By Adam Brown
Ole Miss senior point guard Devontae Shuler had a huge game in the season-opening 80-45 win over Jackson State on Thursday night.
Shuler and his teammates had a late start to the season as they had been hit by the COVID-19 virus prior to the Justin Reed Ole Miss Classic over Thanksgiving week.
“We sat back and waited and watched a couple of teams on tv,” Shuler said. “I feel like Coach [Kermit Davis] prepared us mentally and physically to come out in our first game and get stops and stuff.”
The Irmo, South Carolina native led the way in scoring with 23 points for the Rebels. In his time at Ole Miss, the game has slowed down.
“It has slowed down a lot actually,” Shuler said. “For me, I have honestly never been like, the main leader on the team. It’s always been like one person or two ahead of me, like Breein and TD. So I just kind of used their experience… for this team that we have to lead us to March Madness again.”
This season, Coach Kermit Davis has added pieces to the squad that gives it more depth, something that could become a strong point for the Rebels.
“We have had a few guys come in like [Matthew Murrell] and just tried to get those guys in a groove,” Shuler said. I feel like they’re getting a good touch of how playing in the SEC and the Pavilion will help them for the future. Them doing that will prepare us.”
Shuler and junior guard Jarkell Joiner, who is an Oxford native, have developed chemistry on the court. Joiner transferred back home last season from CSU Bakersfield, and due to an NCAA transfer rule had to sit out his first season at Ole Miss.
“Jarkell is like my sidekick,” Shuler said. “He is always down to learn, to listen, to whatever I tell him… Jarkell is going to open the floor more for the both of us.”
Shuler and the Rebels return to the court Saturday as they welcome in UNC Wilmington at 4 p.m. on SEC Network Alternate.