Freshman has fabulous night

Chris Warren walked out of the Ole Miss lockeroom with a neon green lollipop in his mouth and a modest understatement to describe his first outing as a Rebel.

In response to someone saying it wasn't a bad night. "No it wasn't," the freshman answered correctly and abruptly. He was correct. It wasn't bad at all.

Warren received a starting nod for his inaugural night in front of a crowd at Tad Smith Coliseum and backed up the decision with 17 points on five-of-nine shooting, including three-for-three from behind the arc and a perfect four free throw attempts. The diminutive guard dished out nine assists to five giveaways, but the quintet of turnovers was the first thing mentioned.

"It was good except for the turnovers," Warren said. "I have to get better at that before SEC play happens after Christmas. It was all solid, but we still have things to work on."

On a night when Ole Miss toppled Delta State 110-65, points were far from an issue and growing pains never appeared. Warren was a top performer with 25 minutes of running the Rebel offense and helped push a four-point advantage into a 68-32 halftime lead.

"He has a chance to be the real deal," Coach Andy Kennedy said. "He showed some of that tonight. He is young and doesn't even know what he is doing half the time. But he does have that extra gear we need."

Warren weaved in and out of traffic and made solid decisions against the overmatched opponent. His speed and shooting ability stood out on a night with many stars. Enough of an impression has been made that Kennedy sent Warren to the line to take the team's foul shots after the Statesmen's coach received a technical.

"When we were warming up, I wasn't hitting anything," Warren said. "I figured it would go away and it did. I was ready when game time started. It got a few butterflies out of my stomach."

Dropping in shots from outside was the constant for Warren, but one field goal closer to the basket made for the majority of conversation. Following a turnover with four minutes remaining in the game, the 5-11, 170-pound point guard transitioned and finished the break with a slam. It drew the loudest ovation on the evening.

"I knew he was going to dunk on the fast break," Terrance Watson said of Warren. "I just wanted to see the expression on the fans' faces. I've seen him take it between his legs before. He has like more than a 40-inch vertical leap. It is crazy. He is lightning quick and can stroke it."

Those attributes were apparent on Warren's opening night. Now, the only thing is to mirror the performance when the regular season begins next Saturday against Mississippi Valley State.

"Getting out here against these guys is better than playing against ourselves in practice," Warren said. "We feel really good about ourselves. I did pretty well."

Again the modesty.

Except from his game.

That was loud and clear.

OM Spirit Top Stories