OXFORD • Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis believes college basketball will return just as it was before.
And players who do not also return that way could be in for a rude awakening.
Davis met with local media in a video call on Thursday.
He discussed transfers Dimencio Vaughn and Robert Allen who signed on Wednesday and hit several other topics, too.
Davis said he meets with all of his players in a Zoom conference call every Monday and that academic staff is in touch with players on a daily basis.
“Our guys, knock on wood, have really done well. They’ve been really responsible academically,” he said. “We do have a few blips, every now and then but for all the Zoom tutors and virtual things they’ve done, I’m proud of our players and where they are.”
Basketball players scattered shortly after returning to campus on March 12 after a first-round loss to Georgia in one of only two games played in this year’s SEC Tournament.
No one understood then how long athletes would be away.
Now while they meet academic challenges online, staying in shape has gotten more complicated.
Davis has urged his players to be creative in how they approach physical challenges.
“College basketball’s going to get back to normal. It will, and it’s going to get back to normal this year at some point,” Davis said. “Where are you going to find yourself when it gets back to normal? Are you going to use the virus as a really big excuse and not do anything? There are some cats out there that are working.”
Initially players were at home, but may have had access to local park facilities.
As shelter-in-place orders have become the norm that’s changed for citizens in most communities.
The Ole Miss staff has sent players elastic bands and workouts to follow. They can receive basketballs upon request, though no players have asked for a ball at this point. They must return any equipment they receive.
Situations are different for each individual, but Davis is encouraging players do whatever they can to stay in shape.
He referenced a video posted by former Ole Miss player Terence Davis who was having an impact season for the Toronto Raptors as a rookie free agent when the NBA halted operations.
“It looked like he was on a balcony in high-rise condo there in Toronto,” Davis said. “He’s sweating his tail off out there working with a dumbbell and some other apparatus.”
With or without a basketball the emphasis is on being physical, Davis said.
“It’s going to be interesting to me when our guys come back. It’s going to be right there about what guys have really tried to do with some things on their own to be creative.”