Reed Excels in Season Opener

Nov. 21, 2003

Chris Purser
Ole Miss Athletic Media Relations

With a 74-69 loss to Arkansas State, Ole Miss senior Justin Reed continued to lend Ole Miss a helping hand, leading the Rebels to a 10-point, come-from-behind first half deficit before succumbing to the Indians in the final minutes.

Reed, who chose to return to Ole Miss rather than test the NBA waters, led the Rebels in scoring with 25 points while recording nine boards and one assist. Reed, who has earned numerous preseason SEC and national awards, played the most minutes of any Rebel player (38) and said that while the setback to the Indians may be a painful one, there is no doubt in his mind about the decision to come back. He says that with the number of new players on the team, it was his decision to come back and help Ole Miss adjust.

"We have to turn some negatives into some positives," said Reed. "We have some good young players who will certainly get better."

Reed's play in the past has helped the Rebels reach the not only the NCAA Tournament, but record the program's best ever finish, a Sweet Sixteen berth in 2001. While Ole Miss may not have started the season quite like they had planned, the Rebels are still not down about the start. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes said that with leaders like Reed, this team will continue to get better.

"I thought Justin played well," said Barnes. "He did some good things out there on the court and some things we expected."

While the season officially started with the Arkansas State Indians, the 6-8 forward helped the Rebels in the preseason, leading all Rebel players in the season's first two exhibition games. Reed's leadership both on and off the court has been his willingness to help out his new teammates, as seven new faces are suiting up for Ole Miss this season. Barnes said that Reed knows this is a team that will take time to gel, and despite his senior status, he is still willing to do whatever it takes to win.

"Justin knows that this is a team that will take some time to get used to one another," Barnes said. "What has impressed me is what Justin has said to the team after the games. Even with tonight's outcome, he had some positive things to say to the team and for them to hold their heads up high. He knows that this is a team that will take time to win."

And with Reed playing the kind of ball he is right now, and displaying the kind of leadership that he has since his arrival in Oxford, that time will come very soon.

 

 

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