Nov. 22, 2004
By Vanessa Culliver,
For one of the newest members of the Ole Miss basketball team, it's all about the game.
Londrick Nolen, a junior transfer from Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, has been playing basketball since the age of 10 and has made the sport his life.
"I always liked to play sports," said Nolen, a Memphis native. "I grew up in a bad neighborhood. I didn't have video games or things like that. I just liked to play outside with my friends. Basketball is something I picked up out there."
Nolen, a self-described "average guy", played two seasons for coach Verties Sails at SWTCC, and as a sophomore, helped lead the squad to a 24-8 record, a region championship, and a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament.
The 6-foot-6, 192-pound swingman emerged in his second season at the juco level, filling the stat line with averages of 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and a .388 three-point percentage, while tallying 50 steals and 37 blocked shots. Nolen was named All-West Division and All-TJCCAA.
He credits a lot of his improvement to studying the success of others.
"I watch one player one day and another player the next day," Nolen said. "I just try to combine all their stuff. I look at everybody's style. I just like to watch the game."
While Nolen may consider himself an "average guy", Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes seems to see much more.
"We think he has a good chance to be an impact player who can contribute early, first because of his junior college play," Barnes said. "He works so hard in practice, and he's so athletic, which is in line with the way we`re playing this year."
Two years removed from high school, Nolen has an edge with his experience, according to Barnes.
"He'll be a little more consistent than a high school player, because he has already spent time away from home," Barnes said. "He understands what it means to play against better competition. I definitely think that's going to help. Plus, he had a great coach in junior college, so he comes in with a lot of advantages that other guys don't have."
Nolen is excited about being at Ole Miss and is thrilled with his new coaches and teammates, who call him "Lo" for short.
"Everybody on the team is nice," Nolen said. "The coaching staff is great. It's just a good environment. Coach Barnes is kind of like the players. He's hard sometimes, but he's cool. He understands."
With the large crowds and tough competition, Nolen is looking forward to everything that comes with being an Ole Miss Rebel.
"I'm ready to see what its like in the SEC."
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