The 2022-23 season is just around the corner and will officially kick off Monday night as the Ole Miss Rebels take on the Alcorn State Braves inside the SJB Pavilion. The tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. CT and can be seen on SEC Network+ or listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network. Inside The Rebels will be on hand to provide updates, notes, facts, observations and more.
Alcorn State will make the trip from Loreman, Mississippi. The Braves may be coming off a .500 season, but they shined in SWAC competition with a 14-4 mark before a quick outing in the NIT. Alcorn State will be without its top three scorers from a season ago, four of its top five guys. Oddyst Walker returns having scored around nine goals per game, averaging three boards. However, he was one of their best defensive specialists, leading the team with 25 interceptions, playing an average of 25 minutes per night.
“They are the reigning SWAC champions. They got pissed off during the NIT Championship game. I had to travel to Texas A&M, which was playing college basketball as well as anyone in those days. This game was tied at halftime, before A&M beat them by 12. They have a lot of good players on this team. Their coach is doing an amazing job. They guard well, execute a good attack. We’re going to have to play really well. We understand they’re coming and it’s going to be one of the biggest games on their schedule all year,” Davis said of Alcorn State.
It’s an opponent that Ole Miss forward Jayveous McKinnis knows them all too well, previously facing them at Jackson State as an opponent for SWAC.
For Ole Miss, six players from last year’s roster are back in the fold this time around. At the end of the season, the Rebels lost six players on the NCAA transfer portal, including Luis Rodriguez to UNLV and local product Jarkel Carpenter to the NC State. With a top 30 recruiting class head coach Kermit Davis and of the company brought in, the rebels also welcomed four from the portal, all with strong defensive tendencies.
Ole Miss added Jackson State transfer forward Jayveous McKinnisLoyola-New Orleans transfer forward Myles Burns, Louisiana transfer center Theo Akwuba and Buffalo forward transfer Josh Mballa. Its 2022 freshman class includes guards like Amarée Abram, TJ Caldwell, Robert Vacher with the center malique ewin.
As for returning players, Robert Allen recovered from serious knee injuries during the year and should both be healthy enough to contribute when the season officially kicks off. Matthew Murrel, Jacques White and Tye Fagan are all back in the backcourt for the Rebels, while Jaemyn Brakefield returns to help a new front yard.
After sustaining a bone bruise in Tuesday’s exhibition against West Georgia, the sophomore Daechun Ruffin was expelled from Monday competition and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.
In the exhibition, Ole Miss shot 54% (37-69) from the field as a team, 35% (6-17) from beyond the arc and 58% (11-19) from the charity strip. A whopping 60 points went into the paint, edging out UWG in that category 60-34. The Rebels have totaled 26 assists. Defensively, the Rebels outshot Wolves 49-35 on the glass and forced just 10 turnovers for the game, stealing eight balls and blocking seven shots.
Four different Rebels finished with double-digit points. Jaemyn Brakefield scored 16 points on 7-on-8 shooting, all of which was done in the first half alone. Jayveous McKinnis finished with 14 (6-7 FG), Matthew Murrel finished with 13 (4-10 FG) and Theo Akwuba finished with 11 (5-7 FG). Brakefield also led the Rebels onto the glass knocking down eight boards. Real Freshman Amarée Abram had six assists to lead Ole Miss, who led for almost two minutes of the game.