Rebels Relying on Guard Play Against Mississippi State

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Andy Kennedy has made his team's path to success this season abundantly clear. Ole Miss has to play with a blue-collar mentality on the defensive end and needs its guards to carry most of the scoring load.
The latter was part of the issue in the team's 71-60 loss at Georgia on Wednesday. Although the Rebels got 45 of their 60 points from the five guards that played in the game, Kennedy believes more production needs to occur in order to win games.
"I have made no bones about this," Kennedy said. "If we are going to be successful, then our guards have to carry us. It is not just one guy. I have always looked at it as five guys are going to play, and they're all averaging 20 minutes per game."
Breein Tyree led the Rebels with 17 points and Devontae Shuler followed with 11 of his own. However, Ole Miss got just eight combined points from the likes of Terence Davis and senior Deandre Burnett-- the team's two leading scorers on the season.
It was around this time last year that Davis took the SEC by storm, flashing his raw athleticism and quickness in transition that made him a nightmare for opposing defenses simply because there were times he beat the defense down the court. The junior guard has struggled in his last two games partly due to foul trouble, Davis' biggest reoccurring issue, but mostly because he has struggled to find a rhythm.
Davis got into foul trouble in the Rebels' SEC opening win over South Carolina and spent most of the game on the bench. He believes that is making him think too much instead of doing what he does best-- being aggressive and attacking the rim.
"It has been very frustrating," Davis said. "The slow start to SEC play is going through my mind. Nothing I can do about it now except get better. I have been thinking too much and not thinking enough about just going and making plays."
Kennedy's message to Davis has been the same it has always been since the two met for the first time when Davis was a recruit - attack the rim.
"I tell him that daily because that is where his strength is," Kennedy said. "Obviously, now it is a completely different way in which he needs to approach the game. He played very little as a freshman. As a sophomore, he took the league by storm this time last year and really started producing.  Now, as our leading scorer, if he is not the first name in our opponent's scouting report he is certainly at the top of his list. They are trying to take away what his strengths are. He cannot give in to that."
With teams trying to take Davis out of the game, he has succumbed to a little bit of it by taking more jump shots, something he must be cognizant of when he is on the floor.
"I think some of that probably is allowing the defense to prevent him from getting to his spot," Kennedy said. "Great offensive players always get to their spot."
Davis believes it is all internal.
"It's nothing other teams are doing," Davis said. "It is all me. It is changing my mindset and staying in attack mode."
Shot selection has been the route of the issue in terms of the guards not scoring. Kennedy discusses it with them almost daily. Some of it is shots simply not falling, but some of it is also preventable.
"That is kind of our style of play, volume shooting and scoring in bunches," Tyree said. "Some of our shot selection has been bad decisions. We have to tighten that up, but Coach (Kennedy) wants us to keep shooting and stay aggressive."
"I don't think misses become contagious. I think bad shot selection becomes contagious."
Ole Miss returns home Saturday to take on a Mississippi State team that is 13-1 and knocked off 23rd-ranked Arkansas earlier this week. The Bulldogs defend well and are big inside. It will be a challenge for the Rebel guards to get to the rim. 
"They are athletic," Kennedy said. "I think Nick Weatherspoon, for a freshman, is as good as I have ever seen on the ball in creating ball pressure. They have length and athleticism on the wings. I think the biggest difference compared to last year is they have a true shot blocker at the rim."
The game will also feature two strong backcourts, a challenge for a backcourt that is eager to get back on track.
"Those five guys are the strength of our team and they have to play as such," Kennedy said. "Saturday is no exception."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

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    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

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    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

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