Rebs sign Polynice

The Ole Miss Rebel basektball team dipped into Florida once again, signing the Sarasota Herald Co-Player of the Year, Point Guard Eniel Polynice to a scholarship today. Polynice led his team to a AAAA State Championship and was the AAAA MVP. Read about it inside.

Rebel Men's Basketball Coach Andy Kennedy continued his assualt on recruiting today when Sarasota (FL) Booker HS standout Point Guard Eniel Polynice signed with the Rebel program.

Polynice is a 6-5 210-pounder who led his high school team to a AAAA state championship last season and was named All-State, the AAAA MVP and the MVP of the state tournament.

"Eniel is an excellent player," said Booker Coach Derrick Kirce, who played for the Georgia Bulldogs in the mid 1980s. "He proved himself time and time again against the best players in the state of Florida.

"He dominated a lot of high school games on raw talent. Once he develops his talent further in a good college program, the sky is the limit."

Polynice, a late academic qualifier who surfaced recently and was "jumped on" by Kennedy and company, visited Ole Miss three weeks ago.

He was also being recruited by North Carolina State, UCF, VCU, Southern Cal and Oklahoma. He had offers from all of them.

Polynice averaged 19 points, 8 boards and 6 assists a game in leading Booker to a 31-3 record.

"Eniel is a very long player. He looks skinny because he plays 6-8 or 6-9 and has a long wing span, but he's not. He has a great body and will be even more productive when he gains 10 good pounds," Kirce continued. "He dominated the state tournament for us.

"Not only did he run our offense, he would usually guard the other team's best player, whether it was a center or a guard, and would shut them down. We played a team whose starting center, who has committed to Florida, scored 15 points in the first quarter on us. I moved Eniel to cover him and the kid didn't get any more points. Eniel just denied him the ball and shut him down. He can also go out and destroy opposing point guards by taking the ball, turning them and wearing them down."

Polynice has, according to Kirce, a tremendous competitive attitude.

"He loves a challenge. No matter what we needed, he always delivered," said Kirce. "If we needed a stop, a basket, an assist, some penetration, a three - Eniel was my guy on a lot of occasions. I also had a three-point shooter who will sign with Florida, but Eniel shot 46% from three-point range for us. He just wouldn't shoot much until we had to have him. He got more satisfaction from setting someone else up than scoring himself. A very unselfish player."

As good as Polynice was defensively, Kirce said we will all marvel in his ball skills.

"I can't tell you how smooth Eniel is. He reminds me of George Gervin in that he doesn't look like he's putting out a lot of effort, but he's blowing by guys or shooting over them or rebounding above the rim," Kirce noted. "He is one of the best penetrator/passers I have seen in a long, long time, and like I said, he's still raw."

Kirce lost four starters off his championship team, but he said he will miss Polynice the most.

"The biggest gap I have to fill is Eniel's because he could just do so much and was so dominant in so many phases of the game - wherever we needed him," Kirce, the head coach at Booker for two years, stated.

"Eniel is willing to do anything to win. And the remarkable thing is that he had the instincts to know exactly what we needed when we needed it. He always got it done.

"I told every coach who came in here to look at him Eniel could have averaged 40 points a game if we had needed him to, but we needed him to run the team and he gladly accepted that role. Against a crosstown rival, they collapsed their defense some and Eniel needed to score to loosen things up. He scored 24 points in the first half. In the state championship game, I needed him to assert himself offensively in the second half to give us a cushion - he scored 12 points in the third quarter. But as I said he liked assisting more than scoring, so I had to just about force him to shoot."

Kirce said Ole Miss will be happy with Eniel Polynice.

"Once he learns the ropes of college basketball, he will be a terrific college player. He may come in and compete for a starting role his freshman year. I wouldn't put it past him," said Kirce.

The Rebels are also expected to sign Florida transfer David Huertas today or tomorrow morning. Huertas committed to the Reb program Friday but is in Puerto Rico playing for the Puerto Rican National Team.

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