It’s been a wild and crazy ride for Ole Miss senior forward Murphy Holloway the past few years. He has ventured between South Carolina and Mississippi multiple times, but now, his focus is all on one thing: getting the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament.
Holloway was named the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year of high school and decided to come to Ole Miss for the 2008-09 season. He led the team in rebounding that year as a freshman and the following year as a sophomore.
Due to a family issue, Holloway needed to be closer to home, so he transferred to the University of South Carolina. He redshirted that season and returned to Ole Miss this past season.
Despite going a year without playing in a game, Holloway didn’t miss a beat, as he led the team in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and was third in scoring (11.2 ppg).
But now, the senior forward realizes this is his last chance to leave his mark on Ole Miss basketball.
“When you reflect on it, it feels weird,” Holloway said. “But I feel blessed because I got a second chance, and I want to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Ole Miss lost last year’s leading scorer Terrance Henry to graduation, so Holloway who will be called on to step up.
“I’m just trying to be a better teammate, (a) leader,” Holloway said. “You try to lead by example, by going hard and you hope everybody follows.”
Head coach Andy Kennedy is going to rely on Holloway and his frontcourt partner, senior Reginald Buckner, to carry the team this season.
“It’s an experienced, productive frontline,” Kennedy said. “We’re going to be dependent upon those guys to produce for us early while everybody else figures it out.”
Holloway has shown the ability to improve from year to year as he has increased his points per game and rebounds per game each season at Ole Miss.
Holloway will need to stay healthy this season to give Ole Miss the best chance to make the NCAA Tournament. He hurt his ankle last season against Middle Tennessee State and has also had surgery on his hand.
According to Holloway, he also hurt his ankle in the South Carolina summer Pro-Am basketball event this summer, but the injuries have been so numerous that even Holloway can’t recall which ankle he hurt.
“I’ve hurt both of them so many times, I don’t even remember,” Holloway said.
In the four games Holloway missed time last season, Ole Miss was 2-2, including a 26-point loss to LSU.
For Holloway, Buckner and senior guard Nick Williams, this is the last chance they have to leave their mark on Ole Miss basketball by reaching the NCAA Tournament.
“Those three guys understand that each and every day is the last opportunity for them to do what they came here to do,” Kennedy said. “There is a true sense of urgency.”
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