The Ole Miss men’s basketball team missed out on the NCAA tournament in 2016-17, but they just took a big step forward to making it into the 68-team field next season. Markel Crawford led the Memphis Tigers in scoring last season with 12.8 PPG and announced earlier this month that he would play elsewhere next season.
Yesterday, Crawford took an official visit to Oxford, and it was first reported by the OM Spirit that he committed to play for the Rebels. Ole Miss basketball confirmed that Crawford will join Andy Kennedy and the Rebels in 2017-18, via their Twitter account.
As a graduate transfer, the 6’5 guard will be eligible to play immediately and won’t have to sit out for a season. Crawford rounds out the Rebels 2017-18 roster which will include four returning starters. Leading scorer Deandre Burnett, emerging offensive star Terence Davis, 3-point shooter Cullen Neal and the young PG Breein Tyree will all be back for 2017-18.
The Rebels recruiting class is no slouch either, as Ole Miss holds commitments from two players from the ESPN Top 100, PF JaMarko Pickett and SG Devontae Shuler. The Rebels recently got a commitment from the #6 ranked JUCO transfer Bruce Stevens. The Rebel recruiting class is now ranked at #16 by 247sports.com, the highest ranking in program history.
Ole Miss now has the right pieces in the right places, so let the anticipation for next season begin. Last season, the Rebels showed flashes of potential, especially in the NIT, but clearly weren’t ready to be taken seriously as a competitor in 2016-17. With this much talent coming in for 2017-18, the Rebels are out of excuses, and anything short of a berth in the NCAA tournament will be a failure.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.