With the breakthrough 2018-19 season for Kermit Davis and the Rebels, the anticipation for the next basketball season in Oxford has never been higher. The unexpected success had the eyes of the national media on The Pavilion, but more importantly, it caught the attention of talented recruits.
With the expectations for the Ole Miss basketball program rising, this is a very important offseason for Davis and his staff. Davis has the opportunity to bring in players that fit his scheme. With the final signing date for 2019 enrollees coming up on May 15, 2019, the staff is rushing to wrap up the already impressive class with a pretty bow.
The Rebels’ top uncommitted prospect is graduate transfer Khadim Sy. Sy is a 6-foot-10 forward from Senegal who can immediately add the defense Ole Miss was missing in the painted area last season. He was dismissed from Virginia Tech as a freshman and transferred to Dayton State College, where he averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Sy has Ole Miss in his top 5 along with East Carolina, LSU, Pittsburgh and Arkansas. He came to Oxford for an official visit last week.
Should he choose to wear red and blue, he’ll join a five-player 2019 class currently ranked No. 36 in the nation.
Davis’s best commitment came from four-star guard Austin Crowley. A native of West Point, Mississippi, Crowley was teammates with Blake Hinson at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas.
“Signing the best players in Mississippi has been a top priority for our staff in our first year,” Davis said. “Austin Crowley is the full package — an elite, talented, excellent student that has outstanding character.”
Three-star committed players Bryce Williams and Antavion Collum will join Crowley in the backcourt. Williams, who played with with Khadim Sy at Daytona State College, averaged 14.5 points a game in 24 games. Collum, a 6-foot-7 forward out of Memphis, chose the Rebels over Florida and Florida State.
Big bodies down low are at the top of the wish list for the upcoming season as it was a consistent struggle for Kermit Davis to get production down low. Sammy Hunter and Rodney Howard will try to fix that. Hunter was named MVP of the Signature All-Canadian Showcase this week, a title that Duke star and self-named “Maple Mamba” R.J. Barrett claimed a year ago. Hunter, the 6-foot-9 forward, dominated with 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks in the games.
Howard was the first commit for Kermit’s 2019 class and will add his 6’10” frame to a Ole Miss frontcourt that lacks depth. If he can translate and evolve his post game to the college level, he can play a big role for the Rebels in the next few years.
Davis has already shown he can get production from underclassmen in Oxford with freshmen Blake Hinson and KJ Buffen playing a major role on a tournament team. They’ll need contributions from some of these prospects with the loss of All-SEC scorer and team leader Terence Davis. Devontae Shuler and Breein Tyree announced that they’ll enter the NBA draft, but they’ll most likely return to Oxford with pointers from NBA scouts like Terence did last year. Those two will need to guide this class as they acclimate in the early going.