Kennedy Challenges Burnett to Assume Leadership Role
Nov. 14, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com

He’s the oldest man in uniform most nights when he suits up. At 23-years old, and soon to be 24 in January, Ole Miss shooting guard Deandre Burnett is being called upon by his head coach to grab ahold of his team’s locker room, one filled with young talent and a team capable of going to heights the program hasn’t seen in some time.

“As the oldest guy on the floor, he has to be more open and loud and take more ownership of the locker room,” Andy Kennedy said. “I am going to keep challenging him to do so.”

He’s already done so to the extent of accepting a bench role in the season’s first two games as a byproduct of a crowded backcourt with a lot of young talent. Burnett doesn’t mind, this is his last season. He wants to go to the NCAA Tournament and make a run, at whatever cost that may come.

“AK (Kennedy) has always told me my role hasn’t changed just because I am coming off the bench,” Burnett. “We have a lot of good guards. Someone has to come off the bench so I feel like I was the best guy for that job, sacrificing for the team. I am fine with it. We have a good team, and I don’t mind coming off the bench.”

The offense went through Burnett often last year. He averaged 16.5 points per game. He made 131 shots on 39 attempts, just under 36 percent from the field. By comparison, he shot 37.6 percent from three-point range. The issue? Being efficient.

Burnett scored 17 points on 4-of-8 shooting in Monday’s win over Eastern Kentucky, a step in the right direction. The ball has been in his hands in the final minutes of both games. There’s a trust there between Kennedy and his most experienced player.

“It’s more efficient than I was last year,” Burnett said. “That was the plan was for me to be more efficient this year. That is the biggest takeaway from last year was winning more games and me being more efficient. This year, we are 2-0 and I have been more efficient. It’s a good start.”

Kennedy still wants more out of Burnett. He’d like for Burnett to become a better on-ball defender, and the smartest player on the floor.

“Dre (Burnett) has to be an angles master,” Kennedy said. “He has to always be thinking one step ahead of the game because physically, he is not going to be able to make that difference up. He knows that. I tell him literally 17 times a day.”

Burnett knows this team can be the best he’s played on and knows it’s a matter of the pieces meshing. He’s willing to accept any role that helps accomplish that.

“We have a lot of new guys out there,” Burnett said. “Everybody is just settling in and getting used to each other. We had 30 practices, but it is not like the game. Once we get settled in we will play even more together because we have a very unselfish group.”

His accepting a new and unfamiliar role is a testament to the unselfishness he referred to.

Burnett’s had a journey of a career. It began at Miami with flashes of success but was dampened by injuries. He came to Ole Miss looking to be Kennedy’s next great volume scorer. He’s on his way to doing that, while also becoming a mentor to young players like Devontae Shuler and Breein Tyree.

“I try to do that a lot,” Burnett said. “The young guys are on my team a lot in practice so I try to talk them through where they need to be on the court. I just have to understand they are new to this and do my best to lead them.”


 

 

    • SIDEBAR: Kessinger and Fortes Team Up to Top Tigers

      Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Baseball

      Sitting atop the Ole Miss lineup and the first to dig into the batter's box, a conscious effort to be aggressive early in counts from shortstop Grae Kessinger has led to a productive beginning to his sophomore campaign. And... read more

    • Madlock's Experience to Lead Rebels Down the Stretch

      Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      By Brian Scott Rippee Tony Madlock has over 20 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. Madlock was in his fourth year as an assistant coach for former head coach Andy Kennedy's staff before assuming the role of... read more

    • SIDEBAR: A Look Back at an Ole Miss Sweep of Winthrop

      Sunday, February 18, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - Grae Kessinger got just enough of the bat on a breaking ball on the outside corner from Winthrop's Dalton Whitaker. The ball squirted towards the hole on the left side and grazed the outstretched glove of Eagle... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Clutch Hitting Drives Rebels in Game 2

      Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - The pitch came out of Winthrop's Colton Rendon's hand at 81 mph with the intention of breaking but hung as it floated towards Cole Zabowski at the plate. The sophomore first baseman turned and crushed it... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Rolison, Rebels Roll Past Winthrop in Opener

      Friday, February 16, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - A dominant summer in the Cape Cod League brought forth some lofty expectations for Ole Miss' Ryan Rolison, something he's never shied away from.The sophomore lefty certainly lived up to them on opening day as he put... read more

    • Rebel Alums: Where are They Now

      Thursday, February 15, 2018 - Men's Tennis

      In our second installment of Rebel Alums: Where are They Now, we take a look at the All-American twin duo of Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann.In 2012, Marcel Thiemann became the fourth player in Ole Miss men's tennis history to... read more

    • Baseball Releases 2018 Walk Out Songs

      Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - Baseball

      With the first pitch of the 2018 season just days away, check out the much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by tagging @OleMissBSB and using the hashtag #RebWalkOuts.#1 Jacob Adams:... read more

    • Bianco Previews 2018 Team At Media Day

      Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - Baseball

      By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com Mike Bianco spoke with a sense of excitement in his voice as he stood at a podium in the Diamond Club seating area at Swayze Field at media day. Ole Miss opens its 2018... read more

    • Kennedy Leaves Ole Miss Better Than He Found It

      Monday, February 12, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com One of the first things Andy Kennedy said on Monday afternoon following the announcement that he would step down at the end of next season is that he felt a sense of calmness and... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Outfield

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Softball

      The final edition of our Ole Miss softball preview looks at the Rebel outfield, a speedy and athletic group that head coach Mike Smith is excited about heading into the 2018 season.Left Field: Elantra CoxThe senior is an electric... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Pitchers

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Softball

      Part two of our Ole Miss softball preview takes a look at the Rebel pitchers. This group was headlined by Kaitlin Lee last season with Brittany Finney, Morgan Bruce and others providing solid options as well. Head Coach Mike... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Infield

      Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Softball

      Coming off the most successful season in program history, Ole Miss Softball begins its 2018 season on Friday. The Rebels come into the season ranked as high as 15th in the country and were on the cusp of reaching... read more

    • FRESH FACES: Softball's Abbey Latham

      Friday, February 2, 2018 - Softball

      In the 10th and final of a 10-part series introducing the Ole Miss softball newcomers for the 2018 season, Friday's profile features first baseman/designated player Abbey Latham. Abbey Latham | 1B/DP | R/R | 5-11 | Fr. | Livingston,... read more

    • Scholtz Looks Forward to Davis Cup

      Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Men's Tennis

      OXFORD, Miss. - While his alma mater kicks off a big weekend with two home matches at their brand new indoor tennis center, Rebel All-American Nik Scholtz will be representing his home country, South Africa, in Davis Cup at the... read more

    • National Team Training Camp an Eye-Opening Experience for Kizer

      Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Soccer

      OXFORD, Miss. - CeCe Kizer established herself as one of the SEC's premier attacking players in 2017, and last month she showcased her skills at an even higher level at a training camp with the United States Under-23 National Team.The week-long training... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook