OXFORD It’s mostly football players who are getting COVID-19 testing and education at Ole Miss this week.

Voluntary workouts will begin on June 8.

Basketball coaches Kermit Davis and Yolett McPhee-McCuin are hopeful they’ll be working with their players by early July.

It’s off-season for their sport, but the NCAA allows eight hours of work with basketball players, four for strength and conditioning and four for in-the-gym contact with coaches.

The off-season work takes on a different meaning for women’s coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, who is trying to raise the Rebels from the SEC cellar and will have a lot of different faces on the roster.

“I know we’re going to make a big jump this year, and I want to get my hands on our players,” she said.

Hands-on coaching will look different with new COVID-19 guidelines in place.

Men’s coach Kermit Davis returns senior point guard Devontae Shuler and three other starters. He also adds graduate transfers Dimencio Vaughn and Romello White plus other components expected to make an impact.

“I know we got tougher, we got more experienced. We have guys who have impacted winning at their respective schools,” Davis said. “They’re different.

“In Romello we have a high-level rebounder who is excited about the opportunity to expand his game offensively in our system.”

Another wild card for the Rebels will be small forward Luis Rodriguez who expects to be fully healthy after foot and wrist surgeries when the July workouts begin.

Basketball coaches are working from their Tuohy Center offices now.

COVID testing for basketball players is expected to begin by the middle of the month. As with football, testing will be followed by education on how to remain safe from the virus and on the changes in place regarding their workouts and practices.

“We’ve got to do this right and make sure everything goes well,” Davis said. “Everything is going to be scrutinized heavily as it should be, but I think it will go over good. Everybody has worked their tail off trying to prepare for these athletes coming back.”


Twitter: @parrishalford

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