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Men's hoops look ahead to next season: returnees

Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

 

While the Ole Miss basketball team’s season ended earlier than all they would have liked, losing in overtime to Illinois State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament, the team showed why fans should be excited for next season over the last several weeks of the season, including a five-game winning streak. 

Looking ahead to next season, other than graduating seniors Terrance Henry and Steadman Short, the remaining Ole Miss players will all be back for the 2012-13 season.

FRONTCOURT

The Ole Miss frontcourt was one of the best in the Southeastern Conference, finishing second in total rebounds per game, with 38.3 per game, trailing only Kentucky, which averaged 39.2 per game. The Rebels also led the conference in offensive rebounds with 13 per game.

Murphy Holloway did not disappoint in his return to Ole Miss, averaging 11.2 points per game and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game in his junior season. He also led the team in minutes per game (31.6) and field goal percentage (.511).

Reginald Buckner will be back for his senior season. Bucker, who has shattered every blocked shot record in school history, looks to add to his total of 226 through his first three years. Buckner averaged 6.9 points per game while pulling down 8.0 rebounds per game and blocking just over two shots per game.

After losing 30 pounds during the offseason, Demarco Cox saw his minutes double during his sophomore season. He averaged 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as one of the first options off the bench this past season. Freshman Aaron Jones was another player off the bench this past season, averaging 1.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

BACKCOURT

With a year of added experience, Ole Miss should see improvement at the guard position next season. The 2011-12 was an up-and-down season for Ole Miss. After struggling to score early in the season, leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson was dismissed from the team in early January and transferred to Jackson State.

The Rebels also dealt with the suspensions of freshman Jelan Kendrick. The Memphis transfer was forced to sit out the first half of the season due to transfer rules. He played in 18 games for the Rebels, averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and nearly two assists per game. He was suspended after the season finale against Alabama and was not with the team at the SEC Tournament in New Orleans nor in the first round of the NIT against Illinois State. Any further discipline for Kendrick has not been announced.

The lone veteran after the dismissal of Nelson, Williams also returns for this senior season. As a junior, Williams averaged 10.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game for Ole Miss. With the graduation of Chris Warren and the dismissal of Nelson, freshman Jarvis Summer stepped into the point guard position this past season for the Rebels. He filled that role, averaging 10.2 points per game, to go along with 2.4 rebounds and a team-high 3.2 assists per game.

Freshman LaDarius White, like Kendrick, was forced to sit out the first half of the season, playing in his first game against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 10. White came off the bench and scored a team-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. White struggled at times later in the season, however, and his minutes fell until the regular season finale against Alabama. After the suspension of Kendrick, White saw increased minutes and a bigger role. White finished the season with his game back, leading the team with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting and 4-of-6 from behind the arc.