Senior Day

Senior Day for any sport has over the years become a big deal most places. For the 100th season of Ole Miss men's basketball, two players will be honored on Saturday.

They aren't starters and have played limited roles in games the past few seasons. But Patrick Spach and Ryan Brown have stayed with the program through it all, and Saturday before the Mississippi State game, the program and its fans will show their appreciation.

Spach, from nearby Memphis, joined the program out of Briarcrest Christian School as a freshman under the former coaching staff. Four years later he said he has appreciated what it's meant to him.

"My experience here has been very fun, very interesting, a lot of adversity," he said. "But I'm very thankful to everybody for the opportunity to play basketball at Ole Miss. It's been a blast. The fans are great and have gotten better. It's sad it's coming to an end, but hopefully we'll keep playing as long as we can."

Spach, who had to step up even more this season with the injuries that plagued the team, always hoped he'd get a chance to be a part of a major college program.

"I dreamed of playing college basketball since I was four years old playing in the driveway," he said. "I just wanted the opportunity to be a part of it, a part of the journey and to contribute however possible. It's been a blessing in my life."

Spach said he believes Ole Miss basketball can become an even bigger part of Rebel athletics. He sees that happening with the current regime.

"For the program, it's really taken strides as far as upgrades to the coliseum, the practice facility, and the fan support," Spach said. "People are starting to catch on to basketball around here. These guys deserve it. Coach (Kennedy) deserves it."

Spach said he sees the team getting better and better, and he belives big things are in store in the future.

"The young guys are characters," he said. "They're starting to get it, playing harder and learning the scouting part. They're understanding the mental aspect of the game better. They'll be really good next year and I'm happy for them. It hurts that I won't be here with them."

Spach even gives his assessment of the freshmen.

"Terrico White, you can go on and on about him. He's a heck of a player. Terrance Henry needs to hit the weight room and he knows that. He'll be allright. Will Bogan has stepped up and is showing on the court what he's shown in practice. He can hit the jump shot. Murphy Holloway. Ten rebound man. He plays hard. He's grasping the aspect of playing hard, definitely."

Brown joined the Rebel program after transferring to Ole Miss from Colorado State.

"It's been a good experience," said the Texarkana, Texas, native. "It's a lot more bigtime conference than Colorado State was. It's been great. I'll miss it."

Brown said he, too, has enjoyed being around a team with so many younger players who are obviously talented.

"It's been cool being one of only two seniors," he said. "The younger guys didn't know what it takes. So it's been fun to watch them grow and realize they'll be really good next year because they've had to go through all this adversity. We've seen them grow throughout the season from making stupid mistakes to realizing you have to play hard every play.

"They've put in a ton of work, watched hours of film. We lost all those guys (to injuries), so they've had to work extra hard in practice because there aren't those other guys there to sub them out. It's a lot of work."

Brown said he had to learn what those players had to learn, and it takes time.

"You have to learn how to play physical," Brown said. "In a league like this you have to bang every game and every day in practice. When you get here, it's a big adjustment."

Brown adjusted, stayed the course, and now has much to look back on positively.

"It's been a good life experience," he said, "and I've enjoyed it."

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