2004-05 SEC hoops preview: Ole Miss

Over the next few weeks, VandyMania's VeeMan takes an early look at the state of all 12 SEC men's basketball programs, and forecasts the 2004-05 hoops season. Up first: <b>Ole Miss</b>, which lost its top two leading scorers to graduation in Justin Reed and Aaron Harper. The top returning scorer? Todd Abernethy (left), who averaged just 5.4 points per game.

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Record in 2003-04: 13-15 overall, 5-11 SEC

Returning Players

NAME CLASS MPG PPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Todd Abernethy Soph 25.9 5.4 40.7 36.7 62.1 1.5 2.9
Tommie Eddie Sr 14.1 5.3 53.6 -- -- 51.7 3.0 0.4
Justin Johnson Sr 24.3 5.3 39.2 30.0 65.0 1.9 1.2
Kendrick Fox Sr 18.7 5.1 41.0 35.4 52.6 2.5 0.8
Marvin Moore Sr 7.5 2.0 60.6 ---- 71.4 0.9 0.0
Ed Glass Sr 10.6 1.8 36.2 ---- 50.0 1.2 0.8
Bam Doyne Soph 9.7 1.5 21.6 25.0 73.3 1.4 0.6
Calvadas Nunnery Sr 14.2 1.2 40.7 ---- 55.0 1.3 2.0
Javelle Scott Soph 2.1 0.5 11.1 ---- 50.0 0.5 0.0
Lonnie Jackson Sr 5.6 0.4 33.3 ---- ---- 0.4 0.1
Chris Rhodes Sr 6.1 0.4 38.5 ---- 50.0 0.8 0.1

Players Lost

Justin Reed 33.5 18.5 46.4 23.7 73.1 7.5 1.5
Aaron Harper 33.4 16.5 44.5 38.7 67.5 5.1 3.2

New Players (rankings from PrepStars)

Jeremy Parnell 6-9 Freshman #271
Brandon Patterson 6-5 Freshman #300

Roles

Likely starters are Todd Abernethy (6-1) at point, Justin Johnson (6-0) and Bam Doyne (6-3) on the wings, Marvin Moore (6-6) at high post, and Tommie Eddie (6-7, but 260 lbs) at low post. Kendrick Fox (6-7) should be the sixth man. Calvadas Nunnery (5-9) is the backup point and the best ball-handler, but no scoring threat. Glass (6-2), Parnell and Patterson should get considerable time. The others are Jackson (6-8), Rhodes (6-7), and Scott (6-7), none of whom have shown much promise.

Scoring

Look for the Rebels to go to a running game this season, with Johnson becoming the top scorer. Abernethy is probably the best outside shooter. Moore and Glass are expected to benefit the most from the change away from the old half-court offense. Maybe the two freshmen will produce. Points close to the basket will come hard.

Rebounding and Defense

Eddie is the best rebounder. Goodness knows where his help will come from, but Parnell and Moore (220 lbs.) are the best bets. Mississippi will be a scrappy defensive team, as always, with Doyne the best defender.

Question Marks?

The whole team is one big question mark except in the area of team defense. There are a lot of seniors, but most are junior college transfers who played little in their first year at Mississippi. Consequently, experience is lacking everywhere. The Rebels dont have the size to stay on the boards with most other SEC teams.

Overall Prospects for 2004-05

Coach Rod Barnes is on the canvas, and the referee is counting. During the off-season he brought in a couple of new assistant coaches to shore up the recruiting, a mark of desperation. With the loss of Justin Reed and Aaron Harper, his failure to recruit successfully has caught up to him. One newcomer (6-9 sophomore Dwayne Curtis, a transfer from Auburn) will have to sit out the season. He had a third freshman recruit (Bobby Clark, 6-3, #169 ranking, and two-time all-stater) who would have helped considerably, but failed to qualify.

Ole Miss will finish sixth in the Western Division of the SEC and be the weakest team in the entire conference. Barnes will be lucky to make it to the end of the season, and his best chance to remain is to come up with a really good crop of recruits by November because this team is going nowhere.


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