Insell Talks 2017 Season Outlook
Oct. 11, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee, 
Sparked by a recruiting class that has been rated as high as 11th in the country, Matt Insell’s Ole Miss team has some excitement brewing in practice as it prepares for the season.

“We obviously have a lot of returners, including our two leading scorers from a year ago and two of the top scorers in our league in Shandricka Sesson and Madinah Muhammed,” Insell said. “Having those two kids back really helps a lot, and you can really see a big difference in practice with their experience in particular to the guard spots. It's an exciting time for us, and we're ready to get going.”

Sessom and Muhammed return 25 points per game for the Rebels.

Insell thought his team showed flashes of NCAA tournament potential a year ago, and hopes they become more consistent this season.

“I think when you start talking early in the year when we play against an Oregon and you beat them by double figures and they go on to the Elite Eight, I think as we got going we had some stuff happen with some players getting injured,” Insell said.

The Rebels were 15-4 at home, but just 1-8 on the road. They’ll get tested early on this season with a number of road contests in nonconference play.

“We're going to go on the road and we're playing at DePaul, playing at Temple, both NCAA Tournament teams,” Insell said. “At Oregon, which was an Elite Eight team. We were good at home last year, but we were very bad on the road, and we're going to put them on the road early in the year to get them tested and get some confidence hopefully.”

Sessom is the lone senior with significant playing and starting experience, but Insell likes what he has in newcomers Promise Taylor and Chyna Nixon. Taylor is a 6-foot-6 rim protector that can score around the basket.

“She's not slow or stiff for a big kid, she can really jump,” Insell said. “Talk about a kid that can really drop step and grab the rim with both hands. She'll have a chance to do something real special this season for us in the post position.”

Nixon was top-50 player coming out of high school and will give Ole Miss some wing scoring.

“I'm more relaxed this year than I've ever been with this team because I don't really have to talk to them about energy,” Insell said. “I don't have to talk to them about enthusiasm, they come to work.”

Sessom is a leader on this team and is pleased with how the younger players have adapted since they have come into the program.

“We have more depth than we have last year,” Sessom said. “We have more players who can come off the bench. That is the difference from last year. We have freshmen coming, learning fast and getting the job done.”

The Rebels tip off the regular season on November 10 against Northwestern State at 5:00 p.m.






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