By Adam Brown
Ole Miss senior guard Devontae Shuler and his teammates returned to the court for the first day of practice in preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 basketball season.
Shuler has played for the Rebels for the last three seasons. As a junior, Shuler led the team in assists (3.3 per game) and in steals (1.7 per game).
The Irmo, S.C., native has seen a lot of positive pieces of depth on the squad this season.
“We got a couple of new guys that came in, and a couple of transfers, and of course Jarkell (Joiner) has been here,” Shuler said. “I feel like we are just more deep on players coming off the bench and players coming in the game. We are gonna be more balanced this year. There’s gonna be a couple of games where different guys have high scoring nights. Guys making the right plays at the end of the stretch.”
Last season, the Rebels depended on Breein Tyree to close out the end of games.
“We put a lot of pressure on Breein at the end of the game,” Shuler said. “Feel like this year we are going to balance it out and push through the end.”
Shuler feels like he is becoming more of a leader this season. He has spent the offseason working on his game.
“I’m gonna be the point guard for the majority of the year,” Shuler said. “Coming off-ball screens at the top of the key with me and Hadeem [Khadim Sy] and Romelo [White] just playing with those guys and trying to get a better feel on the offensive end. The defense will just come with how we play. I feel like on the defensive end, we will be much stronger.”
Rebels head coach Kermit Davis raved about Shuler’s leadership.
“You look at Devontae, and he’s maybe the most experienced guard in the SEC,” Davis said. “He’s been a two-year starter and played a great amount as a freshman. He’s been in a lot of big games and great minutes. Devontae, it’s just really fun for me to watch him mature at all levels from academically, to leadership roles, to everything as a player.”
Shuler has played point guard for the last two seasons, although when he arrived at Ole Miss, he played his first season as a two-guard.
“I already showed that I can play point guard, and I feel like I’m better at shooting the ball,” Shuler said. “Just playing off-ball and whoever’s the point guard trying to get him more assists or just the little things. Being more of a two-guard, I’m fine with that. I don’t feel like it’s going to be much pressure for me.
Shuler has aspirations of playing in the NBA after his college career comes to a close. He has played with members of the NBA All-Rookie team like Terrance Davis.
“I have the opportunity to its right in front of my face,” Shuler said. “Especially playing with T.D. seeing what he did in college, only averaged 14 but him being more available on the court and doing the little things show that it’s an opportunity for me to be there too.”