Notes and thoughts from a 69-43 basketball exhibition win over Mississippi College …
There has been a lot of excitement over a handful of newcomers added by Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis.
There should still be excitement, but the train needs to slow down a little bit.
The Rebels led 35-19 at halftime and would have stretched things our further and earlier had this been a real game with a real playing rotation.
But that’s not what the exhibitions are about. They’re a time to get the guys you think you’ll count on some under-the-lights minutes before the start of the season.
The season begins Friday against Arkansas State.
Last night most of the newcomers Davis used flash with potential, but few were consistent and stood out.
You can see the athleticism and quickness of Khadim Sy in the post. He can be the rim protector that Davis, Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler have talked about in the preseason. Protecting the rim doesn’t only mean blocking shots. It means showing anticipation on defense and getting hands in passing lanes, which Sy seemed to have a grasp of.
Where Sy – and others – seemed to struggle a little bit was the anticipation of movements and passes from teammates … chemistry.
There were some problems with decision-making at times and not only from new people. Tyree had four turnovers – the Rebels had 20 as a team – and Davis said all four were from over-dribbling. He’s frustrated right now with the Rebels’ lack of sharing the basketball.
Tyree had eight points on 3-for-6 shooting including 1-for-3 from 3-point range. Shuler was just 1-for-7 shooting but had six rebounds, two assists, four steals and only one turnover.
Sharing will be better and turnovers fewer when that chemistry improves. That will likely come when some players begin to separate themselves in practice and a playing rotation evolves.
As far as that goes, I expected to see more out of Luis Rodriguez last night. Davis and players have raved about Rodriguez’ off-season work, and there’s a good competition going right now between he and freshman Austin Crowley for the 3, the position held by Terence Davis last year.
Rodriguez did not have a single rebound or assist in 21 minutes. He did have two steals, but he’s going to have to have much better numbers in the hustle stats to stay on the floor. He started the game, but he may have lost that edge to Crowley last night. Crowley was one of the more impressive newcomers with three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 23 minutes. Much of his production came soon after he entered the game in the first half. He was 0-for-3 form the floor, but he looked comfortable shooting, and those shots will fall. He was 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Davis spoke in the off-season about Crowley’s “Basketball IQ,” and he showed that last night.
The other newcomer who stood out above the others was junior college transfer guard Bryce Williams who had 10 points in 14 minutes. He was 2-for-3 from the 3-point line and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. All of his scoring came in the second half. He also had three assists with no turnovers but four fouls.