Kennedy says Rebs working hard to get better

First-year Rebel head coach Andy Kennedy announced to the crowd of about 500 gathered Friday night that he didn't necessarily like "about 95 percent of what I saw." But he said he liked the way the Rebels are working to get better.

It hasn't helped matters lately that a starter, Dwayne Curtis, was sitting on the sidelines, crutches next to him, awaiting another evaluation of a stress fracture in his foot.

"I had one in high school in my right foot," said the Rebels' junior center, this time suffering one in his left foot. "I think it took me about six to seven weeks to get over it."

At this stage of the game, nobody knows for sure just how long a certain starter for the Rebs will be out of action. And then there's the conditioning part of it.

Say Dwayne is back for UConn or Memphis or SEC play vs. Kentucky in game one of league play. How good a shape will he be in then?

Stay tuned for updates later in the week.

Kennedy refuses to let such things deter the progress of his team and program. He too wishes the squad was always 100 percent healthy all the time.

After years being in basketball, as a player and coach, Kennedy knows setbacks are just a part of it.

"It's that way in anything you do in life," he said.

In June, the Rebels' Justin Cerasoli experienced one of those setbacks with his broken hand. He couldn't do anything in the way of upper body conditioning over the summer, and his lack of being able to go 5 on 5 until mid-October has shown up in intrasquads so far. The 6-foot-5 point guard, who had 7 points and 4 rebounds in Friday night's contest, is not yet as effective as he will be.

So as October heads to November and the Rebels' two exhibition games are close at hand, Kennedy and company continue to prepare.

"We'd already gone two hours earlier today," Kennedy said afterwards. "I think we were probably tired. There was some fatigue. And when you divide up, there are few subs. So we got done what we could."

One thing Kennedy and company wanted the team to get done was to play in front of some fans and get a feel for game-like conditions before the exhibitions.

"I like the fact that they have been so open to what we're doing," he said of his players. "There's been some transition, and they've bought in."

While Curtis is out, juco transfer Kenny Williams and junior center Jermey Parnell are mostly having to step in and step up.

"I've been pleased with all our front-line guys," Kennedy said. "Those two guys and the others are working hard."

Williams had four points, five rebounds; Parnell six and six Friday night.

Clarence Sanders, scoring 35 points in a recent scrimmage, led his team with 11 points. Senior guard Bam Doyne tallied 9 points, while Trey Hampton scored 7. Todd Abernethy added 3 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

Florida transfer David Huertas, who contines to impress although he will have to sit out this season, also had 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. True freshman guard Eniel Polynice had 7 points and 4 rebounds, while another true frosh, Rodney Jones, notched 6 points and 4 boards.

"Our freshmen are still in the headlights," Kennedy said. "They'll continue to have some of that until they get in some more time."

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