Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ole Miss: 2008-2009 Team Preview

2007-2008 Team Record: 24-11, 7-9 SEC West (3rd)

Key Losses: Dwayne Curtis (14.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg), Kenny Williams (8.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg)

Key Returnees: Chris Warren (15.8 ppg, 4.4 apg), David Huertas (10.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Eneil Polynice (10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.9 apg)

Newcomers: Terrence Henry, Terrico White, Will Bogan, Murphy Holloway, DeAundre Cranston

In the year of the freshman last season, Chris Warren was the best that you never heard about, and maybe the best player in the country you've never heard of. Warren is only (listed at, he looks smaller) 5'10" and 170 lb, but despite his diminutive stature he was able to take over games because of his phenomenal shooting ability. In 35 games last year, Warren hit 103 3's (at a 39% clip), which is already 9th all-time at Ole Miss. Warren had a tendency to take bad shots and make bad decisions (probably a result of a frustrating season coming to an end), but he still had a 1.5:1 a/to while averaging 4.4 apg. Ole Miss will rely heavily on Warren's scoring and playmaking once again next year.

Guards Eneil Polynice, Trevor Gaskins and David Huertas also return. Polynice is a gritty 6'5" athlete and he usually draws the defensive assignment of the other teams best wing player. He is also a solid playmaker as he was second on the team in assists. Huertas and Gaskins are shooters who spread the floor and benefit from the playmaking of Polynice and Warren. Freshman Will Bogan and Terrico White should also compete for time in the backcourt.

The Rebels will have a lot of production to replace on their front line as they lose starters Dwayne Curtis and Kenny Williams. The only returner will be seldom used freshman Malcolm White (6.2 mpg), but Andy Kennedy does bring in a solid class, headlined by 6'9" power forward Terrence Henry, who should immediately be able to contribute for Ole Miss. The Rebels also add 6'7" Murphy Holloway, who is more of a small forward and slasher, and 6'9" JuCo transfer DeAundre Cranston. 6'10" redshirt freshman Kevin Cantinol becomes eligible as well, and could compete for minutes.

Outlook: The biggest issue for Ole Miss will be can they win on the road. Last year they went 16-2 at home and 8-9 everywhere else (1-7 in conference on the road). They return a talented roster which is probably going to be one of the favorites to win the weak SEC West, but they need to be able to win on the road in order to avoid another collapse - they were one of the last unbeatens in the country and didn't even make the NCAA's. Look for a Clemson-like rebound this year.

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