Ole Miss' all-time starting 5 is quite a mix
Editor’s note: SDS is selecting an all-time starting 5 for every SEC program, all part of our expanded coverage of March Madness.
Ole Miss is sporting a new venue, The Pavilion at Ole Miss, a new head coach in Kermit Davis and hopes to be facing a new era that will get the Rebels back in the NCAA Tournament, where they have only ventured four times since 2000.
Among the struggles – seven NIT appearances under former coach Andy Kennedy – were a few big names who managed to make this list of the top 5 starters in Ole Miss hoops history. Kentucky and LSU might have names that are synonymous with college basketball, but Ole Miss has at least one of those listed here. The others may not have the national recognition, but spanning five decades, all five are no doubt prominent Rebels in the Magnolia state.
It’s tough to leave out the Provine Posse of David Sanders, Aaron Harper and Justin Reed, sharp shooters of the 1990s and 2000s Keith Carter and Todd Abernethy and former All-Americans like Joe Harvell and Ansu Sesay. But for arguing pleasure, here are the tough-to-argue choices for the all-time starting 5 at Ole Miss.
PG: Chris Warren (2008-11)
Chris Warren is not the first Ole Miss basketball player you think of when compiling any list. But the 5-10 point guard was one of the most reliable at any position in school history. He went about his business quietly and professionally and that leaves him flying low still today. Warren left a statistical trail tough to match. He is one of only three Rebels to score 2,000 points, joining John Stroud and Joe Harvell.
His 334 made 3-pointers is a school record, as are his 900 attempts and 46 consecutive games with a make. His well-rounded game was evidenced by becoming only the fourth player in league history to score 2,000 points and dish out 400 assists, that elite company including LSU’s Pete Maravich, Tennessee’s Allan Houston and Georgia’s Litterial Green. Warren left his share of big moments in Ole Miss history, including a game-winning 3-pointer against No. 10 Kentucky in 2011. Warren started every game he played, minus Senior Day his freshman season.
SG: Gerald Glass (1989-90)
“World Class” Gerald Glass would have thrived in the social medial world of today. In his 2-year career at Ole Miss, he certainly did. The 6-5 star averaged 26.1 career points. After two years at Delta State before transferring to Ole Miss, Glass ranked fourth in the nation with 28 points per game. Glass played in 60 games and in both seasons was an honorable mention All-America selection and All-SEC first-teamer. As great as his two seasons were as a body of work, Glass is one-half of perhaps the most famous one-on-one battle in SEC history. On March 4, 1989, Ole Miss beat LSU 113-112 in overtime. Chris Jackson scored 55 for LSU. Glass had 53 for the Rebels. The 108 combined points is the most by any duo in conference history. In the finals seconds, Glass tipped in a rebound, made a 3-pointer and hit a free throw with 9 seconds left to lead the Rebels to a win.
SG: Marshall Henderson (2013-14)
Not the most popular pick for all-time lists for those of you with cleaner noses, but there is no doubt the impact Marshall Henderson left on the Ole Miss program. Henderson is a polar opposite of Chris Warren. As irreverent as he was on plenty of occasions, most occasions, Henderson finished his career with a 3-pointer in 66 consecutive games. It took only two seasons for Henderson to leave third in school history with 267 made 3s, second in 3-point attempts with 771, third in free-throw percentage (.857) and sixth in scoring average (19.6).
He holds the SEC record with 138 made 3s in a season and an NCAA record 394 attempts. Henderson’s game might never be as appreciated as some of his sharp-shooting predecessors. His numbers might always take a backseat to his own antics. He did after all, provide to this day, possibly the greatest sports GIF ever, taunting the Auburn student section inches from their faces, while pounding on his own chest as they threw him middle fingers and shouted legitimately angry vulgarities.
When Henderson wasn’t controlling the headlines for his game, he was for his attitude. He isn’t considered great by many Ole Miss purists, but his name will always be synonymous and you have to be more than good for that to happen. The 2013 NCAA berth would not have happened without Henderson.
PF: John Stroud (1977-80)
The New Albany, Miss., native is perhaps the greatest Rebel hooper of all-time after playing four seasons in Oxford and scoring what remains a school record 2,328 points, still third all-time in the conference.
Stroud (6-7) is one of only two Rebels to be named All-American twice. He led the SEC in scoring each of his last two seasons, scoring 26.3 in 1979, named SEC Player of the Year that season. Stroud’s scoring became legend. He had 61 consecutive double-digit scoring games. An All-American in high school, Stroud was a major recruiting win for a lowly Ole Miss program. In his final season, he led Ole Miss to its first postseason win, over Grambling in the NIT. Stroud was a second-round NBA pick. In one of his two seasons in Houston, Stroud was a member of the 1980-81 NBA Finals team that lost in six games to the Boston Celtics.
C: Denver Brackeen (1954-55)
John Stroud wasn’t the first Rebel to light up the scoreboard. Twenty years earlier, Denver Brackeen was a scoring machine playing center. Brackeen came to Ole Miss as a decorated junior college scorer at East Central, a national MVP and All-American. He played only two seasons in Oxford, but joined the 1,000-point club with 1,040 career points. His 27.2 points per game in 1955 led the SEC.
He also averaged 13.9 rebounds per game that season and was named All-SEC and All-America, UPI SEC Player of the Year and SEC Most Valuable Player. Despite only two seasons and 42 games played in Oxford, Brackeen remains No. 35 on Ole Miss’ all-time scoring list. Before his death in 2006, Brackeen was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988.