Ole Miss Takes Part In SEC Basketball Media Days
Ole Miss men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy, women's coach Renee Ladner and players Terrico White and Bianca Thomas participated in SEC Media Days Thursday in Birmingham, Ala. The following quotes are from their visit.Men’s Head Coach Andy Kennedy
On the expectations for the season...
"We are healthy, happy, focused and excited about getting our guys back. We are excited about seeing a growth in the program with high expectations. When you have what we went through last year with season ending injuries, it changed our guys focus and it really made them focus right where they needed to so I am excited about the season."
On Terrico White...
"That was the silver line if you are looking for the positive in what we went through last year. We asked him to transform into a point guard and lead his SEC team and he took on the challenge. He continued that maturation through the summer by being a member of the gold medal winning USA team and that continued his growth. He has more understanding of the day-to-day rigors of this league and he is also excited to see his teammates back with him to give us more versatility and success."
On the Southeastern Conference this year...
"I am excited about where the league is. I think from a balanced stand point it is as strong as it has been in quite some time and our marquis players are back. The top of the league is going to be where I believe we are going to have three, four, five teams in the top 25 week in and week out. Kentucky is the most historic program in college basketball and (John) Calipari brings instant credibility for what he has done. I think there is a buzz in the league and rightfully so."
Terrico White, G, So.
On the expectations for the season...
"With everybody back from injuries, word is getting around that Ole Miss is going to be good this year. There are people starting to take notice, and we are really going to surprise some people this year. We have more options this season. We can start four guards or go big and have me at the point."
On last season...
"Coach asked me about playing point guard so my whole mindset had to change from playing a 2 guard all my life to playing point guard, but it really came easy to me."
On the rivalry with Mississippi State...
"The rivalry has been there for years, so having us top two in the west is even more exciting."
Women’s Head Coach Renee Ladner
On going into the season...
"I am looking forward to six seniors doing their part. We are finally a veteran team, a team that understands the urgency of it all, and understands that once you get into big games you have to finish. I think we had a lot of on-the-job training last year. We learned a lot of valuable lessons. For the most part, I think they have a better understanding of it all."
On the team’s strengths...
"We have guard strength. Bianca Thomas is the leading scorer in the SEC, returning. She had some big moments last year and got better as we progressed throughout the season. She is now leading her team in the right direction. She comes to work every day. When your best player comes to work every day, she has expectations and the other players will step up for her. Shantell Black has had a lot of experience. She leads the SEC in assists. Collectively, we hope those two can start a fire and keep it rolling."
On competition in the league this season...
"You have to come prepared to play top-to-bottom, every day. The media has to rank someone one through 12, but I am not sure anyone can get that right. I just tell my players every day to play one game at a time and play each game individually. You have to come prepared to play hard because on any night of the SEC you could win or lose."
Bianca Thomas, G, Sr.
On being double-teamed...
"My game is still the same. I just have to play smarter, read my screens better and just create opportunities for myself."
On senior reliability...
"Leadership and experience, we only have one new freshman, and everyone else is a returning player. We are just ready to go far this year."
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