. Three played their high school ball in Tennessee. One hails from Kentucky and one from Indiana.

With all the fine players produced in our state we've been unable to recruit even one. May I mention our best years were when we had the players from Jackson Provine. When they left, so did our ability to win rather than lose.

Some people will argue the Rebels need a big man to play the middle. Yes, it would be nice to have a 6-11 or a 7-0 but in today's basketball Ole Miss is big enough to be competitive. Curtis is 6-8, so is Jeremy Parnell. Marquis Young and Xavier Hansbro are both 6-9. Trey Hampton and Mike Smith stand 6-7.

What this team needs is a shooter or two or three players with moves, quick hard-to-guard, hard-to-stop moves. Maybe transfer Jason Cerasoli, who is sitting out this year, can provide that next year.

It is deeply troubling to realize that Auburn has won only four conference games of the 14 they have played and two of them have been against Ole Miss.

Basketball is no different than football. What you get is what you've got and what you've got makes up your team.

These are good kids. They play hard. They try hard. But they can't shoot and they aren't quick. Those two sentences are why they are 4-10 in the SEC. Until those problems are solved we're not going to be competitive. Sorry but truth is truth.

One Man's Opinion:

Last year I was overjoyed to see Coolidge Ball honored at the SEC basketball tournament as one of the league's legendary players. He was our first black basketball player and is one of the best players and nicest gentlemen we've ever had wearing the red and blue. I loved broadcasting his games.

Well this year Sean Tuohy will represent Ole Miss at the Tournament. I feel about him the same way I feel about Coolidge—a great player and a real gentleman. I remember when he was signed from New Orleans. Too small, the critics said, couldn't jump, wasn't much of a shooter.

The critics may have been right but they overlooked one of Tuohy's other skills. He could think. His ability to analyze and react led him to a career that produced more assists than anyone else in conference history. Do I need to say he was All-SEC three years and a SEC Academic Honor Roll selection in 1979.

Sean is not only the best point guard we've ever had at Ole Miss he is one of the best basketball players, period.


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