OLE MISS

November 2012 Archives

Britton On The Rise

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Toby_Devin.JPGAs a freshman in college, Devin Britton took the nation by storm becoming the youngest NCAA Singles Champion in men's tennis history and just the third freshman ever to win the event.  One of the other two in that select company is seven-time grand slam singles champion John McEnroe.  

If you take a look at the top 100 on the ATP Tour, probably less than a handful played collegiate tennis.   John Isner, who achieved a career-high No. 9 in the world and played four years at Georgia, is a rare exception to the rule.  

 Britton's goal is to get to that same stage one day.   Since turning pro in the summer of 2009, he has played on the Futures and Challengers Circuit. This past year the results started to show the hard work and improvement that Britton has made in his game.

Playing in 24 tournaments in 2012, Britton achieved a career-high ranking of No. 129 in doubles and No. 404 in singles including 12 titles, 11 in doubles.  

"I feel good about the progress I have made this year. I feel like the hard work is definitely starting to pay off," Britton said.  "There is a lot of work left to be done though. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I look forward to keeping the numbers moving in the right direction in 2013."

To see how far Britton has come, you have to know where he started.  Unlike his professional counterparts in other team sports, Britton didn't get to walk in on a Super Bowl contending team and experience a high level of success right away.   He started his pro career ranked somewhere over a 1,000 in both singles and doubles.   That's a long way away from the current No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic.  

Steadily improving since making his debut at the 2009 U.S. Open against the greatest player ever (Roger Federer), Britton began the 2012 season No. 741 in singles and No. 358 in doubles before his year-end rise.

"I think I have definitely matured a lot since I first hit the tour," he said.  "It is easy to let the losses get to you out here. I think it takes time to learn how to handle the ups and downs of the tour. I have definitely gotten stronger physically and mentally along the way as well."

Britton has visited Ole Miss many times since he left, including attending this past Saturday's "Egg Bowl" win over arch-rival Mississippi State.  His former coaches and teammates still keep up with him and are not surprised by his results.

"We always believed that it was just a matter of time before Devin was going to make a jump," said Rebel associate head coach Toby Hansson.  "We are really excited for him and look forward to following his continued progress in 2013."

Britton's most recent title came at the JMS Challenger in Champaign, Ill., two weeks ago, where he teamed up with fellow NCAA Champion Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) for their fifth title of the year.

"Austin and I grew up playing together at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.  I have known him forever, and we know each other's games very well," Britton said.  "We complement each other well on the doubles court. He is also left-handed, which is a bonus.

"He won the NCAA doubles title for Texas A&M in 2011, so the only downside is having to see his maroon attire all the time," Britton continued, laughing.  "I'm only kidding, but yes we will continue to play together next year. I am hoping we will get our rankings up enough to get into the French Open and Wimbledon next year."

There is limited time for Britton to reflect on this past season's accomplishments, because 2013 is right around the corner.

"The next step is to continue to improve.  I have to bust it in December to get ready for a big 2013," he said.


Springer, Thomas Enjoying Life Overseas

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Thomas-Springer Pic 1.jpg They said it was as if no time had passed since they'd last seen each other. In reality, it had been months, and former Rebel volleyball players Morgan Springer and Regina Thomas were no longer in Oxford, Miss., digging and killing their way into the Ole Miss record books, instead, they were walking the historic and beautiful streets of Denmark.
   
Life has changed in a big way for the former Ole Miss libero and middle blocker, but volleyball remains a constant. Springer, the Ole Miss career digs record holder, lives in Brondby, Denmark, which sits about 20 minutes outside Copenhagen. Thomas, a two-time All-America selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, lives in Ljungby, Sweeden.

For Springer, life overseas has been wonderful. She lives with two other Americans and a Brazilian, and said she has loved learning about the country and its culture.

"I have noticed people in Denmark are very eco-friendly," Springer said. "Everyone here recycles and most people take public transportation or rides bikes. We ride our bikes daily to the gym and to the grocery. I have also noticed there is a lot more history to be seen here in Denmark. The towns and cities in Denmark are filled with very old buildings and streets. It's pretty awesome to walk down the streets of the city and experience all the history around me."

The volleyball season for Springer lasts seven months. Four matches in, the Louisville, Ky., native's team is currently atop the Danish league, but with three matches against each team in the league, there is still a lot of volleyball to be played. Recently, Springer's team swept a hard fought match, and she was named the Player of the Game following their first match of the season.

Thomas is playing for the Ljungby Volleyball Klub, where her head coach was an assistant at the 2012 Olympics with the Great Britain men's team. Thomas said one of the differences between the play in Europe and back home is the independence.

"You really have to be responsible for yourself," Thomas said. "Our coaches trust us to do our own workouts. There's no one over your shoulder, but you better make sure you're doing what you need to be doing or it'll show."

Similar to Springer, the season is young for Thomas' team, but she has already been named player of the game twice in her team's first five matches.

A few weeks ago, the two former Ole Miss stars got to get together in Denmark and relished the opportunity to catch up.

"It was great to see Regina in Denmark," Springer said. "She was the first person I had seen from home that I knew before coming to Denmark. It was like no time had passed since we had last seen each other. I was able to take her into the city and show her around."

"Seeing Morgan was great," Thomas said. "I drove with my coach, who was actually meeting his girlfriend there, and then I took a train into her town. Figuring out the train on my own was quite the adventure, but we had a great time. We went into the city, did some shopping, had dinner with her roommates and just hung out. I actually got to watch her play the next day too which was nice. She has a very talented group of girls on her team."

While Thomas is enjoying her time overseas, she said there is one thing she misses that she didn't think she would.

"I miss school," Thomas said. "I just miss that challenge. When we're here our only focus is volleyball, nothing else. Back at home we had more to juggle and I found that fun."

Get To Know Devin Thomas

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Senior Day is rapidly approaching for our football team, and one of the many good guys in this class is running back Devin Thomas, who has piled up the accolade off the field. Among them, the San Antonio native was named to the SEC Community Service Team, Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and the university's Outstanding Junior in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Devin was the subject of a recent feature on the main site as well as the following interview with the Geology department.



Follow me on twitter @CampbellKyle.

Rebel Legends At ATP Finals

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Former NCAA Doubles Champion Mahesh Bhupathi has won 12 grand slam titles during his illustrious pro career, but the one thing he has yet to take home is the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals trophy.  Four times a runner-up, Bhupathi will get another shot at the elusive trophy today with his current partner and fellow countryman, Rohan Bopanna, as the two take on the Spanish team of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the final. 

Tennis Channel will air the final at Noon CT.  This match will serve as an appetizer to the main course, the singles final featuring Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. 

Bhupathi and Bopanna, who won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in Paris last week, reached the finals in London for the first time as a duo, beating Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in three sets.  Click here for a recap of Bhupathi and Bopanna's thrilling semifinal win on Sunday. 

On hand in London this week to watch their former teammate are a couple of Rebel standouts themselves--All-Americans Johan Landsberg and Ali Hamadeh, who teamed up with Bhupathi to win the 1995 NCAA Doubles title. 

Rebel legends.jpg



At Ole Miss, we strive to have the best possible gameday experience at all of our venues.  We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and useful amenities as well as using audio and video to create an environment that gives our Rebels a home court advantage.  

While a new arena is on the horizon, we recognize the need to constantly improve Tad Smith Coliseum.  Here are some changes that you'll see at tonight's basketball doubleheader:

- Approximately six traffic coordinators have been added around campus to improve the flow of traffic pre-game and post-game.
- All ticket takers and security personnel have been given extensive customer service training.
- Exterior graphics at the main entrance will be installed over the next several weeks.
- To encourage student participation, the student section has been rebranded "Club Red."
- The student section has been completely repainted to align with the Club Red concept.
- All exterior doors with the exception of the student entrance have been painted grey.
- All portal signage has been made more efficient, therefore eliminating clutter.
- Additional signage has been added for restrooms.
- Various in-bowl signage has been updated.
- Various areas of the concourse and restrooms have been repainted, with additional aesthetic improvements coming.
- A new "leg room" section has been created.  To learn more, call the UMAA Foundation at: 888-REB-TKTS.
- All carpet in the court side seating section has been replaced.
- All chairs in the court side seating section will be replaced in January.
- In-seat wait service will be available to all patrons in the court side seating section.
- Queue lines for concessions have been added to reduce congestion in the concourse.
- TVs will be added near concessions locations.
- Chops BBQ has been added between portals 6 & 7.
- Chick-fil-A and Papa Johns have been located between portals 13 & 14.
- A brand new Rebel Grill has been added outside portal 3 and will service fresh grilled burgers with homemade chips.
- The popular refillable souvenir soda has been added to the concessions offering for only $5.
- Bottled water price has been reduced from $4 to $3 at all basketball games.
- Kids meals (hot dog, chips, and CapriSun) have been added for $5.
- The informative bottom line "ticker" will be present on the video board at all times.
- Look for a new and improved www.olemisshoops.com next week as we transition the site into a gameday central.  It will feature all of the upcoming game information including promotions, a feedback button for all fans, and much more.

The women tip-off at 5:30 p.m. and the men tip-off at 8:00 p.m.  So come check out the Rebels.  Don't worry about dinner, because with all of the new food amenities, we have everything you need.  See you at the game!

The European Tour School began play today this week with former Ole Miss golfer Callum Macaulay in the field.  The 304-player field tees off at four courses across Spain, where golfers compete to participate in a six-round final at the PGA Catalunya Resort and ultimately fighting for a European Tour card.  The four host venues for Stage Two include Campo de Golf El Saler, in Valencia, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, in Alicante, Lumine Golf & Beach Club, in Tarragona, and El Valle Golf Resort, in Murcia where Macaulay will participate. A native of Scotland, Macaulay golfed at Ole Miss from 2003-2007, earning All-SEC honors in 2007 and leading the Rebels to the 2007 NCAA East Regional.
bilde.jpgLike every college football program, we have what seems like more than 100 team managers, most of which I never get the chance to know. But I remember Garrett Jackson. The Brookhaven native was doing grunt work for Equipment Manager Ken Crain from 2005-08. I'm not going to claim I could always recall his name back then, but I have awesome memories of him cracking me up on some bus trips. Garrett would wear a coaches' headset during games, and his recount of staff dialogue from the Coach O years are to this day some of the most hilarious Ole Miss football stories I've ever heard.

Garrett has probably picked up a few more good tales since his days with the Rebels. Since 2010, he has been the personal assistant or "body man" for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Since serving as the designated chair holder at an Iowa speaking event last fall, Garrett has been the subject of features by the New York Times, Associated Press, Clarion Ledger and even NBC's Rock Center (see below). Despite the chaos of the campaign trail, Garrett has continued to cheer hard for the Rebels with constant #hottytoddy and #flagshipfriday tweets from @dgjackson, including an occasional Ole Miss pic from the road.

We'll know tonight whether Garrett's next trip will take him to the White House, but regardless of the destination, you can guarantee the path will have plenty of laughs ... and a few hotty toddies.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Follow me on twitter @CampbellKyle.

Conerly Trophy Watch List

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Ole Miss has three players on the watch list for the Conerly Trophy, which is presented annually to Mississippi's top college football player. Redshirt-freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, junior running back Jeff Scott and sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace made the list. See the press release below for more details, including a live forum at 1 p.m. today with Rick Cleveland to discuss the watch list:

Ridgeland, Miss. (November 5, 2012) - C Spire Wireless, the only wireless provider in the U.S. that offers consumers and businesses a suite of personalized wireless services, is hosting its first live online forum, in partnership with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, to officially announce the C Spire Wireless Conerly Trophy "watch list" and to discuss with fans which Mississippi collegiate football star is most likely to win the coveted award.

Rick Cleveland, the legendary Clarion-Ledger sports columnist and executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, will lead the discussion and answer fan questions about who may have the "inside track" to win the C Spire Conerly Trophy, given annually to Mississippi's best college football player. 

The live discussion will take place on CIRCLE, C Spire's online community forum, on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.   Anyone can join the online forum by visiting www.cspire.com/circle and registering for the discussion.  Fans will have the unique opportunity to ask questions, offer opinions and fully participate in the forum.  Just by registering and posting a question, participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes ranging from game tickets to smartphone devices.  

"The C Spire Wireless Conerly Trophy has become an annual tradition for both Mississippi college football fans and players.  This year, the race to win the award is a close one with so many talented athletes in the running," said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire Wireless.  "This year is particularly special with our new online, live forum on CIRCLE, engaging football fans throughout the state and giving them the opportunity to interact with Rick Cleveland and discuss who they think should be the rightful owner of the C Spire Conerly Trophy this year.  This forum is just another way C Spire is enhancing our customers' overall wireless experience with personalized, exclusive opportunities just for them." 

Rick Cleveland, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, echoed Richmond's excitement for the upcoming forum, which he will lead.  "I've had a passion for Mississippi football my entire life and I've been lucky enough to write about it and be a part of all of its thrills," Cleveland said.  "C Spire's live forum on CIRCLE to discuss this year's Conerly Trophy watch list is an entirely new way to engage fans who are passionate about Mississippi college football. I'm looking forward to discussing these talented young athletes and interacting with all of the forum participants."

The 2012 C Spire Conerly Trophy watch list, in alphabetical order:

  • Mississippi College wide receiver Alex Archer: Added three catches for 38 yards on Senior Day in MC's 70-28 loss to Louisiana College.  Now has 37 catches for 712, ranking him second in the American Southwest Conference.
  • Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks: The senior All America candidate was in on eight tackles against Texas A&M.  He is a semifinalist for both the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik national awards.
  • Southern Miss defensive end Jamie Collins:  A bright spot in a dismal season, Collins had nine tackles (four for losses) and three sacks.  He also forced two fumbles and broke up a pass in USM's loss to UAB.  He leads USM with 73 tackles, 16 tackles for losses and nine sacks.
  • Jackson State defensive end Joseph LeBeau:  A senior from New Orleans, LeBeau had six tackles and one sack in a victory over Grambling.  Now has 15.5 tackles for loss.
  • Alcorn kick returner Terrance Lewis: Caught five passes for 35 years in loss to Mississippi Valley State.  Now has 27 catches on the season.  The senior all-SWAC returner ranks second in the league in kickoff returns and fourth in all-purpose yardage.
  • Belhaven cornerback Justin Mims:  Had five tackles and broke up three passes in a victory over Pikeville.  The junior ranks fourth in NAIA with four interceptions, including two he has returned for touchdowns.
  • Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche: Had eight tackles and forced two fumbles in loss to Georgia.  He leads Ole Miss with 60 tackles, including nine for losses and two sacks.  He also has two pass interceptions.
  • Mississippi State running back LaDarius Perkins: Carried the ball 13 times for 42 yards against Texas A&M.  He ranked second in the SEC in rushing and first in all-purpose yardage entering the weekend.
  • Millsaps quarterback Garrett Pinciotti: Completed 27 of 41 passes for 310 yards in a victory over Austin.  The senior has thrown for 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions and has won conference player of the week twice.
  • Jackson State wide receiver Rico Richardson: Had five catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in JSU's victory over Grambling.  This senior from Natchez has caught 50 passes for 927 yards and eight touchdowns.
  • Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell: Completed 19 of 30 passes for 212 yards against Texas A&M.  The junior has thrown for 16 touchdowns, compared to just three interceptions.  He has thrown for 1,944 yards.
  • Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott:  Ran 13 times for 21 yards and caught three passes for 24 yards against Georgia.  The junior has run for 633 yards on 126 carries.  He has six touchdowns rushing and another on a pass reception.
  • Mississippi Valley State defensive tackle Robert Simpson:  Recorded three tackles, one and half for loss and a sack in a victory over Alcorn.  Leads the NCAA championship division with 17.5 tackles for loss.
  • Delta State linebacker Ixavier Triplett: Did not play Saturday.  The junior from Scott Central has amassed 29.5 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles in his career at DSU.
  • Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace: Completed 16 of 25 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown against Georgia.  He has thrown for 1,836 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Has also scored five touchdowns running and one receiving.
  • Southern Miss cornerback Deron Wilson: Wilson  had eight tackles and a pass interception, which returned for 20 yards against UAB.  He ranks second on USM's all-time passes defended list with 33 passes broken up.
  • Mississippi Valley linebacker Keven Woods:  The senior has recorded 71 tackles, seven for a loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

CIRCLE

C Spire's CIRCLE engages consumers in a two-way conversation and offers them a unique platform to communicate and share their thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes with other CIRCLE members - creating a true wireless community.  CIRCLE also allows C Spire to listen to what their customers have to say - giving the company the ability to create unique experiences based on direct customer feedback. 

"Personalizing the wireless experience isn't just about products and services, it's also about creating a community where sharing and engaging with others is encouraged and rewarded," Richmond said.  "CIRCLE gives us the opportunity to get to know our customers better and provide them with a unique, personalized wireless experience that is tailored just for them - something that just can't be found at any other wireless provider."

Personalized Wireless

Personalized wireless at C Spire is a compilation of a number of different wireless services and programs that combine to reflect and serve each customer's unique needs.  Customers will see this unique personalization in apps and content that fit who they are, services that anticipate their needs, and rewards they'll get just for using their phone in new ways. 

For more information on C Spire's Conerly Trophy CIRCLE Forum, or C Spire's Personalized Wireless services, visit www.cspire.com.

About C Spire Wireless

C Spire Wireless is a diversified wireless communications company passionately committed to helping customers by personalizing wireless services designed just for them.  The company is the first provider in the U.S. to personalize customers' wireless experience by offering apps that fit who they are, services that anticipate their needs, and rewards for using their phone in new ways - all with seamless ease and at amazingly fast speeds.  This news release and other announcements are available at http://www.cspire.com/news/.  For more information about C Spire Wireless and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.

Aaron Barrett To Play In AFL Rising Star Game Tonight

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Former Rebel pitcher Aaron Barrett will take the field tonight for the Arizona Fall League's annual Rising Stars Game as a member of the East Division Team. The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. CT on the MLB Network. He posted 16 saves for Hagerstown in Low A ball before moving up to High A where he has posted a save and a 1.06 ERA through 11 appearances since moving up.

Barrett helped the Rebels claim the 2009 SEC Championship and was drafted in the ninth round by the Washington Nationals following the 2010 season.

London Calling Bhupathi

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Rebel netter alum Mahesh Bhupathi punched his ticket to the ATP World Tour Finals in doubles with his partner Rohan Bopanna.  The pair clinched the eighth and final spot in the season-ending event, which kicks off next week in London.

On Friday, the fifth seeded Indian duo scored a 6-7, 6-3, 10-4 win over 4th seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Paris. The Polish pair were also in contention for the final spot in London and the winner of Friday's quarterfinal was going to clinch the final spot.

Bhupathi and Bopanna have won 2 ATP titles this season.



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