Kennedy: 'We had our moments'

Ole Miss and Tulane scrimmaged Saturday. Andy Kennedy said he saw a mixed bag from his troops.

"We had our moments," said Kennedy, whose team plays an exhibition game at Tad Smith Coliseum Friday at 6 p.m. against Auburn-Montgomery.

The fourth-year UM head coach said while the play wasn't flawless, the will to get things accomplished was apparent.

"I was really pleased with our effort first and foremost, and I've said that from day one," he said. "Our effort has never lacked. Our execution, our attention to detail, our understanding our job and doing our job. Obviously those things are still a work in progress."

Kennedy said the scrimmage against the Green Wave gave the coaches a chance to see their team in action against another D-I foe and what aspects need work.

"We tried different lineups and we went with different scenarios," he said. "And you get about two or three hours of tape that you can really teach and learn. For us it was at a perfect time. We were two weeks in (official practice) with two weeks to go."

Only one moment was scary, and it turned out to be short-term, it appears.

"The only downside from Saturday was Chris(Warren) tweaked his ankle early and didn't play," Kennedy said of the Rebels' junior point guard. "One of the things we were looking forward to was for him to get some game action. That was the only downside, but it was minor."

Once again, the Rebels were able to fill in at that position with players like Terrico White and Will Bogan who had experienced the same roles last season.

"That's one thing right now we don't have an issue with," Kennedy said. "We've got a number of guys who can lead our attack. I just hated it for (Chris) because I wanted him to get those game-time reps against someone other than ourselves."

Kennedy said offensively the Rebels weren't at the top of their game.

"I was looking at some of the numbers we tabulated, and a couple of our guys didn't shoot the ball very well," he said. "But some of them were guys who hadn't played against anybody (at this level) other than themselves."

As for the inside players?

"Inconsistent," he said of DeAundre Cranston, Terrance Henry, Murphy Holloway, Reginald Buckner, DeAngelo Riley and Kevin Cantinol. "But we had flashes."

Kennedy said the two new post Rebels – freshman Buckner and junior Riley – did some good things.

"They had their moments," he said. "Reg continues to get better and is going to grow with each and every opportunity to play. Physically he's got the skill set to help us, and we need him to help us. I think DeAngelo would be the first to admit that the speed of the game and the instensity of the game is a whole different level. You can tell someone that, but they have to go through it. He'll grow into that. But I've been pleased with their effort and attitude."

Holloway said it was good to be on the floor playing another team.

"We were able to see where we stand, playing a different team, different competition," said the sophomore forward. "We still need more work. I feel we played good defense. We still need more work on offense."

Henry said it was helpful to see another team on the opposite bench just to make the Rebels aware of where they need to go from here.

"It was good," the sophomore said. "It opened our eyes to show that we need to work on some things. We did good on some things, but we've got a lot of work to do on execution and communication, just a lot of things like that."

Kennedy said some players have emerged that might be in the mix for a starting role.

"We've got four or five guys that have established themselves that you know are going to be in the action," he said. "Chris Warren and Terrico White are two preseason all-league picks. Eniel Polynice is playing the best basketball of his young career. Trevor Gaskins has been tremendous and brings a dynamic to the team we sorely missed last year from a passionate standpoint. Zach Graham continues to improve. So we've got five guys who have established themselves not only from the past but what they've done since we started practice.

"Murphy Holloway continues to make the improvement we had hoped in year two. Our only senior DeAundre Cranston continues to play his role, and that's an important role for us. So now all of a sudden you've got seven guys, and then Reginald Buckner, DeAngelo Riley. There's a lot of competition that's still going on for minutes, and that's the way you want it. Hopefully that will continue for the next few weeks."

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