Ole Miss Opens 2005-06 Campaign At Jim Thorpe Classic
Nov. 17, 2005
OLE MISS OPENS 2005-06 CAMPAIGN AT JIM THORPE CLASSIC
BARNES ENTERS EIGHTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR
In 2000-01, Barnes was the SEC Coach of the Year, and guided Ole Miss to a school-record 27 wins and the program's first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth. Another winning season and postseason tournament followed in 2001-02 -- both were the sixth straight for the Ole Miss program.
Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. A 1988 graduate of Ole Miss, Barnes served as an assistant under Evans from 1993-98. During his time as an assistant coach, the Rebels compiled a record of 76-63 and won back-to-back Southeastern Conference Western Division titles and received consecutive NCAA Tournament berths in 1997 and 1998. Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1984-88 and was an All-American honorable mention his senior season. He is the only person in SEC history to earn both All-SEC and SEC Coach of the Year honors.
EXHIBITION: OLE MISS 91, SPRING HILL 70
OLE MISS IN OPENERS
OLE MISS IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS
In 2001-02, the Rebels placed fourth at the BP Top of the World Classic, notching wins over Wichita State (80-68) and host Alaska-Fairbanks (75-58) but falling to Bowling Green (82-78) in the opener. In 2000-01, Ole Miss placed second at the Yahoo! Sports Invitational (formerly Pearl Harbor Invitational). The Rebels defeated Southern Illinois (70-66) and Southern Cal (84-83, ot), but came up short against Iowa State (73-68) in the championship game.
In 1999-2000, Ole Miss won the inaugural SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament in Greenville, S.C., defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, 57-53 in the title game. Prior to that tournament title, the Rebels' previous regular-season tournament crown came in the 1993-94 season, a 78-74 victory over Southern Mississippi in the Cellular South/Mississippi Beach Shootout (one-game tournament). The previous time Ole Miss won a two-day tournament title was in the 1988-89 campaign when the Rebels claimed the Bayou Classic championship with wins over Southern (90-88) and Nicholls State (74-53).
The Jim Thorpe Classic will be only the ninth three-day tournament for the Rebels in their history. The last three-day tournament came a year ago at the BCA Classic. The Rebels' other three-day tournaments were at the BP Top of the World Classic in 2001-02, the Yahoo! Sports Invitational in 2000-01, the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament (Greenville, S.C.) in 1999-2000, Puerto Rico Holiday Classic (San Juan, Puerto Rico) in 1998-99, All-College Tournament (Oklahoma City, Okla.) in 1972-73, Gulf South Tournament (Shreveport, La.) in 1960-61 and All-American City Tournament (Owensboro, Ky.) in 1954-55.
SCOUTING THE THUNDERBIRDS
Also back is junior point guard Steve Barnes, who led SUU and ranked third in the Mid-Con in assists with a 4.54 average along with a 6.2 scoring clip. In his 14th season at Southern Utah, head coach Bill Evans is looking for his first winning season since his 2001 unit finished 25-6 and reached the NCAA Tournament.
OLE MISS-SOUTHERN UTAH SERIES
REBELS VERSUS THE MID-CON
Centenary 5-6 Chicago State 0-0 IUPUI 1-0 UMKC 0-0 Oakland 1-0 Oral Roberts 4-0 Southern Utah 0-0 Valparaiso 1-1 Western Illinois 0-0 12-7
NEW BEGINNINGS FOR REBELS
After earning SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors a year ago, junior guard Todd Abernethy is expected to return to the starting lineup this season. The Carmel, Ind., native boasts career averages of 6.9 points and 2.7 assists with a 2.2/1 assist/turnover ratio.
Sophomore center Dwayne Curtis will see his first action with the Rebels this year after transferring from Auburn, where he played in 19 games starting five for the Tigers in 2003-04. Also joining the Rebels is an incoming class that was ranked as high as third in the nation by recruiting publications.
OLE MISS FACES STRONG SLATE
The non-conference slate is highlighted by New Mexico at the seson-opening Jim Thorpe Classic as well as home encounters with Memphis, Saint Louis and two-time Southland Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana.
The Rebels are beginning SEC play on the road for the seventh time in Barnes' eight years at the helm, and will start the conference schedule against Alabama for the first time since the 1977-78 season. Ole Miss faces each Western Division opponent (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State) twice on a home-and-home basis.
Ole Miss hosts SEC Eastern Division foes South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt, and travel to Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. The SEC Tournament returns to Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center.
TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES
TOP OF THE CLASS
Todd Abernethy was the SEC Sixth Man of the Year last season. A sophomore guard and team captain, Abernethy became the first Rebel to receive the honor, which was first awarded by the conference last year. The Carmel, Ind. native started the first 34 games of his collegiate career, but moved to the sixth-man role against Memphis in December. In his 21 games off the pine, Abernethy provided Ole Miss with quality minutes at both point guard and shooting guard. As a reserve, he posted eight double-figure scoring outings and seven games with four or more assists.
REBELS INK TWO FOR 2006-07
The son of former Rebel assistant coach Eric Bozeman, Solomon was the Oxford Eagle Player of the Year in 2005, when he scored 25.1 points per game as a junior at Oxford High School. Bozeman also averaged 6.6 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range. Bozeman will finish his prep career this season at Magnolia High School in Magnolia, Ark., where his father is the head coach at Southern Arkansas. Eric Bozeman accepted the head position at SAU after seven years on Barnes' Ole Miss staff.
A native of Indianapolis, Terry averaged 14 points and 13 rebounds a game last year for Southport High School, where he also earned state track honors in the high jump. He transferred from Southport to Southside High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., for his senior season. Terry played summer ball with Fort Wayne-based Blessed IJN and dropped in over 30 points a game with 14 boards at the prestigious Hoosier Shootout in July.
Also new to the Rebel lineup in 2006-07 will be Justin Cerasoli, who transferred to Ole Miss from Seton Hall in July. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard is practicing with the team this fall but is ineligible for the 2005-06 season by NCAA transfer rules. Cerasoli may begin playing in the 2006-07 campaign with three years of eligibility remaining.
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