Ole Miss Set For Season Opener Against Jacksonville State

Nov. 18, 1999

Game #1
Jacksonville State vs. Ole Miss
Friday, November 19 - 7:30 p.m.
Tad Smith Coliseum - Oxford, Miss.

The Ole Miss Rebels (0-0, 0-0 SEC) will open their 1999-2000 regular season on Friday, Nov. 19 against Jacksonville State (0-0, 0-0 TAAC). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels defeated Spirit Express, 90-67 and MBK-Odessa Ukraine, 51-25 in their two exhibition games. The Jacksonville State Gamecocks split their two exhibition contests, falling to World Basketball Opportunities, 89-88 and defeating Korabel-Ukraine, 80-71.

Rebels on Television and Radio

Television: None

Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)

Friday's game will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The Rebels may face as many as four first-time opponents this season. Ole Miss will play Jacksonville State on Friday and Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 7. In the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament Nov. 26-28 in Greenville, S.C., the Rebels will meet either Oregon State or South Carolina State on the tournament's second day and could face Old Dominion or Central Florida on the third day. Last season, Ole Miss posted a 4-2 record in its meetings against first-time opponents. The Rebels defeated Alabama A&M (89-45), West Alabama (101-68), Oklahoma (75-72) and Villanova (72-70) and lost to Ohio State (67-62) and Michigan State (74-66). Ohio State and Michigan State advanced to last year's NCAA Tournament Final Four.

PROBABLE STARTERS (1998-99 stats)
* Based on last exhibition game

No.  Player (Yr.)           Pos.  Ht.   Wt.   PPG/RPG   Hometown
20   Jason Holmes (Jr.)*    G     6-5   200   17.9/6.0  Tylertown, Miss.
22   Jason Flanigan (Jr.)   G     6-1   175   4.8/2.6   Little Rock, Ark.
24   Marcus Hicks (Sr.)     F     6-6   200   11.7/5.4  Jackson, Tenn.
25   Lataryl Williams (Sr.) F     6-7   200   3.1/1.5   Oxford, Miss.
44   Rahim Lockhart (Jr.)   F     6-8   250   7.4/4.9   Mendenhall, Miss.


No.  Player (Yr.)           Pos.  Ht.   Wt.   PPG/RPG   Hometown
3    Rodney Driver (Jr.)*   G     6-0   180   4.1/2.8   Etta, Miss.
11   Jason Harrison (So.)   G     5-5   150   6.3/1.7   Little Rock, Ark.
15   Ray Waddell (Jr.)*     G     5-9   165   6.2/3.1   Philadelphia, Miss.
21   Darrian Brown (So.)    G/F   6-6   200   4.1/2.0   West Memphis, Ark.
23   Syniker Taylor (Fr.)*  G     6-0   195   27.8/4.8  Gulfport, Miss.#
30   Josh Hayes (Fr.)*      F     6-7   190   16.5/6.7  Little Rock, Ark.
31   John Gunn (Fr.)*       F/C   6-10  245   13.4/10.5 Oxford, Miss.
32   Emmanuel Wade (Fr.)*   G     6-3   185   28.2/8.7  Marianna, Ark.
45   Richard Kirklin (Fr.)* F     6-9   200   15.3/10.2 Pine Bluff, Ark.
54   John Engstrom (So.)    C     7-0   245   1.0/1.8   Paragould, Ark.

* denotes high school or junior college averages
# will join the team following the football season

The Gamecocks, a member of the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC), enter the 1999-2000 campaign after posting an 8-18 overall record and a 3-10 TAAC mark last season. Jacksonville State returns nine letterwinners and five starters from last year's team. Leading the way for the Gamecocks will be sophomore guard Rashard Willie, who averaged 12.6 points and 4.6 rebounds. In the Gamecocks' two exhibition games, Willie averaged 18.5 points. His backcourt mate, senior Marlon Gurley (14.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg) will not be eligible to play until mid-December. Senior Wes Fowler will be counted on to lead the Gamecock frontcourt. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound center was the team's leading rebounder last season with 5.2 boards per game. The Gamecocks have welcomed six newcomers to their program, led by freshman Johnny Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick has averaged 13 points and four rebounds in the two exhibitions. Head coach Mark Turgeon is in his second year at Jacksonville State. Turgeon, who played at Kansas from 1984-87, also served as an assistant on the Jayhawks' staff from 1987-92.

Rod Barnes is in his second season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. In his first season in 1998-99, Barnes guided Ole Miss to a 20-13 overall record and a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Satartia, Miss., native became the first head coach in the history of Rebel basketball to win 20 games in his first season. Last season, Barnes also guided the Rebels to a 72-70 win over Villanova in the NCAA Tournament first round, marking the program's first-ever victory in NCAA play. Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998, after Rob Evans left to take the h ead coaching position at Arizona State on April 6. 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 named All-SEC his senior season. He still ranks on the Ole Miss career charts in scoring (17th, 1,201 points), assists (2nd, 456) and steals (6th, 154).

Indeed, it is "home sweet home" for the Rebels when playing in Oxford-especially in season and home openers. Ole Miss has an overall record of 67-22 (.753 winning percentage) in season openers in its previous 89 years of basketball. The Rebels have been even more impressive in home openers, posting a 72-12 record (.857 winning percentage) in those contests. Last year, the Rebels defeated Alabama State, 87-45 in their season opener.

Friday's game will be the 60th time in which Ole Miss' season opener will also be its home opener. In the previous 59 season/home openers, the Rebels have posted an incredible record of 52-7 (.881 winning percentage). In the 1990s, Ole Miss has opened every season at home and has posted a 8-1 record in those season/home openers, with the lone loss an 84-83 overtime setback to Davidson on Nov. 27, 1995.

After three seasons of having several returnees, the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program enters the 1999-2000 campaign with a new look, as only two starters and seven letterwinners return. Last season, the Rebels returned three starters and nine letterwinners, and in 1997-98, all five starters returned from the 1996-97 season. The following chart shows what the Rebels return in 1999-2000:

Stat Category   Returning      Pct.
Points          1186 of 2540   46.7
Rebounds        576 of 1197    48.1
Assists         265 of 545     48.6
Blocks          86 of 133      64.7
Steals          156 of 326     47.9

The Rebels have an all-time record of 16-1 versus current members of the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC). Ole Miss' lone setback to a member of the TAAC was a 71-47 loss to Jacksonville University in the 1984-85 campaign. The Rebels are 5-0 versus Mercer, 3-0 versus Troy State, 2-0 versus Stetson and Samford, 1-0 versus Florida Atlantic and Campbell and 2-1 versus Jacksonville. Ole Miss has never played Georgia State and Central Florida.

In recent years, the Rebels have been tough on all opponents entering Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad"). Entering the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss had a 20-game homecourt win streak, and the Rebels extended that streak to 29 games before falling to nationally-ranked Auburn on Jan. 13, 1999. Despite the overall homecourt win streak coming to an end, the Rebels still have another homecourt streak intact-consecutive home wins versus non-conference opponents. Ole Miss enters the 1999-2000 season with the eighth-longest homecourt win streak versus non-conference opponents. The following chart shows the nation's top homecourt winning streaks versus non-conference opponents:

School             No.  Last home non-conference loss
1. Maryland        65   12/12/89  Coppin St., 70-63
2. N. Carolina     55   1/7/89    Iowa, 98-97
3. Washington St.  41   12/14/89  Idaho, 56-52
4. New Mexico      40   12/29/94  NC Charlotte, 78-75 (ot)
5. Penn State      39   3/18/92   Pitt, 67-65 (NIT)
6. Clemson         38   2/9/94    S. Carolina, 91-88
7. SW Texas St.    26   12/14/91  Baylor, 67-55
8. OLE MISS        25   11/27/95  Davidson  84-83 (ot)
9. Vanderbilt      24   12/30/95  Boston College, 90-74

In last seven years, the Rebels have posted a 51-27 record (.654 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last four seasons (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99), as the Rebels have an impressive 34-11 mark (.756 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. The following shows Ole Miss' non-conference record over the previous seven years:

1992-93   5-5   1994-95   5-5   1996-97   8-3   1998-99   11-4
1993-94   7-3   1995-96   6-4   1997-98   9-2

When the 1999-2000 season begins on Friday, the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program will open its 90th campaign. The Rebels have posted a 925-1044 all-time record in their previous 89 seasons. The Ole Miss program has won a Southern Conference Tournament title (1927-28), a Southeastern Conference Tournament title (1981) and consecutive SEC Western Division titles (1997, 1998). The Rebels have also appeared in four NCAA Tournaments (1981, 1997, 1998, 1999) and five NITs (1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989).

The Ole Miss Rebel basketball program is the first team from the state of Mississippi to play in three straight NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Tournaments since Alcorn State did so in 1982, 1983, and 1984. No Division I men's basketball team from the state of Mississippi has ever played in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. In the past three seasons (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99), Ole Miss has an incredible 55-6 record (.902 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more in a game. On the other hand, the Rebels are 7-23 when they net less than 70 points in a game. Last season, Ole Miss had an 18-3 record (.857 winning percentage) when it eclipsed the 70-point plateau.

The 1999-2000 Rebels have several young players, but they made their presence known in Ole Miss' first exhibition game versus Spirit Express-especially on the boards. Freshmen John Gunn (Oxford, Miss.) and Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.) each grabbed a team-high six rebounds versus Spirit Express. Gunn scored nine points, while Kirklin added eight points and two blocked shots.

Entering the 1999-2000 season, head coach Rod Barnes kept talking about how senior forward Lataryl Williams (Oxford, Miss.) had to be a leader for the Rebels this year-and Williams responded big time in the first exhibition game. The 6-foot-7 forward scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed a team-high tying six boards in the exhibition win over Spirit Express. Williams shot 6-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-4 from the arc, and 2-of-3 from the free throw line. He also recorded three assists and two blocked shots in only 18 minutes of action.

The Rebels must love to play doubleheaders with the Lady Rebel basketball team, and it shows in the record. Friday's doubleheader format has the women's team hosting Memphis and the men's team meeting Jacksonville State.

The Ole Miss men's squad has won its last 23 games at home when playing a doubleheader with the women's basketball team. Last year, the Ole Miss men's squad was 4-0 when it played a doubleheader with the Lady Rebels. The last time the Rebels lost their game in a doubleheader format was in the 1992-93 season, an 89-79 setback to Rice on Jan. 9, 1993.

The 1999-2000 Rebel recruiting class was ranked among the top 30 in the country, according to two national recruiting publications. The Ole Miss recruiting class was ranked No. 26 in the nation by both PrepStar and HOOP SCOOP magazines. Other Southeastern Conference schools ranked (PrepStar/HOOP SCOOP) were: Mississippi State (3/3), Florida (6/6), Kentucky (7/7), Alabama (9/9), Georgia (10/10), South Carolina (12/12), Tennessee (14/14) and Arkansas (22/22).

The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in sixth place in the SEC Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media days on Nov. 3-4. Auburn was selected to win the SEC overall title and the Western Division championship. Arkansas was second, followed by Alabama, Mississippi State and LSU. In the East, Florida was picked to finish first, followed by Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina.

Rod Barnes and Mark Turgeon both won their first games as first-year head coaches in 1998-99. Barnes guided the Rebels to an 87-45 win over Alabama State, while Turgeon led Jacksonville State to a 61-53 win over East Carolina last year...Barnes (Ole Miss) and Turgeon (Kansas) also played guard at their respective schools in the mid-1980s, and both earned all-league honors during their careers...This season, the "j's" have it again. The Rebels have five players whose first name begins with the letter "j"-John Engstrom, Jason Flanigan, John Gunn, Jason Harrison, Josh Hayes and Jason Holmes. The last two seasons (1997-98, 1998-99) the Rebels had six players with their first names beginning with the letter "j."



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