2008 NIT Capsule: Ole Miss
Southeastern Conference (21-10, 7-9)
Big Wins: 11/13 South Alabama (81-78), 12/22 vs Clemson (85-82), 1/30 Vanderbilt (74-58)
Bad Losses: 2/2 South Carolina (77-80), 2/16 Auburn (78-90), 2/23 at LSU (49-69)
Coach: Andy Kennedy
Chris Warren, Freshman, Guard, 15.5 ppg, 4.5 apg
David Huertas, Sophomore, Guard, 10.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Eniel Polynice, Sophomore, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 5.5 rpg
Kenny Williams, Senior, Forward, 8.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Dwayne Curtis, Senior, Center, 15.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg
Brian Smith, Senior, Guard, 1.0 ppg, 1.4 apg
Trevor Gaskins, Freshman, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 1.1 apg
Zach Graham, Freshman, Guard, 5.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Jermey Parnell , Senior, Forward, 4.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
The Rebel’s backcourt is really young, but they have some dynamic scorers. Chris Warren, just a freshman, leads the team with 15.5 points per game. Warren hits nearly three three-pointers per contest, but he will do plenty of damage inside the arc as well. David Huertas is not as consistent of a scorer, but the sophomore can put up some big numbers when his shot is falling. Eniel Polynice does not depend on his shot falling and the wing will get to the basket effectively just about every day.
Polynice is a solid rebounder from the wing and with the experience in the front court, Mississippi is a great rebounding team. Dwayne Curtis leads the way with 9.4 boards per game and any time he does not get a double-double is a surprise. With fellow senior Kenny Williams by his side, Ole Miss will outrebound most teams they play. Williams is not as effective of a scorer as Curtis, but he still averages 8.1 points per game.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Despite the youth, turnovers are not a huge problem. However, on the defensive side of the ball, the youth really shows. The Rebels allow their opposition to shoot extremely well from the floor and if a team is patient with the ball, they will almost certainly find an open look against Mississippi. Free-throws are not as big of a concern, but still can be an issue. Most of the team is decent from the charity stripe, but Polynice, Williams and reserve Jeremy Parnell all hover around the 50 percent range. Coach Andy Kennedy will keep the ball out of their hands at the end of games, but that trio still gets to the free-throw line quite a bit and every point matters during the tournament.
Who To Watch:
Ten players have started at least one game this year, but most of that depth is in the backcourt. Curtis and Williams do a decent job of staying out of foul trouble, but Jeremy Parnell is the only other forward who sees quality minutes. When the starters need a break, it is up to Parnell to provide a presence in the paint. Freshmen Trevor Gaskins and Zach Graham can provide a spark off the bench. Gaskins is a solid three-point shooter, while Graham will usually work closer to the basket and help out on the glass.
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