The Rebels closed out their class this week with the signings of David Huertas and Eniel Polynice .
*Many Ole Miss fans did not even know who Eniel Polynice was, much less that he was about to sign with Ole Miss.
The Ole Miss staff certainly knew all about Eniel, and when it was learned that Polynice made a qualifying SAT score, they jumped on him and brought him in for an official visit. All of this was kept low because the Rebels were trying to work behind the scenes so they could get a foot in the door without alerting their competition.
By the time Oklahoma, Southern Cal, N.C. State and South Florida had learned about the news of Eniel's qualifying score, the Rebels were already entrenched with the Polynice family. This could go down as one of Ole Miss' all time gets this late in the game.
All-Time? Tell us how.
Polynice is already being compared by our sources as another Markeith Daniels clone. For you SEC fans, you remember Markeith, one of Auburn's all-time best guards. Daniels just had that "feel" for the game that can not be taught, so does Eniel. Markeith had that big body (6' 5", 200), well, Polynice is 6' 5", 205. Daniels played a little two and three guard before settling in at point for Auburn. Polynice played the 2 and 3 for Booker before he moved to point before the start of his senior season. Our sources believe Eniel is actually a little more pure of a point guard than Markeith.
In the end, Ole Miss could have caught the break it has been looking for when Polynice did not qualify until the 12th hour. Time will tell the tale.
* David Huertas could be one of the missing links for the men's hoop team.
What did the '05/'06 team teach us? They were lacking someone who could put the ball in the hole from beyond 15 feet.
Well Rebel fans, meet David Huertas. He has a scoring mentality and can catch and release with the best of them. In basketball terms, he possesses a "quick draw".
As we have all read, David was considered as one of the top prospects coming out of high school last year. He was offered by the likes of Arizona, Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Indiana, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Virginia, and St. John's before inking with Florida.
The Gators were returning a three years starter at one guard and a likely first round selection at the other. In pursuit of a fresh start, David transferred to Ole Miss.
Huertas' game has been compared to Keith Carter's. He reportedly has a, "quick release...catch and shoot...scoring mentality, big time skills who is just a decent athlete, but his basketball skills make up for his lack of athleticism," by our sources.
I know there are a lot of Rebel fans who would be happy if David was just half of what Keith Carter was, which is one of Ole Miss' all-time greats.
*Rumors have run rampant that Kenny Williams was not going to qualify out of St. Petersburg CC.
Not true, according to our sources. Kenny is on track to qualify and is expected to shell out some serious minutes this season.
Williams could be another missing link for Ole Miss' squad. We mentioned that one thing we knew Ole Miss was lacking last season was a pure shooter, but they also lacked a rugged inside presence, as Dwayne Curtis was felt more on the offensive side of the ball than defense.
Kenny is a burly 6' 8", 240 pound power forward/center prospect. He originally signed with Auburn out of high school, but that was to play football for the Tigers, not basketball. Strangely enough, Williams failed to qualify and ends up playing basketball in junior college rather than basketball.
Needless to say, Kenny brings that "football mentality" to the hard court and will scratch and claw for any rebound that comes off of the rim. One source stated he has that "Ben Wallac" (Pistons center who recently signed with the Bulls) presence on the court. Williams has that knack of knowing where the ball is coming off of the rim and will simply go get it. Another key part to his game is the ability to get the offensive rebound and put it back in the hole.
How long has it been since the Rebels were in the plus side of the rebound column for the season?
Without looking at the books, I would say it was when they were on their NCAA streak.
The all important evaluation period starts tomorrow and look for two Rebel assistant coaches to be "out on the town".
Coach Owen Miller arrived at the ABCD camp in New Jersey today to keep an eye on one of their key targets for the '08 class, Romero Osby.
As we reported a few weeks back, the 6' 8", 225 pound power forward out of N' East Lauderdale (MS), broke his wrist and will not be able to participate at the camps this summer. But the Rebels want Romero to know that they will be with him through rain or shine, so they will make their presence known. Expect Ole Miss to follow Osby around from coast to coast from here on out.
Coach Michael White is still responsible for the Memphis area, which he was given when he joined the Rod Barnes staff almost three years ago. Memphis will send several of their top AAU teams to the Adidas camp in Atlanta. Coach White arrived in "Hot Lanta" on Wednesday night. He will leave Atlanta to the Reebox tournament and will settle in Little Rock for the AAU National 16 & under tournament in two weeks.
There were many questions surrounding Coach Orgeron's recruiting abilities when he was hired at Ole Miss. Coach Orgeron was thought of as one of the top recruiters in the country by several outlets, but the Ole Miss doubters stated that anyone could recruit to Miami or USC. Coach Orgeron came in with both barrels loaded and landed Ole Miss' first Top 15 class this past year in many moons.
Now we are hearing the same things about Coach Kennedy.
Coach Kennedy was described by Scout.com's national basketball recruiting analyst, Dave Telop, as "one of the elite recruiters in the country", but some Ole Miss doubters say that he was recruiting for Cincinnati while earning that reputation. Who can't recruit to Cinci, they claim.
Well folks, what I am seeing in Coach Kennedy are the same qualities I see in Coach Orgeron. Both come in with a national reputation not because of the school they recruited for, but rather because of their passion for recruiting.
Lets go back to Andy's press conference:
"Recruiting is the lifeblood of your program. The top three things to be successful are recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Ive said this several times and I told Pete this seven times, so Pete just laugh like you havent heard it. Ive been a recruiting guy. Ive been a trenches guy. Ive been a guy that tries to look under every rock in recruiting. The last six months as the interim head coach, it changed my focus a little bit. I understand that recruiting is the lifeblood. My motto is recruiting is like shaving. If you dont do it every day, youll end up looking like a bum. So recruiting is our number one priority, and weve got to make sure we become a very viable entity not only within the state of Mississippi but throughout the southeast.
As I have combed through the national basketball sites and magazines, the thing that has jumped out at me is the number of national recruits for the '07, '08&'09 classes who are mentioning Ole Miss as one of their favorites or schools that are interested in them.
I remember saying the same thing shortly after Coach Orgeron was hired.
Lots more "Ole Miss'" on those blue chip lists.
Soon they went from being one of the schools in the "mix" to the ones who were signing their share.
We hear that the Rebels will sign anywhere from 3 to 4 players this season.
The focus will be on guards and a center.