Rebels basketball team lands top 25 class on National Signing Day

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss head men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis announced the addition of four standouts on National Signing Day. Antavion “Dude” Collum, Rodney Howard, Sammy Hunter and Bryce Williams all signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday and will join the Rebels for the 2019-20 season.

“With this recruiting class, I really think we filled some valuable needs,” said Davis. “I love their talent level and character. These guys can play multiple positions, and I think they’re going to fit in really well with the guys we have coming back next year.”

After being named the 22nd head coach in Ole Miss Basketball history last March, Davis and his staff quickly completed a recruiting class by signing five players within the first two months on the job. This 2019 class, Davis’ first full class at Ole Miss, is one of the best in school history coming in at No. 25 in Rivals’ national rankings.

Collum is a Rivals150 recruit, ranked No. 139 nationally. His nickname “Dude” fits his play on the court, as his versatility on both ends of the floor earned him 4-star ratings by both ESPN and Rivals. ESPN ranked Collum as the third-best player in the state. Last year at Tennessee Prep Academy, Collum averaged 20.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 4.7 apg. He was named first team COC All-Tournament during the Illinois event. Prior to attending Tennessee Prep, Collum spent two seasons at Memphis East High School. As a senior, he will compete at Bartlett High School.

“Dude is a guy we’ve been recruiting for a really long time. He’s got great size (6-foot-7, 215 lbs.), he can shoot and he is really skilled,” said Davis. “You have a guy that can play multiple positions that comes from an unbelievable family. He’s a Mississippi kid from Olive Branch, so it’s really good to get one of the best players in our state.”

Howard, the No. 10 player out of the state of Georgia according to 247Sports, adds size to the team with his 6-foot-10 frame. He was a double-double machine at Centennial High School last year, averaging 15.0 ppg and 11.0 rpg to go along with 1.5 bpg and 1.5 apg. The Roswell, Georgia, native earned all-region accolades and was named Centennial’s most outstanding player. For his senior year, Howard is at Legacy Charter School in Greenville, South Carolina, already averaging 11.7 ppg and 9.1 rpg.

“We’ve been following Rodney for a long time, and we’ve seen his growth. He’s going to play his whole senior season at 17-years old,” said Davis. “He doesn’t turn 18 until June, so Rodney’s best days are ahead of him. We’ve seen so much progress; he’s playing for a really good team at Legacy, and he’s off to a great start. Just with his character and work ethic, we think some great things are going to happen here for Rodney.”

Hailing from The Bahamas, Hunter will join fellow countrymen Franco Miller Jr. in Oxford. In August, the 6-foot-9 forward faced ACC competition in exhibition contests. He averaged 18.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg in the contests, including an 18-point output versus North Carolina. Last week, Hunter earned a spot on the Caribbean Tip-Off Classic All-Tournament Team by averaging 33 ppg throughout the tournament. His weekend included a 40-point outburst. Like Miller, Hunter is made the trek north for high school, playing at British Columbia Christian Academy. As a senior in his third year in Canada, Hunter is averaging a whopping 30.8 ppg to go along with 7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 1.2 spg and 0.5 apg.

“Sammy is one of the best kept secrets in this class. If he played on a regular summer circuit, he’d be one of the top 50 players in America,” said Davis. “Another guy with great size (6-foot-9, 225) that can make the three. He’s still 17-years old as well, so really young. I think he will fit in that mold of the guys that we look for when it comes to building our program.”

Williams is the lone junior college transfer in the class, a 4-star guard out of Tampa, Florida. Last year at Daytona, he averaged 14.5 ppg by shooting 45.9 percent from the field. He made 38 three-pointers over 24 games and pulled down 3.4 rpg as a guard. From the charity stripe, Williams shot at a 74.3 percent clip. The Sunshine State native is off to a hot start this season, averaging 18.5 ppg and helping the Falcons win their first four games. Last week, Williams led Daytona State to a 115-107 victory over Miami Dade. He scored a team-high 26 points, going 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, and also dished out six assists.

“We think Bryce is one of the best junior college guards in the country,” said Davis. “He is dynamic athlete that can be as athletic as anyone in college basketball at his position next year. He just needs to add strength, but he’s an excellent shooter and off to a great start at Daytona. They (Daytona) are nationally ranked and playing really well.”

While these four newcomers will have to wait a year to take the court as Rebels, the current Ole Miss hoops team returns to the hardwood Friday night (Nov. 16). Davis and the Rebels hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana to battle the Butler Bulldogs. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. on FS2.

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