With Jermey Parnell, Dwayne Curtis and Kenny Williams - the bulk of the Rebel rebounding the past two or three years - now graduated, the Rebel basketball team needed to find a mature power player or two to fill in the inside scoring and rebounding gaps.
Last weekend, 6-9, 245-pound DeAundre Cranston visited Ole Miss and left impressed with the Rebel program and the role he would fill.
He inked with the Rebels today.
"It was the family atmosphere that got me," said Cranston. "Everyone was just so close. The coaches shot straight with me. They told me if I came in and worked hard I could get playing time and maybe even start. The other schools I was interested in told me I would start no matter what. I liked the honest approach.
"I also saw an opportunity to play, if I do the right things and adjust quickly, because Ole Miss graduated three post players this year and is young in their frontcourt."
Cranston, who played the past two years at Daytona Beach Community College, was also being heavily sought by Kansas State and Auburn and had committed to Butler earlier before opening his recruitment back up about three weeks ago after a change of heart.
DeAundre, an Orlando (Maynard Evans HS) native, made All-Conference for two years and All-State for one year in the Florida JUCO ranks.
As a freshman, he averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds per outing. As a sophomore, he averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds a game.
"I can score it and I can rebound it, but I have to get stronger and I will have to adjust to the speed of the game quickly on a higher level," he explained. "I like the style of basketball Ole Miss plays. I like to get up and down the court and play a fast-paced game. That's the style I played in during high school and am anxious to get back to that."
Cranston has three years to play two eligibility-wise, but don't look for him to get a redshirt. The Rebels need rebounding, inside scoring and maturity immediately and the hope is DeAundre will provide a big chunk of that.
Reb hoops inks 'big man'
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