The Marshall Henderson experience is over in Oxford. This season, Ole Miss will move on from the polarizing player who finished up his college career last season.
Former Provine High School star Jarvis Summers will have to be the leader on and off the court for the Rebels. Summers, like most of his Ole Miss teammates, got lost in the public eye at times amid the focus on Henderson and his antics.
For example, how many people remember that Summers started all 33 games, finished the season with All-SEC second team honors by the league's coaches and received an honorable mention in the Associated Press?
Even fewer will remember that Summers beat out Henderson and Southern Miss' Neil Watson to win the C Spire Howell Trophy for Mississippi's best men's basketball player. While Henderson got the headlines, Summers quietly went out and played great basketball nearly every night.
Summers improved his game markedly during his junior season, going from 9.1 points per game in his sophomore year to 17.2 points per game. He raised his shooting percentage from 40.4 percent to 49.3 percent and also became a better three-point shooter, raising his percentage from 34 percent to 44.7 percent.
Before winning the Howell Trophy, Summers was also earning accolades at Provine. He was named first team All-State and All-Metro after leading the Rams to 25-3 record. He also played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
Entering this season, Summers was the only player from Ole Miss or Mississippi State to be named preseason All-SEC. The SEC and national media picked Summers for first-team status. CBSSports.com chose him for the preseason All-SEC team and named him their preseason Player of the Year in the SEC. Nearly every other media outlet also had Summers on its preseason All-SEC list.
Summers also made it onto the Bob Cousy Award watch list in the preseason, one of 35 players across the country added to that list. The Bob Cousy Award is named after the famed Boston Celtics point guard and goes to the best men's point guard in the nation each season. In early February, the list will be narrowed down to 20 players before the award is given during Championship Monday.
Ole Miss lost any postseason tournament opportunities last season after a 75-73 loss against Georgia in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. The Rebels finished the season 19-14 overall, 9-9 in SEC with an abysmal 4-8 record away from Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss went 12-5 at home last season.
Summers, a senior from Jackson, enters this season as the SEC's active leader in three categories, with 1,233 points, 370 assists and 2,920 minutes played. He will garner most of the spotlight as his team tries to reach the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season.
He and the rest of the Rebels will play a tune-up game this Friday, Nov. 7 on the SEC Network + (digital only) at 7 p.m. against Delta State at Tad Smith Coliseum. The game against the Statesmen is the final exhibition game for the Rebels.
Summers and his teammates will open the 2014-2015 season at home against Charleston Southern on Nov. 14, which will also be available on the SEC Network + system.