By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood this evening to take on the West Georgia Wolves in an exhibition contest. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. inside the SJB Pavilion and admission is free.
Ole Miss returns 51.2 percent of their scoring from last year, including 57.2 percent of all three-pointers made – 26.6 percent alone from junior Matthew Murrell and a combined 31.5 percent between Murrell and sophomore Daeshun Ruffin.
Murrell and Ruffin are two of the SEC top returning to the court for 2022-23. The top two recruits in program history, with Murrell ranking No. 39 and Ruffin No. 40 coming out of high school. Last year, the duo combined for 24.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.1 SPG, shot a combined .408 from the field and .343 from 3PT.
Ruffin is returning from a torn ACL this past February after a Herculean 19-point effort to help push Ole Miss past No. 25 LSU on Feb. 1. Ruffin has been back in full contact since October 10. At the time of his injury, Ruffin was second in SEC-only steals per game (2.7), ninth in free throw shooting (.833) and 10th in assists (3.9).
Senior Robert Allen will also return from a torn ACL suffered against No. 18 Memphis last season.
This season, head coach Kermit Davis and his staff brought in ESPN’s No. 12 high school signing class this year, including three ESPN Top-100 signees: No. 81 Malique Ewin (Forward, 6-10, 220, Lawrenceville, Georgia/Berkmar HS), No. 97 TJ Caldwell (Guard, 6-4, 190, Dallas, Texas/Faith Family Academy (Oak Cliff)), No. 98 Amaree Abram (Guard, 6-4, 190, Port Arthur, Texas/Southern California Academy), as well as fellow four-star high school signee Robert Cowherd (Guard, 6-5, 195, Grayson, Georgia/Southern California Academy).
The four transfers are seniors Theo Akwuba, Myles Burns, Josh Mballa and Jayveous McKinnis.
Ole Miss will open the 2022-23 regular season next Monday, Nov. 7, against Alcorn State at 8 p.m. CT.