INSIDER: Follow the Leader

By Ben Garrett

OleMissSports.com Insider

 

           

With great power comes great responsibility. As clich as it sounds, the testament holds true especially when that power comes in the form of leadership.

 

Todd Abernethy has been a fixture for the Ole Miss Basketball team since his arrival in Oxford in the summer of 2003, averaging over 28 minutes per game over his career. The senior guard has cemented himself as the captain of a Rebel squad that is now tied for the lead in the SEC Western Division standings following a 75-69 thriller against Alabama Saturday.

 

The SEC assist leader, Abernethy accounted for 6 dimes, while scoring 13 points in a game that vaults the Rebels into serious contention for a possible postseason opportunity.

 

“We’re not content with where we are,” Abernethy said. “We want to win the (SEC) West. We believe we can do that.”

 

Known for his retro-style long hair and arms that would win him a ticket to the gun show, Abernethy has been a vocal leader for the Rebels all season and has kept the team focused as it vies for an SEC Championship.

 

“The biggest thing for us is that we need to take it one game at a time.” said Abernethy. “It’s easy to look ahead and start making plans. We’ve got to finish this out and play sharp the rest of the season.”

 

With the win, Ole Miss (16-8, 5-5) clinched their first winning season in five years, and showed a reoccurring resilience that has been a theme throughout the season.

 

“We just didn’t give up,” Abernethy said. “We’ve been in that situation a lot this year, where we’re down in the second half and have to battle. We might have laid down in the past, but we haven’t lately. All year we’ve kept playing and tried to learn how to finish."

 

A key statistic for Abernethy this season has been his assist/turnover ratio. He leads the SEC and ranks top-five in the NCAA in that category with an average of 3.34 and had no turnovers Saturday, a telling sign of his willingness to control a game.

 

“We had to find a way to win the turnover game, which we did by putting the ball in Todd's hands," said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. "Todd does it every night. (Against Alabama), he played 39 minutes and had 13 points, 6 assists and no turnovers. I will take that line every night."

 

But despite their recent success, Abernethy won’t let this team get overly confident.

 

“We’re fighting for our lives, and we know how important every game is,” Abernethy said. “I don’t think anything is going to change, we’re going to be the same team we’ve always been.”

 

Spoken like a true leader.

 

 

Previous Insider Feature:

Snead Kicks off Rebel Signing Class (February 7, 2007)

 


 

 

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