Devin's Development

Devin Britton came in as arguably the most celebrated Mississippian ever to play tennis for the Ole Miss Rebels. His maturation in three months has been noteworthy.

The Jackson native turned 18 on March 17. Since he arrived at Ole Miss in January, Britton has gone through quite an adjustment to the college game. This week, for the second time since he got to Oxford, he was named SEC Freshman of the Week.

With the number of extraordinary freshmen who enter the league each season, it's quite a feat to be named that even once.

Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick, whose SEC-leading team hosts No. 13 Kentucky at 4 p.m. Friday and Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. Sunday, said Britton has made great strides already.

"He was only 17 when he got here, and he only arrived in January," said Chadwick, whose team is ranked No. 2 in the country this week behind Virginia. "He had outstanding credentials and accolades. He's made the transition well, and he's done it very quickly."

Britton said the Rebels have so far been able to fight through numerous challenges on their way to leadnig the SEC at this point. Like last Friday at Florida when weather was a factor.

"I've been through rain delays, but that was crazy," he said. "We played an hour and then had a five-hour rain delay. Then played from like 9 to 12 (midnight), and then drove to Orlando after we ate. Then we flew out at 6 in the morning. It was a cool experience to say that we did that."

And it didn't hurt that the Rebels beat both Florida and then South Carolina at home Sunday afternoon.

"There could have been a fatigue factor (Sunday), but I didn't really see it," Britton said. "It was good to win them both."

Britton improved to 6-2 at No. 2 singles with his straight set win over South Carolina's Pedro Campos on Sunday. He said he's adjusted quite a bit since back in January.

"I'm definitely more comfortable in the matches," he said. "In January I was really nervous for each match. I'm just more comfortable in the college matches now. I feel like I'm playing better tennis each day. I'm working hard in practice, and I believe it's showing up on the court in matches. I'm just continuing to build my game and growing in the game."

Chadwick said he's seen the growth and maturity happen rather quickly for Britton and in a number of areas.

"He has a more professional attitude now," the veteran coach said. "He would get flustered earlyon if things didn't go well. He's handling it much better now. He's more consistent in all aspects, and his approach is very good."

The Rebels are 6-0 in the SEC, their best start since the 2004 season.

This marks the fourth SEC weekly honor for Ole Miss this season. Britton also earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors Feb. 17 after clinching both of the Rebels' wins at the ITA National Team Indoor. Freshmen Marcel Thiemann and Otto Sauer have also received the accolade.


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