Ole Miss will kick off the Kermit Davis era on Friday with an exhibition game against Division II Fayetteville State.
The Rebels had a scrimmage last week against Murray State — who is projected by most to be an NCAA Tournament team come March — and due to NCAA restrictions, Davis wasn’t able to divulge specifics from the meeting. But he noted that everyone played except for freshman Franco Miller, who has been sidelined with an injury. Fellow freshman Luis Rodriguez had also been hampered with an injury, but was able to return and played the final 10 minutes of what was estimated to be a 50-minute affair.
Davis said Miller could return to the floor in two weeks and will be a limited participant next week in practice.
“We learned some things,” Davis said. “We’ve got to guard better. We have to defend better. There is no doubt about that. We have to guard with details and within structure of game plans. I liked our ball movement. We got good play from our two bigs Dom and Bruce.”
Friday’s exhibition showing will be the first organized game Ole Miss has played since embarking on a trip to Canada this summer that saw it play four games against Canadien schools.
Davis said everyone will play on Friday to some degree and hopes his rotation all get double digit minutes. What would that rotation look like if the team was to play a game that counted?
“About nine guys right now, maybe 10,” Davis said. “We always played a bunch of guys at Middle Tennessee, but only guys that deserved to play.”
Rebels limiting turnovers in recent weeks:
Kermit Davis said one of the things he has been pleased with as the season draws near is the Rebels taking care of the basketball and moving it fluidly within the structure of the offense. Turnovers plagued the team in the Canada trip, some of it only natural when learning a new style of offense.
“We were turning the ball over at an unbelievable rate,” Davis said. “We have to get our defense set and the live ball turnovers are something we have to stay away from. Our assist-to-turnover ratio has been better lately.”
What’s stood out?
Kermit Davis has seen flashes from a number of different guys this offseason. He noted the post play — something that badly hurt Ole Miss last year — has been better and that Bruce Stevens is in the best shape he has been in since arriving on campus. Terence Davis has led the team in scoring throughout offseason and Kermit Davis thinks Breein Tyree has become a better defender.
The next step for Terence Davis is becoming a better defender and not relying on his raw, freakish athleticism.
“He has to guard better,” Kermit Davis said, “That is just a matter of fact. He has to stay in his stance longer, more attention to detail. He is our best player and he has to defend like it. He makes progress at times, but he has to be a guy that does it throughout possessions. Not just initially but finish possessions, If he does that, he makes us a totally different team.”
Kermit Davis said Tyree has become one of the better defenders on the team within the structure of their defensive scheme, a significant note for the athletic yet inconsistent point guard.
Tipoff on Friday is set for 6 P.M.