Your Vote Counts

John Stroud, the all-time leading scorer in Ole Miss men's hoops history and still listed third all-time in SEC men's basketball scoring, gets one of my votes. Let's see, I get 10.

OK, Ansu Sesay, the SEC Player of the Year who helped lead the Rebels to back-to-back SEC West titles and two NCAA tourney appearances, gets another. That leaves me with eight.

Hmmmm. How about Country Graham? The Rebels' first basketball All-American. That's one more of my votes.

Obviously I am not doing this by secret ballot. But I will stop there. Don't want to sway your voting any further.

There are a lot of eligible and worthy candidates for the All-Century team for Ole Miss men's basketball. And you get to help pick the team. Here's how.

The Ole Miss athletics department is asking fans to help determine the honorees by voting online at OleMissSports.com. Click the All-Century Team link at the top right of the page.

The list of nominees includes any Rebel that earned All-SEC honors or scored 1,000 or more points in his career. Voting opened Wednesday and ends Jan. 31 at midnight.

Fans must limit their selections to 10 and are asked to submit online only one ballot per person.

The top 10 fan vote-getters will be guaranteed a spot on the Rebels' All-Century team. The athletics department will determine any remaining members of the squad after consultation with the M-Club Alumni Chapter.

The celebration of the First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball will culminate with the unveiling of the All-Century Team at the Feb. 21 game against Georgia in Oxford.

It's no secret that Ole Miss doesn't necessarily have a storied men's basketball past. The first postseason tournament for the Rebels, back when Stroud was a senior, was the NIT in 1980. An NCAA Tournament bid followed the next season after Ole Miss claimed the 1981 SEC Tournament crown in Birmingham.

Before those two special years and since, there have been many individuals who have played a big part in some memorable games and seasons for Ole Miss men's basketball, several of them NCAA Tournament campaigns. The challenge to win and sustain high-level success in the sport of men's basketball has been a part of the equation throughout the 100-year span.

From the days of an outdoor, open-air pavilion home to the old gym from 1930 through 1965 (which is now renovated Martindale Hall on campus) to the era of C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum, the Rebels have played the sport of men's basketball.

The first major modern-era push for men's basketball at Ole Miss came back in 1976 after Indiana won the NCAA Championship, at 32-0 the last undefeated team to do so. Ole Miss AD John Vaught along with incoming AD Warner Alford named one of Hoosier head coach Bob Knight's assistants, Bob Weltlich, to lead the Rebels.

Even since then, the program hasn't always been at the top of its game. But the Weltlich hire made a statement that Ole Miss was moving, along with most programs in the Southeastern Conference, toward a more competitive future on the hardwood.

For 100 years Rebel teams have tipped it off and attempted to bring sports glory to Ole Miss. Sometimes they've succeeded. Sometimes they've failed. But all of the teams had important people involved, many who have remained loyal to their alma mater, all of them with experiences to remember and stories to tell.

Let the voting begin.


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