Mississippi State inks a 5-star and Ole Miss lands four players on early signing day
Published 7:41 am Thursday, November 9, 2017
The early signing period went well for Ole Miss and Mississippi State’s men’s basketball programs, with the Bulldogs making their one signing count by nabbing five star prospect Reggie Perry, and Ole Miss bringing in four players, with one four star prospect.
The MSU connection for Perry comes from his father, Al Perry, who starred for the Bulldogs in the 70s. The younger Perry ranks 13th in the country in the 247 Sports Composite rankings.
Perry stands at 6’8 and should make an immediate impact as a small forward/stretch four when he joins the team for the 2018-19 season. Perry has good scoring instincts and hits the boards well, but one of the things that makes him particularly intriguing is his passing ability, which comes as no surprise considering his father ranks third all-time for assists at Mississippi State.
Perry averaged 17.0 points and 8.4 rebounds playing AAU ball this spring, and is the second five star prospect Ben Howland has signed since joining Mississippi State.
The Oxford Eagle had the scoop on the Ole Miss class, which has four signees, two of whom come from high school and two who are transferring from the junior college ranks.
The Rebels inked guard Serrel Smith, wing Brian Halums and forwards Anthony Higgs and Zach Naylor to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday for the 2018-19 season. All four were previously committed to the Rebels.
Smith, ranked a four-star prospect by ESPN.com, averaged 27.3 points, six rebounds and five assists for St. Petersburg High (Florida) as a junior last season. The 6-foot-3 Smith is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“After seeing Serrel play on the AAU circuit last spring, he became a top priority for us in this recruiting class,” Kennedy said. “Serrel is a 6-3, long, combo guard who is a natural scorer. His length and instincts also make him a very capable defender.”
A three-star prospect, Higgs comes to Ole Miss from Baltimore’s Perry Hall High, where he averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Perry Hall’s Class 4A state championship team last season. Kennedy said the 6-8 Higgs is versatile enough to play the small and power forward positions.
“He has a nose for the ball, which makes him an outstanding rebounder, and he is equally comfortable facing the basket or playing in the post,” Kennedy said of Higgs.
Halums joins Naylor as the junior college prospects in the class. The 6-5 Halums averaged 17.5 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds from his guard spot last season as a freshman at Itawamba Community College. He also shot 55.1 percent from the floor and 44.8 percent from 3-point range.
“(ICC coach) Grant (Pate) told us early on that he believed Scooter (Halums) could be an SEC player, and he was right,” Kennedy said. “Brian’s athleticism, coupled with his hard-nosed approach, make him a guy we feel can help us in a multitude of ways.”
Naylor, a native of Houston, Texas, nearly averaged a double-double his freshman season at Weatherford College, scoring 20 points and pulling down 9.1 rebounds per game. The 6-8 Naylor also showed the ability to score away from the basket, shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range last season.
“Zach is a player that can play a number of different positions because of his combination of size, athleticism and basketball skills,” Kennedy said. “He can rebound, make the 3 and create off the dribble. Losing two quality players in our frontcourt after this season made signing a high-level JC forward a priority for us in this class, and we feel we did just that by adding Zach to our program.”