Rahim Lockhart Diary

April 6, 2000

"This season was an educational one for our team. This year taught us a lesson that you have to put a lot of time and effort into anything you want to d ?not only on the basketball court, but also in life. All the returning players realize the commitment we have to make for next season so that we can have another outstanding year. Looking back on the year, I'm proud of the improvements we made as the season progressed. I feel that we've all grown a tremendous amount.

"I think our improvement toward the end of the season came from the fact that each player can't do his own thing if we are to be successful as a team. We all needed to sacrifice something for us to be a better team, and I think we all began to see that in the latter part of the season. I feel we have learned from that, and we are going to make those individual sacrifices earlier next year so that we can have a more successful season.

"This season, for me, was more of a challenge, and I admit that I struggled at times. The year wasn't a struggle in the sense I didn't enjoy it. The struggle came from the fact that I was playing a different role this past season. In my first two seasons at Ole Miss, I wasn't counted upon to be a leader on the team, but as this year progressed, I felt that some of the younger players on the team were looking to me as a leader because I'm a veteran and because of my relationship with Christ. As the season went on, they were looking at me as a leader on and off the floor. It was something I wasn't prepared for because I had not been a leader before, but God showed me how to be a leader and prepared me.

"Next season, there will be a lot of pressure on Jason (Flanigan) and me to be leaders as we are the team's only two four-year seniors. We want to have a great season in our final year at Ole Miss. We've both seen the good times and the bad times. The University and the basketball program has given us both a lot, and in our final season, we want to give something back. We want to leave the program in better shape than when we got here in 1997. We're going to need a lot of help from the other players on the team to do that, but the major responsibility is going to fall on our shoulders because we are the most experienced members on the team.

"I'm expecting a lot out of our returning players next season. In the post, I'm looking for John Gunn to step up. He should be real hungry next year because he was playing so well for us before he got sick (suffered mononucleosis and missed 10 games in February and early March) midway through last season. I also expect Richard Kirklin to pick up his game. He has a strong desire and is also hungry for next year. He didn't get a chance to play a lot this past season because of the experienced players we had at his position. I know he can play in the SEC, and he knows he needs to work on strength and conditioning training in the off-season. I expect him to have a tremendous year. Emmanuel Wade is a tremendous talent, and once he learns to bring a high level of intensity to the court every night, he is going to be unbelievable. Josh Hayes (received a medical redshirt) and Aaron Harper (enrolled at Ole Miss in January, practiced with the team, but did not play)?both of whom sat out this past season?are going to be strong contributors for us next season.

"All the players are going to stay here at Ole Miss at least one term during the summer. I'm staying for both summer terms, and dedicate myself to this last year I have to play college basketball. Too much dedication will never be enough considering the lifetime of memories I'm going to take with me after I finish playing. I believe there is going to be a lot of excitement next year, and we're looking forward to it."


 

 

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