Kermit Davis uses critics to motivate his team

Posted on Oct 18 2018 - 5:50am by Jack Gentry

SEC Media Day took place Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, where first-year head coach Kermit Davis was accompanied by seniors Terence Davis and Bruce Stevens. The Rebels arrived to a last-place preseason ranking among SEC teams in the media poll along with zero players named to any of the preseason All-SEC teams.

While this ranking means little, it is something that could light a fire under the Rebels this season, especially for Terence Davis who was excluded from the All-SEC teams after averaging almost 14 points per game to go along with 6 rebounds last year.

Sophomore guard Devontae Shuler stretches out before running drills during the basketball team’s first practice of the season. File photo by Christian Johnson

“It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just another reason to come out and perform each and every night,” Terence Davis said, who returns after withdrawing his name from the NBA draft this past summer.

After all of the preseason rankings and individual accolades have come out, it is clear that the Rebels aren’t getting much respect or recognition across the conference. Some may look at this in a negative light, but Kermit Davis seems to be using it as fuel.

“Coach reminds us about it every day in practice,” Terence Davis said.

After a disappointing 2017-2018 campaign that included a last-place finish in the SEC to go along with a 12-20 record, Coach Davis understands being competitive in the conference is key in his first season at the helm of Ole Miss basketball.

“You may not be trying to win the championship your first year, but if you can get a competitive team that can win games at home and your culture gets right you can be eighth, ninth, or even tenth in this league and go to the NCAA tournament,” Kermit Davis said.

With the best recruiting class since 2012 arriving on campus this season, expectations are higher than normal for the freshman class. One of those freshmen that Kermit Davis feels can make a big impact this season is forward Blake Hinson.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll be an All-SEC player before he leaves Ole Miss,” said Kermit Davis. “If we started (playing) today he would start at the four.”

According to Terence Davis, the energy within the program is high, regardless of preseason rankings or outside perceptions as the team knows it is too talented to be spending time at the basement of the SEC standings.

“I feel like we’re not even in the rebuilding stage,” Terence Davis said. “Kermit and the rest of his staff are about to do something special at Ole Miss this year.”

Ole Miss basketball, even in some of its best years, has never been a powerhouse. The program is not established enough to likely ever become a powerhouse. However, the mood around the camp is that Ole Miss basketball has the potential to at least be a force to be reckoned with in the coming seasons. Whether this is the wishful optimism of a fresh start or legitimate potential remains to be seen as Ole Miss moves into the Kermit Davis era of Rebel hoops.

Kermit Davis talks about his first few weeks as head coach of men’s basketball at the Tuohy Center. File photo by Marlee Crawford