SuperTalk Mississippi
SportsTalk Mississippi

Notebook: Williamson recalls playing with Shuler, Rebels’ post matchups with OU and experience

Shuler an irreplaceable cog:

It has been written about at length throughout the season, but Ole Miss’ most invaluable piece has been Devontae Shuler’s transition to point guard. It has freed up Breein Tyree to play on the wing and the dynamic of Ole Miss’ offense changed drastically because of it.

“Even from his freshman year, when I was playing point and he was playing the two guard, he grew tremendously in that year,” Tyree said. “But just from freshman year into his sophomore year, just leadership qualities has grown tremendously, to handling the ball, making better decisions, getting the team in the right sets. I don’t want to say taking a backseat to me and T.D., but not taking as many shots and maybe not even getting the spotlight at all times, but he just keeps it going, and he’s a major part of our team.”

Tyree has more freedom off the ball and is better able to flash one of the best mid-range games in college basketball, his ability to make perimeter jump shots and get to the rim. Kermit Davis can run action for Tyree easier off the ball and it also stretches opponents out with Terence Davis on the opposite wing.

Shuler doesn’t often take the bulk of the credit for the team’s successes. But he is the best on-ball defender on the team. He takes care of the basketball late in games, only turning the basketball over 34 times in 569 minutes this year. Kermit Davis has leaned heavily on Shuler to run good half court offense late in games. It is why Ole Miss was able to win at Mississippi State and at Auburn in February and Vanderbilt to begin conference play.

Ole Miss has struggled a little down the stretch in close games lately, but the point still remains that the team’s ability to win on the road was aided tremendously by Shuler’s sure-handedness at point guard as the Rebels salted games away. Shuler had never played point guard until Kermit Davis mentioned it as a possibility last spring, not even in high school at Oak Hill where he was a wing. The transition has been seamless, but that is a credit to Shuler’s adaptability more so than the move itself being easy.

“The biggest thing he’s done, he’s valued the ball,” Kermit Davis said. “He’s a tough, competitive guard on the ball defending. He really has — Breein and T.D. have had these great All-SEC years, but Devontae Shuler has been maybe our most valuable player on the floor.”


Williamson recalls playing with Shuler:

South Carolina natives Devontae Shuler and Zion Williamson are playing close to home this week in Columbia. The two are a year apart, but played on the same AAU team when Williamson was in ninth grade and Devontae Shuler was in 10th grade. Murray State’s Ja Morant was also on that team.

“He has come a long way,” Williamson said. “When I played with Shuler, I was in ninth grade. He was on 10th grade. I was like ‘yeah, he is the best player in the state.’ He would impress me with so much. He would get steals by acting like he got faked out by a spin move, turn right back around. He was an explosive scorer. I remember once he scored 15 straight points. I used to watch in awe of him.”

Rebels lack experienced, but supplement with being battle-tested  in SEC 

A handful of Oklahoma’s players played in the Final Four in 2016. The Sooners played in the NCAA Tournament last year. Conversely, no one on Ole Miss’ roster has played in an NCAA Tournament game. But Kermit Davis believes the Rebels are more than ready for this moment, primarily because of the trials and tribulations that came with enduring the gauntlet that is an 18-game SEC slate.

“I just think that, when you play in leagues like ours, when you’ve played in those kinds of games every night,” Kermit Davis said. I told our team yesterday ‘guys, you’ve been tested in every way possible a college team can get tested by what you went through in an 18-game schedule in this league.’ So they’ve been in these big environments and big arenas. Do you have a little nerves, probably a little jitters first when the ball’s tipped and you get it going? Sure.”

Rebels’ NCAA birth vindicated Davis’ decision to come back

Terence Davis returned to Ole Miss for this reason, this stage and this game. He wanted to play in an NCAA Tournament before he left college. On Friday, he will get that chance when the Rebels tipoff a little before noon central time. When Kermit Davis first addressed his team after accepting the job last March, he told the group that the 2018-19 season would not be a rebuild, citing that is was unfair to Terence Davis as a senior.

That declaration proved to be true and Terence Davis is living out what he imagined.

“It’s unbelievable,” Terence Davis said. “To get to share this moment with some of the guys you’ve been around forever, and just to be here, man, is just special. But we’re not satisfied.”

Tipoff is slated for 11:40 A.M. CT


Bruce Stevens a key match up against Sooners’ undersized forwards

WATCH: Rebels go through practice in Colonial life Arena

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More