Senior Leadership

Southern Miss has counted on excellent coaching and outstanding leadership to lead college basketball's most inexperienced team to a 15-4 start. One player who may not "wow" on the stat sheet, but who is an integral part of this team is senior Rashard McGill. He talked with about his role and the stretch run ahead for the Eagles.

Southern Miss is off to a great start in Conference USA, rolling off wins against the first 4 conference opponents and 7 in a row overall.

As they prepare for an athletic Marshall team to come rolling into town Wednesday night, Southern Miss took in a tough three hour work-out today.

"Today we worked on a lot of our cut and drive action on our offense, and we worked on entry into the post," senior Rashard McGill said in an afternoon interview with "We also went through some offensive sets and new stuff that we put in.

"We always focus on defense and we went over schemes and what we might see from Marshall in a few days."

The Eagles have won 7 in a row, and couldn't have a better start in the conference. McGill said the good start all boils down to one thing.

"It just comes down to everyone buying in," he said. "That's the reason for our success, we are all on the same plane and pulling for one another. This is a team, and a collective unit that always works together."

McGill alluded to the success on their home court lately, and he says the players have been feeding off playing in front of the home crowd at Reed Green.

"The crowd has been unbelievable, I just love our fans," he said. "They have been so supportive of us this season and we need them to continue winning at home.

"The atmosphere has been great. It always gives us something to look forward to and we love to play in front of our fans."

McGill is the type of player that any coach would want, because he is always putting team ahead of self. He does things that don't show up in the stat sheet but help the team in the win column.

"My role is to do whatever needs to be done for the team," he said. "Whatever needs to be done in that particular game I'll do it.

"From making open shots, to defending, rebounding, or just whatever my team needs.

"The team has responded well to our leadership as seniors. They are always asking and learning from us, especially in the conference games. We all really help each other and though we have a small number of seniors we are making a difference."

The Eagles face a stiff challenge in the Thundering Herd of Marshall (9-9) coming up Wednesday night, and player of the year candidate DeAndre Kane.

"Marshall is a very good team," he said. "Their size presents a challenge for us and they are just very talented as well.

"Kane is one of the best players we'll see this year. We have to work hard to keep them out of the paint and we must box out and play our roles on the defensive end to have a chance."

This stretch run is one McGill looks forward to with great anticipation, but he won't allow himself to look past the next game.

"It always means a lot for me to play and put on that Southern Miss uniform," he said. "I have to just take it one game at a time and not get to caught up in the fact that its my senior season.

"I want to just play it out and give everything I can on the game that lies ahead. That's all that I, and we as a team, can do. The rest will take care of itself."

The Thundering Herd and Eagles square off Wednesday night at Reed Green Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00.

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