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Column: Ole Miss will regret not giving Joiner offer

Jared Redding, Sports Editor

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Players like OHS senior guard Jarkel Joiner do not come around very often. Cal State Bakersfield knew that, as well as other strong college basketball programs that offered Joiner scholarships, like TCU, Memphis, Iowa State and others. I guess Ole Miss, somehow, didn’t get the memo about Joiner’s rare talents. Who doesn’t offer a basketball scholarship to a player who averages 37 points a game, plays solid defense, throws down electrifying dunks, and is overall good-natured and respectful?

Ole Miss head basketball coach Andy Kennedy searches all over the country for players who are fairly solid, but very few of them have anything close to what Joiner can bring to the table as a college basketball player. Plus, Joiner’s home is just minutes away from the Pavilion as well as the Ole Miss campus.

Joiner, particularly in his senior season, was just about unstoppable. Joiner currently ranks as one of the nation’s leading scorers. He was very consistent game after game when it came to scoring. Although Joiner was selected to the Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen team, he has not a star to show on any major recruiting services, but so what? Joiner proved time after time that he is even better than some of the state’s “elite prospects”, just ask New Hope four-star guard Terryonte Thomas. He even put up stats far beyond the state’s top prospect and five-star Nik Weatherspoon from Velma Jackson. For some reason, however, Ole Miss still chose to pass Joiner by.

When the recruitment process began for Joiner, former Ole Miss head basketball coach Rod Barnes, head coach at Cal State Bakersfield, saw what Joiner had the potential to be and as a result, gave Joiner his first college basketball offer. It was a great steal for Barnes.

Kennedy’s Rebels have been pretty decent offensively over the past four seasons, a big reason for that success centered around a particular player who made the offense flow and easy to work around. In 2012, Kennedy added a long range bomber and arguably one of the most polarizing players college basketball has seen since Duke’s Christian Laettner. That player: Marshall Henderson. His shooting and reckless abandon played a huge role in an SEC Championship win later on that season. Joiner has the potential to play Henderson’s type of game, minus the arrogance that Henderson had. Joiner is about as humble as they come.

Right after Henderson graduated and turned pro, Kennedy added another sharp shooter to his team. Stefan Moody had many similarities to Joiner despite being 5’10” tall. Moody was an incredible athlete and has the capability to take over a game at any given moment, just like Joiner. Both Henderson and Moody brought so much energy to the table and made the crowd get on their feet with excitement.

So far this season, Ole Miss hasn’t had a particular player do those kind of things, not even current Ole Miss guard Terrance Davis. If Davis can’t, who else on the Ole Miss team can? Henderson is from Hurst, Texas. Moody is from Kissimmee, Florida. Joiner is from Oxford, Mississippi. He is home grown. Joiner has the traits of two former Ole Miss basketball greats, but Ole Miss clearly didn’t acknowledge that. They didn’t see that in Joiner. Maybe if they had let Joiner shoot a basketball during an in-game promotion or have sent someone to go watch him play, then they would have made him an offer.

The decision that Joiner made to sign with Cal State Bakersfield is completely respectable. Joiner will do great things for coach Rod Barnes out west. He could potentially make an NBA roster in the near future. He is that good. The biggest loss here is that Ole Miss allowed a homegrown superstar basketball player like Joiner to get scooped up by Cal State Bakersfield.

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Column: Ole Miss will regret not giving Joiner offer