OXFORD • The basketball transfer market has helped Ole Miss pick up a key rebounding component – either for the coming season or the next.
The Rebels added two transfers on Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period, in Rider wingman Dimencio Vaughn and Samford power forward/center Robert Allen.
Vaughn, a graduate transfer, is immediately eligible.
It’s wait-and-see for Allen, who will likely sit out a year unless the NCAA modifies its position on transfers. Change is being discussed, and a vote could happen in May.
If available Allen could provide an immediate lift to an area in which the Rebels’ lagged in 2020.
Ole Miss was No. 11 in the SEC in rebounding margin at minus-1.0, last in blocked shots at 2.8 per game.
Junior college transfer center Khadim Sy showed improvement as the season rocked along, and freshman Sammy Hunter flashed his athleticism now and then. They were the top two players at the 5, but neither were dynamic rebounders.
At Samford, Allen averaged 8.3 rebounds as a freshman, 7.0 as a sophomore.
“He’s got a knack for it. He has that uncanny ability to be able to locate the ball and foresee kind of where it’s going,” said Jason Atherton, who coached Allen at Edgewater High School in Orlando. “I would compare it to a point guard having vision, one of those things you can’t teach. That mixed with a high motor, he’s going to get a lot of rebounds.”
KJ Buffen led Ole Miss last season at 6.1 rebounds a game.
Although one college recruiter compared Allen’s rebounding to former eccentric NBA star Dennis Rodman his scholarship offers leaving Edgewater were limited to a handful of low majors.
The main recruiting services did not issue him a ranking among the nation’s players.
Atherton believes that’s partly because Allen was not viewed as a dominant offensive player in high school. Allen would do whatever was necessary to win but was not driven to simply score, Allen said.
Allen averaged 9.9 points as a Samford freshman, 14.1 as a sophomore.
“He can put the ball in the basket. He’s definitely capable, but he’s not one who’s going to be doing a lot of flashy stuff,” Atherton said. “A lot of his points come from offensive rebounds, running the floor, things like that. He wasn’t a guy in high school who was going to cross a guy over and make a flashy play like that.”