OXFORD • As newcomers have scattered arrivals on the Ole Miss campus, Kermit Davis has strategically plotted his team’s summer work.
With the departures of Bruce Stevens and Dominik Olejniczak, players who played most of the minutes at center, and do-it-all guard Terence Davis, newcomers will be expected to play key roles.
Six-foot-10 junior college transfer Khadim Sy, once a starter at Virginia Tech, is expected to arrive this weekend.
Bryce Williams, a junior college transfer guard, and Sammy Hunter are expected to report for the beginning of the second summer term, Hunter perhaps a few days sooner.
Freshmen Austin Crowley and Antavion Collum and transfer Jarkel Joiner – who will sit out this season – are on campus and have been going through some work together.
The NCAA allows basketball teams eight weeks of summer work that does not count toward work athletes choose to put in on their own. Those on campus already have had two weeks to be together.
“They can do voluntary work in the weight room and voluntary work on the floor,” Davis said. “We have saved six weeks that we’re going to use when everybody gets here.
“We’ll go till Aug. 8, and we’ll get our eight weeks in.”
The SEC’s coach of the year last season, Davis will try to help Ole Miss earn back-to-back NCAA bids for the first time since the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons.
In addition to the newcomers, summer is an important time for returning players Carlos Curry and Franco Miller, among others.
Sy is expected to log major minutes in the middle – at the 5 – but Davis believes there will be a role for Curry, a 6-11, 235-pounder from Albany, Georgia, who redshirted last season.
A three-star prospect, Curry was rated Georgia’s No. 19 player as a senior.
“He’s spent an unbelievable amount of hours in the weight room and on the floor away from when we practice, so give him credit,” Davis said. “We have to have patience with Carlos. He’s going to be a good player here.”
Miller, a native of The Bahamas, was expected to provide backcourt depth as a freshman but was never healthy as he struggled with complications from a knee injury. He’s fully healthy now for the first time in his brief college career.
Miller, 6-2, last played at a prep school in Toronto where he averaged 25.8 points, 6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.3 steals.
“It’s almost like he’s a freshman again this year,” Davis said. “The grit, determination, talent … it’s all there.”