Cranston ready to learn system, make impact

DeAundre Cranston arrived at Ole Miss for second semester of summer school. He's pleased to finally be settled in and looks ahead to his first season of Division I basketball.

"I'm just trying to adjust to everything right now," said the 6-foot-9, 245-pound inside player. "There are a lot of differences from what I'm used to."

That includes class, basketball, and locale. Cranston is an Orlando native and went to junior college in nearby Daytona Beach Community College.

But he hopes the fact that he has played a couple of JUCO years will pay off for him as he tries to step in to help replace the losses of Dwayne Curtis, Kenny Williams, and Jermey Parnell.

"I believe that's the case," said Cranston, who earned All Mid-Florida Conference honors both of his junior college years and was named All-State this past season. "But some of the other guys (freshmen Will Bogan, Terrico White, and Terrance Henry) have a jump on me since they were here first semester. They know more about the game speed since they have played against some of the players who were already here. I'm just trying to get the system down now that I'm here."

Cranston averaged 12.3 points per game as a sophomore at Daytona Beach CC along with 10.8 rebounds. As a freshman he scored am average of 10.9 points and hauled down 10.7 boards.

Cranston also excelled in the classroom at DBCC, making the Dean's List with a 3.0 GPA.

He was set to go to Butler University, a strong program and an NCAA Tournament regular, in Indianapolis but said it was too far from home. Ole Miss got into the picture and Cranston felt this was the place he needed to be.

The Rebels have become quite a recruiting force in the central and south Florida areas. Williams is from there. Eniel Polynice is as well. David Huertas had played at Florida before joinng the Rebs.

Cranston had attended Evans High School in Orlando. He knew current Rebel point guard Chris Warren, who prepped at rival Dr. Phillips High School.

"We played against each other," Cranston said, "so I was familiar with him and that he was up here."

Now that Cranston is here, it's all about getting better and taking his game to another level to help his new team.

"First and foremost I want to keep my rebounding numbers up," said Cranston, who ranked among the top three Florida junior college players in that category. "That's been one of my strengths. And I want to play hard every second I'm on the floor.

"The most challenging thing for me so far here is the footwork part, trying to catch it and reverse pivot, things like that. That's tough for me right. But I know I'll get it down."

He's already comfortable at Ole Miss, but he knew that would be the case all along.

"I like the environment here," he said. "When I came here on my visit, there were a whole lot of people who already knew who I was. I didn't even have to introduce myself. They were like ‘That's DeAundre Cranston.' That made me feel at home."

He'll also feel at home when the Rebels head back to Florida for a tournament this season. Ole Miss is scheduled to play in an early-season tourney in Daytona Beach.

"That'll be fun," he said. "I'll have a lot of people there. I'm really looking forward to it."

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