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Hoops tipoff with exhibition game

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team will take the floor at Tad Smith Coliseum for the first time this season, in an exhibition game against Montevallo to prepare for the regular season, which begins Friday against Mississippi Valley State.
Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

 
The Ole Miss men’s basketball team tips off the season tonight at 7 p.m. in an exhibition game against Montevallo in Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy enters his seventh season at Ole Miss and is excited about the players returning this season. 
 
“(I’m) excited about this group,” Kennedy said at men’s basketball media day. “Any time you return four of your five starters and seven of your top nine, it’s not a bad place to start. It’s the most experienced team I’ve ever coached in my tenure here.”
 
The four returning starters from last year’s team are sophomore guard Jarvis Summers and three seniors, guard Nick Williams and forwards Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway. Three key players from the bench also return: junior forward Demarco Cox, sophomore forward Aaron Jones and sophomore guard LaDarius White.
 
There will be some new faces on the floor for the Rebels as well.
 
“We felt like we addressed some of the definite needs we had off last year’s team by bringing in six newcomers,” Kennedy said.
 
The newcomers are led by Junior College Player of the Year Marshall Henderson. Henderson, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 19.6 points per game while leading South Plains College to an undefeated season and a national championship. The Rebels also added 6-foot-9 forward Anthony Perez. Perez was the only player not to participate in summer practice since he was playing for the Venezuelan national team. 
 
Ole Miss also added junior college transfer Jason Carter and freshman Terry Brutus to help the frontcourt, and freshmen Martavious Newby and Derrick Millinghaus join the backcourt.
 
“The six guys have integrated themselves into what we’re trying to get accomplished about as smoothly as possible,” Kennedy said.
 
Ole Miss welcomes a conference champion to Oxford tonight. The Montevallo Falcons won the Peach Belt Conference last season and also finished as the runner-up in the NCAA Division II Tournament with a 29-8 record.
 
The Falcons, from Montevallo, Ala., already played an exhibition game and lost to Purdue, 70-61. Montevallo returns three starters but lost its two leading scorers from last year.
 
Ole Miss will begin the regular season at home on Friday against Mississippi Valley State at 8 p.m.
 
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss men’s basketball, follow @thedm_sports and @Tyler_RSR on Twitter.