Assist Holloway

Ole Miss hoops, hosting West Virginia at 8 tonight, is looking for a few good men to step up, especially inside. And it will happen. But it hasn't yet.

Malcolm White and DeAundre Cranston, the two big men starters for the Rebels against Morgan State, had a total of four points and five rebounds. That won't do.

They'll both get better as they find their way. But for now some others have to find their way more into the stats column. Murphy Holloway is a candidate.

The versatile and talented freshman has shown flashes of all that he brings to the program. The Rebels need more of that in a hurry.

"I feel like at the beginning of the year, it started off kind of slow for me," said the 6-foot-7, 225-pounder from Irmo, S.C. "I was trying to learn my role on the team. Now I feel like I'm playing better and feel a little more comfortable on the court."

Holloway, a top 75 national recruit last season by basically every poll and outlet in the country, came off the bench in the Rebels' 78-70 win last Saturday and scored seven points. He was 3-for-4 from the floor and 1-for-1 from the free throw line. He had six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 19 minutes.

Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy, whose team is 5-1 while West Virginia is 4-1, says Holloway is a valuable piece of the Rebs' puzzle.

"I want him to bring energy," the third-year UM head coach said. "When Murph comes in, he gets a lot of things done, because he is active and has a nose for the ball. He needs to be able to sustain it longer. He can go on two or three minute increments and I need him to go on five or six minute increments. He's never been asked to do it against the quality players he's going against. There has to be some consistency, and that's what we're searching for."

Holloway said there is obviously some transition from high school to the Division I collegiate level.

"From high school to college, it's the defense that's been the thing (he has had to adjust to the most)," he said. "You have to box out to get defensive rebounds. Hopefully we'll get to defensive rebounding better. We just have to keep working and get better."

Holloway is willing to help however he's needed.

"I feel like my role is whatever is not being done and just to be a basketball player out there and get it done," he said without hesitation.

David Huertas and Chris Warren have carried the Rebels' scoring load so far this season. Holloway, although a newcomer, is confident of what's happening on the team and the progress being made.

"If everybody will just keep doing what they're doing so far, we'll be allright," he said. "There might come a night where David and Chris both get shut down and we need somebody to step up - like Terrico (White) and Terrance (Henry) and all of them. They can fill the role."

So can Murphy Holloway.

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