I know it's not totally this way, but here's what I think happened.
Guess I'd better tell you where I'm coming from first.
Earlier this week I was at the basketball offices. The two programs have the same lobby, so you can see what's going on in both areas. Let me just say this. It was busy.
While I was waiting on Andy Kennedy for an interview, Bill Armstrong, director of men's hoops operations, came in the door. With him was a person I hadn't met. It was new men's hoops administrative assistant Robi Coker.
Coker is another one of the new staffers with Alabama ties. He's a Jacksonville State alum. More on Coker and his arrival on the scene in a future story.
So back to my original statement about what happened.
Armstrong and Coker asked if we'd been busy. I said yes and completed my reasoning like this.
"Because everybody at Ole Miss has decided to win."
That's "what's happened."
Yes I know coaches before them wanted to win. But it's a different day in those offices now. We obviously get an opportunity to interview the head coaches and spend a little time with them so we can write stories for you. Key words – little time.
They're so busy these days. Not a day goes by that something doesn't happen, it seems.
In less than a week's time around July 1, Kennedy added two players for the future – David Huertas and Eniel Polynice. I don't know if there have ever been two players of that quality for Ole Miss men's basketball added in one summer. Key finds there.
At the same time Mike Bianco in baseball was having to replace his two fulltime assistants, and he was able to do so fairly quickly with Kyle Bunn moving up and Rob Reinstetle moving in. And also Carl Lafferty moved up, which still leaves the administrative position to be filled by Bianco. He says that's coming in the next couple of weeks or so.
All major moves for those two important and visible programs, and all of it coming in midsummer.
Different day here now and in college sports.
Bottom line, and you can look across the board at this one, everybody in the SEC has decided to win in every sport. And they are putting the resources into those programs to get it done. So it makes for a situation like we see every day out on campus at Ole Miss. Constant activity.
Coaches here know if they want to succeed it has to be that way now. And they're succeeding.
In baseball we're already seeing it, as we are in women's basketball. In men's hoops and football, it can't be far behind with the effort being given and the talent being assembled.
As for the upcoming hoops teams, Kennedy's players have been scattered here and there this summer. Some of the players came in for first semester of summer school then left, while others came in for second semester who weren't here first term.
Justin Cerasoli, who is projected to be a major player for the Rebels after sitting out last season, does have an injured hand, as was rumored by some. It is expected that the 6-foot-5 point guard will be ready for the season and will likely be fine by the start of practice in mid-October. It was a setback for him and the team, but all signs point to him being ready, which is a good thing for the Rebels of 2006-07.
Rodney Jones, the 6-4 freshman guard from Louisiana, was here first semester of summer school. Would like to have talked to him and gotten an interview. Ole Miss' interpretation of the NCAA ruling on newcomers is that we have to wait until the first day of class in late August. So we'll do that.
Andy Ogide, 6-8 freshman forward from Georgia, is here second semester summer school. See paragraph above.
Polynice and Huertas will be here in August, as will 6-8 juco transfer power forward Kenny Williams.
On the women's side, all five Lady Rebel signees have qualified and are here – 5-9 guard Alliesha Easley from Briarcrest in Memphis, 6-4 center Daphnee Frieson of Vigor, Ala., 5-11 guard Elizabeth Robertson from Vestavia Hills in Birmingham, 5-7 guard Bianca Thomas of Chester County, Tenn., and 5-4 guard Shantell Black of Collins Hills, Ga.
That's a large and important group of incoming freshmen to continue the resurgence of Lady Rebel basketball under Carol Ross and crew.
Obviously one of the big questions from those who follow Lady Reb hoops concerns Juanita Ward, the 6-foot high school All-American guard from Jackson who didn't qualify last year and went the juco route. Not sure if she will ever wear red and blue at Ole Miss. The hope is, of course, that she will. But all things considered at this point, that appears to be a question with no answer.
Summer almost as busy as winter now
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