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Ole Miss is looking for some inside assistance. Reginald Buckner and DeAngelo Riley have arrived and are willing to do their part.

The Rebels lost Malcolm White through transfer after last season, and center DeAundre Cranston, the Rebels' lone senior, is capable of handling things - but obviously not alone.

Terrance Henry has bulked up a bit, and Murphy Holloway is ready to answer the call. Kevin Cantinol is showing signs of progress.

But the additions of freshman Reginald Buckner and junior college transfer DeAngelo Riley will be an immediate help inside for the Rebels.

"The two new guys to our front court both have the physical capabilities to certainly make an immediate impact," said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. "It's just a matter of how quickly they can learn what we need them to do day in and day out."

Buckner is a 6-foot-8, 233-pounder from Manassas High School in Memphis, Tenn. He was Mr. Basketball in Tennessee's Class A last year and among everybody's top 100 national recruits. He holds the career shot blocks record for high school players in Tennessee.

"It's all going pretty good," Buckner said. "I'm learning new things to get me in the flow. So it's going pretty good."

Buckner admitted the speed of the game is different, and he singled out one player in particular.

"It's tough playing Chris Warren and how fast he is running up and down the floor," he said. "But I think I'm catching on pretty good."

Buckner said he feels he's made a lot of progress in the short time he's been here.

"It was kind of hard, because I didn't know the plays," he said. "But after I learned the plays and my footwork got together, it was easier and came natural."

Buckner said he knows he's going to be expected to block shots, and that is an important part of his game.

"He (Kennedy) said he recruited me to score, rebound, and block shots. So that's what I'm going to do," he said. "(Blocking shots) is just natural for me. It just came to me."

Buckner said he already sees some of what he needs to do to get better now and in the future.

"I see they (veterans) are a lot stronger than I am as a freshman," he said. "But if I get in the weight room and go hard like I have, I'll be allright."

Riley, who played at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, said he is working hard to be able to contribute.

"I'm in the SEC now, so I've got to catch up," he said, checking in at 6-9, 245. "I've got to do more and learn faster than everybody else. I'm getting the hang of it day by day."

Riley said the speed of the game and all that surrounds it has been a bit of a surprise.

"The pace of D-I ball is way faster," he said. "I'm just learning to keep up with these guys."

Riley, who played at Kirby High in Memphis, said he believes he can help right away when called upon given his attributes.

"My size and being a body around the goal and rebounding," he said. "And blocking shots. Those are what I mainly do. I'm pretty good at blocking shots, and I think my hands are OK. So I can catch the ball well."

Riley said Murphy Holloway has caused him the most problems on the court as far as matchups.

"He's fast. For his size and ability, he's awesome," Riley said. "For me being a bigger and kind of slower person, it's been fun to try to catch up and play with him."

Riley said he knows he and Buckner need to help the cause this season for the Rebels to reach their goals. Kennedy has made them aware of that as well.

"He makes it known we're going to have to do it to be successful," Riley said. "We're just out there doing our part."

Kennedy said he's been pleased with the progress of Buckner and Riley so far.

"As a coach, you always worry if you're far enough along," he said. "You don't want to rush it. You want to make sure your foundation is solid. But at the same time you look up and when those games come, they come so quickly that it's hard when you get into a season to make those changes. You want to make sure that foundation is solid.

"I've been really pleased with them. Every day's Ground Hog Day. We'll continue to do a lot of the same drills we've done from day one just to try to establish positive habits."


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