Notes and thoughts from a 68-55 win over Norfolk State …
There’s nothing like having your story mostly written and just needing a few quotes to build around.
You go into the press conference with a question you think you know the answer to, and you’re feeling good. Bring it on deadline!
So I asked Kermit Davis last night if he thought there would be a competition for minutes at the 4 between Blake Hinson and KJ Buffen when Hinson returns from his blood abnormality.
I mean, how do you take Buffen off the floor? In two games he’s shooting 73.7 percent with 39 points and 18 rebounds.
The answer is you don’t take him off the floor. You play both Buffen and Hinson at the same time.
Kermit was quick with that answer. He didn’t have to think about it all.
Fortunately, as a veteran deadline writer, I can move quickly as well. I shifted a paragraph, changed some sentence structure, and behold, deadline was defeated yet again.
Buffen playing at the 5 is not new. He played some big minutes there last year though he seemed a little undersized.
Now Hinson is listed at 229 and Buffen at 225. Both are sophomores.
More important than weight, they're thinkers, Davis says.
The interesting part of the story is that we’re only two games into Khadim Sy as the starter at the 5 and Sammy Hunter as the primary backup. Both are newcomers, Sy a juco transfer, Hunter a freshman.
Davis was quick to point out he’s not “giving up on Khadim and Sammy,” but he was clear that he thinks both of those guys should be farther along right now.
“We’ve got to get them better,” Davis said.
I know how players get caught up in their nicknames, but I’ve felt that Sy should get some production under his belt before being referred to as “Dream” at this level.
At times he flashes with his athleticism, but it’s just not enough right now.
He is the rim protector this team didn’t have last year. When set up shop at the 5, and the other team is running a halfcourt set there’s good awareness and anticipation from Sy.
That was more evident against Arkansas State than last night against Norfolk State which spread the floor and was able to get better angles and spacing in the lane.
Sy finished with two blocked shots and seven rebounds.
Davis wants to see more from him on offense, and the Rebels need more. They need Sy to be that guy you can throw it to with an expectation that he’s going to score or get fouled. He has to make other teams concerned because that’s what creates angles and spacing for Ole Miss. Sy attempted just three shots last night.
Until that happens, and assuming Hinson comes back healthy soon, Buffen will be a real option at the 5.
He looks much more developed in a year, spinning to get past a defender and finishing strong at the rim. He’s trusting his jump shot more, and that’s huge.
The idea that you can bring in a guy like Sy, clearly a guy you’re counting on and planning around, and then revert to a developing sophomore is an example of the depth Kermit Davis is building in this program. …
Breein Tyree shot better last night, and he put up 21 points, more in line with what is expected from an All-SEC guard.
It is disturbing, however, that Tyree still had to be “coached up” several minutes after the opening tip to get back to his mid-range and dribble-drive game.
He hit that first 3-pointer, and after that it was like he was “feeling it.” He kept launching behind the arch and missed his next five 3s. Ultimately he was 2-for-8 behind the arc and 6-for-10 inside it.
After just two games you can see a playing rotation evolving.
Austin Crowley got 20 minutes last night playing mostly the 3 but some at point. Sammy Hunter got 15 minutes but wasn’t productive enough to keep from being singled out along with Sy by Davis in the postgame.
Bryce Williams got six minutes. I think this guy is going to be there even after Hinson returns.
Carlos Curry, Franco Miller and Antavion Collum all played one minute.
Ole Miss is back on the floor Friday night at 6 against Western Michigan. It will be MACtion at The Pavilion.
Western Michigan was picked fifth in the MAC West Division by league coaches in October.