This year, the University of Mississipi loses out on two crucial team players that could have given them a good chance of taking Division I. On Monday, Ole Miss held its first official basketball practice in preparations for its first game on Nov 10 against Western Michigan. But Ole Miss’s best defender, 6-foot-6, 220-pound Luis Rodriguez is missing from practice, and so is Franco Miller, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound defense player.
Head coach Kermit Daviss said that since Miller’s arrival, he hasn’t been feeling his best due to injuries suffered in high school.
For Rodriguez, he recently received an injury to his knee in an unfortunate collision with forwarding Bruce Stevens during practice. The injury inflicted on each other was so severe, surgery was required for both.
“I wanted to start by thanking everybody who has helped me get to this point from coaches to trainers to family members to people who’ve supported and believed in me with my basketball dreams,” he wrote in a statement. “Thanks to all the coaches who’ve reached out and recruited me as well. I thank God for blessing me with this opportunity. I’m very thankful to the coaching staff for believing in me and giving me this opportunity as well.”
“We’re real beat up right now,” Davis said. “It hasn’t been a good week for our freshman class. Franco Miller had surgery Saturday. He hasn’t been healthy since he’s been here. He came in with existing knee pain. It’s kind of been a fracture of a knee cap and he had surgery. It’ll be anywhere from 3-5 weeks. Luis Rodriguez, who we really counted on a bunch and is maybe our best defender, bumped knees with Bruce (Stevens) on Wednesday.
“We thought it was a contusion. It’s a meniscus, so he’s got to have surgery in the morning. He’ll probably be 3-5 weeks. Those two guys kind of hurt our depth. Obviously it’s a part of it. As you go through practice, the biggest thing, obviously, is making progress and staying healthy. Hope that’ll be it for us and both of those guys will make great recoveries.”
Davis said it’ll take some time for Rodriguez and Miller to get back into the swing of things following recovery.
But not all is grim for the Ole Miss team. Returning players such as Terence Davis, Breein Tyree, and Devontae Shuler are set to revamp the team dynamics with their talents. Davis comments on their strengths and talents from the past, calling Devontae Shuler, competitive, elite defender in our league, and a good shooter.
Fellow teammate Terence Davis also commented on Shuler.
“He’s probably going to be the most improved player in the SEC. He’s at the point guard position a lot now and he’s doing well. He’s getting guys in the right position, making the right plays, putting the ball in the right spot. He’s like a little brother to me. Honestly, a primary reason he came here was because of me,” he said.
“He’ll tell you that, and Bree will tell you that, too. It’s just a friendship that we have. I think you’ll be able to see it more this year than ever, that bond that the three of us have in the back court. It’s special.”
With brotherly bonds and veteran players that have proven to own the court in previous seasons, Ole Miss might just do fine until Rodriguez and Miller fully recuperate.