A Second Family

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

April 11, 2014


By Kim Ling,
Associate Media Relations Director

Spend time at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center any given day in the spring, and you’ll not only find current members of the Ole Miss men’s tennis team practicing or getting ready for a big match, but you’ll see former players hanging around.  Ole Miss tennis is much more than a team, it’s a family.  That is something senior Johan Backstrom noticed immediately upon arriving at Ole Miss as a freshman three and a half years ago.

“Right away I felt like a part of the team and the guys were all great,” Backstrom said. “We had some great leaders like Kalle Norberg, Tucker Vorster and Jonas Lutjen, guys that I could look up to. There’s a saying that you may graduate from the University of Mississippi, but you never leave Ole Miss.  That’s true about our team. When guys come back to visit, they are treated like they are still part of the team. We have a small team, so having all these guys around makes it more fun.”

Backstrom has had a lot of fun during his career and has been involved in some big moments for the Rebels.  He has been instrumental in the Rebels’ claiming an SEC West Championship and three NCAA appearances, including the Sweet Sixteen.  The Uppsala, Sweden native will be remembered for clinching the NCAA Regional final against Michigan in 2012 to send the Rebels to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the 16th time.    

“I have a lot of great memories, but the one that sticks out in my mind, is clinching against Michigan for us to go to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen,” Backstrom said.  “That was quite an experience. Beating Georgia here [last year] was another great memory and clinching against Tennessee.”

Last year, Backstrom helped lead the Rebels to their 10th SEC Western Division title and a final ranking of No. 10 in the nation.

Off the court, Backstrom is a leader in the classroom.  The managerial finance and accounting major holds an impressive 3.90 grade point average.  He has been inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and is a two-time National ITA Scholar-Athlete, a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a member of the Chancellor’s Honor Roll every semester.  He helped the Rebels earn the Chancellor’s Cup three of his years, as the Ole Miss men’s team with the highest cumulative GPA, and has been instrumental in the Rebels earning the prestigious ITA All-Academic Team Award every year of his career.

Four years ago, Backstrom was deciding between two schools, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.  Today, he plays his last SEC home match for the Rebels against the Aggies in front of a fan base he has come to love like his own family.    

“Playing in front of the fans here is nothing like I have ever experienced before. It’s so much fun to play for Rebel Nation and the Rebel family.  It’s hard to beat.  We always get a fantastic crowd to support us, and we are really appreciative of that.”

As a double major, Backstrom will return next year to finish up his degree, practice with the guys and cheer on his teammates from the stands, just like so many of his former teammates have done through the years.

“It’s been quite a journey and there are a lot of things I am going to miss about being a part of this team,” Backstrom said. “The team spirit and traveling with the guys, team dinners at coach’s house.  Being able to fight for your team and play for a team is something that I’ll never get to do again. It’s been an incredible experience and I am happy with the decision I made.”  

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 24-30, 2015)

      Monday, March 30, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewMarch 24-30, 2015Women's Basketball-The Ole Miss women's basketball team saw its record setting season some to a close with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the third round of the WNIT. The Rebels closed the... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- March 29

      Sunday, March 29, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss celebrated one of the most successful years in school history. The women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT. The football team continued spring practice, and we're now... read more

    • Grove Bowl to be Featured on SEC Network Platofrms

      Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Football

      The SEC Network will air every SEC spring football game with multiple viewing opportunities on both television and the network's digital platforms. All 12 spring football games will be carried live and in full on SEC Network + with additional... read more

    • Freeze, Players Talk Quarterback Competition

      Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - Football

      Through the first seven spring practices, or three weeks since the start of spring practice on March 3, there does not appear to be any separation between sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade and junior college transfer Chad Kelly.  Whether... read more

    • VIDEO: 2015 Rebel Choice Awards

      Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - Athletics

      read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 17-23, 2015)

      Monday, March 23, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review March 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. -... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- March 22

      Sunday, March 22, 2015 - Athletics

      The men's basketball team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament come to an end in the Round of 64 after a thrilling win in the First Four. The women's basketball team won two postseason WNIT games to continue its... read more

    • Trent, Bramlett Pitch Rebels Past No. 1 Florida

      Sunday, March 22, 2015 - Baseball

      Junior left-hander Christian Trent and sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett picked up quality starts on the mound, and the offensive provided some timely hits, which proved to be a winning formula as Ole Miss claimed the weekend series over No. 1... read more

    • VIDEO: Insell Previews WNIT Matchup with GT

      Saturday, March 21, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      read more

    • Journey Ends for Five Seniors

      Thursday, March 19, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A four-year starter at point guard, one of the most accomplished players in program history, senior Jarvis Summers saw his Ole Miss career come to an end, as did four of his fellow seniors in LaDarius White,... read more

    • Kennedy, Mack Talk Familiarity, Preparations

      Thursday, March 19, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      From his five years at Cincinnati, three as an assistant coach and one each as associate head coach and interim head coach, head coach Andy Kennedy knows and has experienced the Xavier program first hand, having coached against the Musketeers... read more

    • Whirlwind Week Continues for the Rebels

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss has gone through a two-day turn twice, as well as a one-day turn when the Rebels played No. 23 Creighton and Cincinnati in back-to-back days at the Emerald Coast Classic, but they haven't gone through a turn quite... read more

    • PHOTOS: Ole Miss Basketball Defeats BYU

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Photo Gallery "YOU BELONG!" - AK @OleMissMBB pic.twitter.com/N0E09nTXHy-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) March 18, 2015 REBS WIN!! REBS WIN!!! HELL YEAH DAMN RIGHT!!! @OleMissMBB #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/ak0Vwpq2He-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) March 18, 2015... read more

    • Ole Miss a Giant Killer against Xavier?

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Giant Killers come in many different shapes and forms in the NCAA Tournament. They are not just your teams from smaller and mid-major conferences, but also your lower-seeded power-conference teams. As defined by ESPN's Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner, Giants Killers... read more

    • What They're Saying: Rebels Take Down BYU

      Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      March Madness reigned in Dayton, as 11th-seeded Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. The nation watched, and they reacted to... read more