Andy Kennedy hasn’t had less than 19 wins at Ole Miss since 2009, but that streak could be in jeopardy this season. There’s no doubt that Kennedy has established Ole Miss as one of the consistently better teams in the SEC, but after loosing the freakishly explosive Stefan Moody, Ole Miss is going to need someone to step up in a big way.
Ole Miss hasn’t had a recruiting class in the top 10 of the SEC since 2012, and that lack of star power could start to show this year. Ole Miss will have a hand full of good players, but I’m not immediately sure of who will be able to provide enough talent to really propel the Rebels.
What they didn’t get in Junior College and High School recruits, the Rebels might have gotten in transfers. Deandre Burnett will likely vie for a starting spot after sitting out last season after transferring from Miami with just one year under his belt. Joining Burnett is also Cullen Neal, an early graduate transfer from New Mexico. Neal, with his style of play, will likely immediately become one of the players in the SEC that other teams love to hat, but Ole Miss should enjoy what the experienced guard brings. Neal averaged 12.3 PPG and 3.7 APG last season but it will be interesting to see how that translates to the SEC.
Along with Burnett and Neal, Ole Miss will be lead by senior forward Sabastian Saiz. Saiz established himself as one of the better rebounders in the SEC last season and pulled down enough boards to lead the Rebels altogether. With Moody gone, Saiz will have to be more of an offensive threat and for Ole Miss to succeed he’ll probably need to increase his scoring a little bit over last season’s 11.7 PPG. Another returner that will need to contribute on the stat sheet even more this season is Rasheed Brooks. Brooks saw plenty of playing time last season with 27.5 MPG in all 32 games, but like many other players, he only scored 8.3 PPG while Moody put up most of the scoring.
If Ole Miss wants to succeed this season, they can’t be a team relying on one dominant scorer like last season. Moody is gone and along with his explosive bounce, he also takes away 23.6 PPG. I don’t see another player on the Rebels’ roster that can put up those kinds of points, so for Ole Miss to keep winning, they’ll need scoring by committee.
While the Rebels have a nice mix of returning skill and fresh talent via the transfer market I just don’t think it will be enough for Andy Kennedy to continue his streak of successful seasons. However, Kennedy has definitely proven he can surpass expectations in previous seasons so this could end up being no different.
In the end, I think the schedule won’t favor the Rebels as they get the privilege of hosting Kentucky, Texas A&M, and South Carolina for three of their home games. The key to the SEC this year will be winning home games and stealing road games and since Ole Miss has at least three home games that might not be wins, they’re already dropping lower in my predicted SEC standings. I’ll miss watching Stefan Moody do his thing this season, and I think Ole Miss fans will certainly miss it as well as things don’t go as well as they’re used to this season.
#1 Deandre Burnett, 6’2” G transfer from Miami
#2 Cullen Neal, 6’5” G transfer from New Mexico
#4 Breein Tyree, 6’2” 3-star G from St. Joseph HS
#12 Karlis Silins, 6’10” F recruit from Latvia
#24 Lane Below, 6’1” G transfer from Three Rivers CC
#32 Nate Morris, 6’9” 3-star G from Lancaster HS
#50 Justas Furmanavicius, 6’6” F transfer from Three Rivers CC
#1 Deandre Burnett, 6’2” G - Averaged 7 PPG and 2 RPG as a freshman at Miami in the 2014-2015 season
#2 Cullen Neal, 6’5” G - Talented guard from New Mexico, averaged 12.3 PPG and 3.7 APG for the Lobos last season
#5 Marcanvis Hymon, 6’7” F - Averaged 17.7 MPG in every game last season, averaging 6.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG
#11 Sabastian Saiz, 6’9” F - Leading returning scorer and rebounder with 11.7 PPG and 8.7 RPG last season
#12 Karlis Silins, 6’10” F - Has size at 6’10” and experience in a Latvian basketball league
#14 Rasheed Brooks, 6’5” G - Second leading returning scorer with 8.3 PPG after playing 27.5 MPG in all 32 games last season
2016-2017 Season Predictions
|Montana/NC State/Washington State/Creighton||L|
|vs Middle Tennessee||L|
|@ Virginia Tech||L|
|vs Murray State||W|
|vs South Alabama||W|
|@ South Carolina||L|
|vs Texas A&M||L|
|vs Mississippi State||W|
|@ Mississippi State||L|
|vs South Carolina||L|