/Rebels win first Jackson game in 11 years, but more history than that was involved

Rebels win first Jackson game in 11 years, but more history than that was involved

Southeastern Louisiana was defeated 69-47 by Ole Miss at Mississippi Coliseum in front of nearly 4,000 fans. Kermit Davis, Jr., the first-year Rebel coach, said that it was a great experience. It was a great crowd. It was a great atmosphere. We beat a well-coached, good team. We had two great days in Jackson and got to visit the children’s hospital. We will start planning for next season. We can build upon this.” Davis could make the same statement for his Ole Miss basketball team. He can build upon this. With the win over a team they were supposed to beat, the Rebels improved to 8-2. This was a well-coached lower division I team coming off a big road victory at Tulane. Ole Miss played a suffocating defense that Rebel basketball fans haven’t seen in years. It choked the Lions right from the start, using its superior size and speed. Ole Miss displayed more energy on defense than it did on offense, which is a good thing. We’ll get to that later. But I was curious how many people knew the entire history of Mississippi basketball Wednesday night. You have Davis, the son and coach of Kermit Davis Sr. who was a Mississippi State player and coach and also won state championships as a high-school basketball coach. Hattiesburg native Tim Floyd mentored Davis early in his coaching career. His father Lee Floyd was a Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame coach for Southern Miss. Tim Floyd, a retired college and NBA coach who lives in Franklin, Tenn. was courtside. Jay Ladner (the Southeastern coach, and the son J. Larry Ladner who was a mentor to coaches across Mississippi) was on the court. Jay Ladner was a Hall of Famer for M.K. Turk played for USM on a NIT championship team. He later dedicated a national title, won at Jones Junior College to Turk. He won high school basketball championships in Saint Stanislaus. Richard Williams, a former Mississippi State coach, helped him to win. Both Ladner’s father and Davis played high-school basketball against each other and then coached one another. Here’s another: Jay Ladner visited Kermit Davis Jr. at LSU when he was at Saint Stanislaus. Davis was an assistant to John Brady, a Mississippian who led the Tigers into the Final Four. Ladner stated that he took in every bit of Kermit’s advice. He taught me a lot. He is a great coach. Many thought that Davis’ hire at Ole Miss was a ho-hum hiring. I strongly disagreed. I still do and the evidence is starting to build. His first Rebel team is hardworking, hardworking, and takes good offensive shots. The Rebels are not very healthy and will have to learn a lot when they reach SEC play. Davis was blessed with some great guards and they are doing well. Ladner, the SLU coach, said: “We have played LSU, Nebraska, and Texas Tech – all three of which are in the Top 25. But those Ole Miss guards as a whole are better than any of them. They are athletic. They are quick and have a great skill set. Blake Hinson is an athletic, 6-foot-7, four star freshman who may be the solution at the small forward position. It’s more complicated at the post position where Davis alternates with senior Bruce Stevens and Dominik Olejniczak (a 7-footer hailing from Poland). Stevens is an offensively more skilled player, but is currently a liability defensively. Southeastern capitalized on that weakness by sending Moses Greenwood, a Velma Jackson alum, inside to play repeatedly against Stevens. Greenwood, a senior, scored 20 on 9 of 10 shots to lead the Lions. Olejniczak appears much improved. In just 17 minutes, he scored nine points from four of five shots. The deal is that Ole Miss must have both Olejniczak (and Stevens) on the floor in order to be successful SEC play. Davis, who is rarely out-coached, may need to be recruited more interior players. Before opening the SEC season at Vanderbilt on Jan. 5, the Rebels will play three more games that are not conference before moving to SEC. So far so good… Photo gallery by Eric J. Shelton/ Mississippi Today/ Report For America