Thursday, February 7, 2013
Football success could aid Rebels hoops
By Dave Telep
I’m no Ole Miss historian but you’ve got to think the last two months in the Rebels athletic department have been about as good as it gets at the school. The Rebels football team emerged as the biggest story during national signing day, beginning with a pledge from the nation’s No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche and culminating with a furious run on elite prospects.
Ole Miss recruiting is hot after landing Robert Nkemdiche during football's signing day, but can that success also reach the hardwood?
I’m sure hoops coach Andy Kennedy wouldn’t mind borrowing one of the Rebels new football athletes for his team. Heck, one of those football guys should be able to set a Julius Peppers' style screen, right? The reality is that’s unlikely to happen, but Kennedy can still steal football’s momentum or at least borrow some of it in hopes of building up his own recruiting class.
“We’re going to reference (football’s recruiting haul),” Kennedy said. “You’re calling this big-time recruit and when you get the No. 1 recruit in any sport to come to your school it justifies that Ole Miss can handle you and your opportunity. This isn’t a 48-hour buzz either; this will carry into next year. We’re trying so sign a few kids in the spring ourselves.”
Kennedy has a three-man recruiting class highlighted by ESPN’s No. 17 center Dwight Coleby (Piney Woods, Miss./Piney Wood) fellow post Sebastian Saiz (Bel Aire, Kan./Sunrise Christian) and small forward Janari Joesaar (Bel Aire, Kan./Sunrise Christian).
Between the school’s success on the gridiron and the emergence of Kennedy’s team this winter, led by charismatic gun-slinging sharpshooter Marshall Henderson, the Rebels are getting a ton of national publicity this year.
“Based on what’s transpiring today, anything that brings light to your university helps all the programs,” Kennedy said. “It’s visibility and bringing your name to the forefront.
“It would be easier if we weren’t in the middle of our grind. For us, it’s about trying to make sure our guys are focused.”