Archive for January, 2008

FOOTBALL: Brown, Lawrence set announcements

January 31, 2008

Scout.com reports that Ocean Springs WR DeAndre Brown and George County DB Alonzo Lawrence will both announce verbal commitments on Friday, Brown’s televised by ESPNU at 5 p.m.

The website projects Brown to LSU, where he is scheduled to visit this weekend, and Lawrence to Alabama.

— PA

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HOOPS: SEC-Big East lineup announced

January 31, 2008

Ole Miss and Mississippi State will both take part in the SEC-Big East Invitational next season, and both will be road teams playing in the Big East venue in Cincinnati.

The Rebels will not, however, be playing Andy Kennedy’s former employer, the UC Bearcats. That will be Mississippi State. The Rebels will take on Louisville.

— PA

HOOPS: SEC links

January 31, 2008

Here’s the SEC coverage from Gregg and myself from last night with Ole Miss winning at home and State losing at Arkansas.

— PA

HOOPS: About last night

January 31, 2008

A few notes an observations from Ole Miss’ 74-58 win over Vanderbilt.
Huge win. You want to talk must wins, that was one, and so is Saturday against South Carolina. The Rebels simply cannot afford to fall too far back off the pace in the West.
When you lose at the one or two road gyms in which you might be expected to win, you put pressure on yourself to win every home game. So far the Rebels are doing that, now 26-1 at Tad Smith under Andy Kennedy.
Good D or Bad O: A little of both I think. I saw Ole Miss work hard at contesting shots, but I also saw Vanderbilt get back, get feet set and get some good looks that were just missed.
On the whole I think shots were contested better. Even a few 3s the Commodores hit were made over defenders charging out and hands extended.
It’s premature to say the defense is back, but it was clearly better.
Lineup change: I was pleased to see Andy Kennedy accept my suggestion of putting Zach Graham in the lineup and playing bigger.
Graham was key in the early minutes of the second half with a bucket and a 3-pointer as the Rebels opened with a 12-5 run. He also penetrated and passed to Kenny Williams for a score. I think Graham was credited with an assist, even though the pass hit the bottom of the backboard before it reached Williams. Graham finished with nine points on 4-for-8 shooting.
The 2 Guard: Just as important as Graham’s play was the play of guards David Huertas and Trevor Gaskins. They both played fewer minutes, appeared confident and under less pressure and hit shots, or in the case of Huertas, a shot.
Huertas was 1-for-4 from the floor, 1-for-3 from the arc.
Gaskins was 3-for-6, 2-for-4 from 3. He still has a knack for throwing it around the gym and had two turnovers.
Warren’s back: Chris Warren was just 5-for-20 from the floor in Starkville. He didn’t start off hot last night but finished strong in the second half scoring from the perimeter and on dribble penetration.
He was 6-for-10 from the floor, 3-for-4 from the arc for a game-high 20 points. Warren also spent some time at the 2.
Post play: I do think Dwayne Curtis’ feet bothered him a little bit last night, but I don’t think that affected his shooting.
He took a good long breather in the first half when he could have been in the game.
Still, he ended up playing 32 minutes.
He was 1-for-6 from the floor and missed shots he normally makes. It wasn’t that he was bothered by 6-10 Vandy freshman A.J. Ogilvy.
Kenny Williams more than picked up the slack for his teammate and always seemed to be nearby when a big play had been made. Williams got his hands in passing lanes and showed the energy that most have come to expect from him.
It was good to see minutes again for Terrence Watson. While Jermey Parnell is out, and he likely will be again Saturday, it’s better to divide those extra post minutes between Malcolm White and Watson.
While White is very much an offensive asset, at this stage he’s a defensive liability.
Watson had a productive five minutes with a field goal, two offensive rebounds and a blocked shot.

— PA

FINAL: Ole Miss 74, Vanderbilt 58

January 30, 2008

Good defense by the Rebels and lots of contributors on offense, though Dwayne Curtis was uncharacterstically not one of them. Read it in Thursday’s Daily Journal.

— PA

HALFTIME: Ole Miss 29, Vanderbilt 26

January 30, 2008

Rebels are getting some offense from Polynice penetration. Everything else is sketchy. Vanderbilt’s not shooting well.

Zach Graham started as Kennedy went with a bigger lineup. He’s scored one bucket. Huertas and Gaskins have both played liberally and have both hit 3-pointers.

Rebels struggling with some turnover problems.

— PA

HOOPS: 20 minutes to tip

January 30, 2008

Both teams are on the floor warming up. Doesn’t look like Jermey Parnell will be back soon. He wasn’t expected to dress tonight. He’s near the bench in a red polo with a big boot on his right foot. Walking out on the floor didn’t come easily.

— PA

HOOPS: Lunch time chat

January 30, 2008

Post questions or comments below, and let’s talk Ole Miss, primarily basketball. I’ll be here until 12:30.

— PA

HOOPS: A few pre-game notes

January 30, 2008

A different approach: Kenny Williams wasn’t happy with his performance in the Rebels’ 88-68 loss in Starkville and pledges a different “approach with more energy” tonight against Vanderbilt.

“Me and DC catching fouls early our team mentally,” Williams said. “We knew we were going into a hostile environment, and there’s no way you can get the freshmen ready for that. Me and DC getting those fouls affected our whole team.”

Williams played an SEC-low 19 minutes against Mississippi State. He was 1-for-4 from the floor, 0-for-3 from the free throw line and finished with two points and three rebounds, well below his averages of 8.1 points and 7.8 boards.

Williams is an energy player, and he feeds off Jermey Parnell to some degree. With Parnell out for the foreseeable future, the Rebels need Williams to be a self-starter and regain that high level of energy.

1,000-point Curtis: Senior center Dwayne Curtis needs 17 points to become the school’s 30th member of the 1,000 point club.I don’t know what rights and privileges go along with being a member of that club, but it’s a nice achievement for any player.

Curtis has been a consistent double-figurer scorer throughout his career. He’s had to overcome some obstacles too, like injuries to both feet and two years ago the car accident, lingering hospitalization and eventual death of his brother.

Given the 45 points he scored as a freshman at Auburn, Curtis has already scored 1,38 points in his collegiate career.

Still a strong start: Despite the recent road struggles, a win over Vanderbilt would make the Rebels 16-3 and would equal the start of the 1936-37 team, the best through 19 games in school history.

The 1925-26 team started 16-1 before losing to North Carolina in the Southern Conference tournament to conclude an 18-game schedule at 16-2. That team averaged a whopping 40.6 points per game. I bet they also played in those really short shorts and didn’t dunk much.

Kennedy 1-1 vs. Vandy: Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is 1-1 against Vanderbilt. Both games have been contested at the Commodores’ Memorial Gym. Ole Miss lost there 85-80 last season. Kennedy won there as Cincinnati’s interim coach in 2006 by a score of 92-83.

Vanderbilt had lost eight straight games at Tad Smith Coliseum before winning there 77-65 in 2004 and 77-62 in 2006.

Some matchups that could favor Ole Miss tonight: Despite the presence of big freshman A.J. Ogilvy, the Commodores are rebounding at only a plus-2 margin. The Rebels, once leading the SEC, have slipped a little but are still tied for the conference lead at plus-6.6.

This is an energy stat, and it’s where playing at home could help.

Elsewhere … Vanderbilt is annually one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the SEC, and the Dores lead the conference and rank fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage.

Not a good sign for an Ole Miss team that has given up 3s in transition and from the 2-3 zone.

However, Vanderbilt is near the bottom in field goal defense and 3-point defense.

Watching Trevor Gaskins and David Huertas struggle the last two games, it’s hard to imagine the Rebels exploiting that weakness.

But I have seen Ole Miss really light it up in some home games, and it could have an advantage there if one of those players, or perhaps Eniel Polynice, finds a hot hand.

— PA

HOOPS: A Terrence Watson sighting

January 30, 2008

There have been several questions here regarding junior college transfer Terrence Watson and why he hasn’t been seeing the floor.

Due to foul trouble by others, Watson got a few first-half minutes at State that I thought were pretty productive. It didn’t look like he hurt the Rebels on defense. On offense, he took shots in the lane. Both were challenged, and he hit one of them.

This is a guy who earlier in the year came off the bench and brought a lot of energy on defense. He’s 6-5, a slasher, and he typically drew the other team’s best offensive player as his defensive assignment in junior college.

An ankle injury slowed his development at Ole Miss, but he also wasn’t getting comfortable in schemes and responsibilities all that quickly.

Another problem for Watson is he’s a tweener. He’s too small to really push for frontcourt playing time, and he doesn’t have the quickness or the consistent shot to play the small forward.

Most of the Rebels’ problems on offense can be boiled down to the 2, or shooting guard, and Watson isn’t likely to help there.

Andy Kennedy has been less than specific on player rotations and what, if any, changes might be made to regain a spark.

Watson could be one to keep an eye on, particularly as defensive problems persist.

— PA