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Square Jam is Friday

Before the Ole Miss Rebels take on the New Mexico State Aggies Saturday during their homecoming game, the Oxford Square will be a busy place Friday with homecoming parade and basketball.

Wait. Basketball?

The Ole Miss Rebels football and basketball team will come together Friday in a celebration of Ole Miss sports.

“We are right in the heart of football season, but basketball is right around the corner,” said Jason List, assistant athletics director for marketing. “Mixing the two and partnering with campus to promote Homecoming has just been a natural fit.”

The Homecoming parade will kick off at 5:30 p.m. from the Grove on campus, going down University Avenue and ending on the Square. The parade will feature cheerleaders, the Rebellettes, fun floats and of course, Homecoming Queen Heather Neilson.

Immediately following the parade, the fourth Square Jam will begin.

The Rebels will showcase their skills on a basketball court with lights set up on the east side of the Square in the parking lot in front of City Hall which will be closed to traffic starting at 9 a.m. while the court is set up. Fans will get to see the teams participate in skill competitions, a three-point shooting contest and other surprises. In addition, both teams will be signing autographs after the event.

“We are very excited about the upcoming basketball season, and this event will serve as a great jump off for the year,” said head men’s coach Andy Kennedy.” I hope all the Rebel fans will come out to support our team.”

Women’s head coach Matt Insell is also looking forward to the start of the season.

“Square Jam is the perfect way to kick off the basketball season,” Insell said. “It’s a very unique way that we kick of the start of basketball season here at Ole Miss and we’re looking forward to another successful Square Jam on Friday night.”

List said the response from the popular event has been “tremendous.”

“It’s grown each year, with last year being the best,” he said. “Our fans have shown wonderful support for both our men’s and women’s programs and the city of Oxford has been wonderful to work with on the event.”

Square Jam is enjoyed by the fans, but also by the players who get a chance to meet their fans and show off a bit. List said excitement for this year’s basketball season is high.

“Our two teams are both coming off postseason play a year ago, plus a brand new Pavilion set to open in January and two very talented teams set to compete,” List said. “I feel there is more excitement this year around both our teams than the previous two years I have been here.”

The men and women’s team open the 2015-16 regular season on Nov. 13.

With Rebel fans from all over the nation pour into Oxford for the Homecoming game, city and university officials recommend taking advantage of shuttles provided by both the city and university to get to the game and avoid parking problems.

Fans may park at FNC Park, Oxford High School, and the Jackson Avenue Center and spend $5 to be shuttled to the campus. The buses run every 10 minutes and will start running at noon.

The Oxford-University Transit will have two buses running every 15 minutes starting at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. The buses will pick up from the Jackson Avenue Center near the Old Oxford Mall and stop about two hours after the game. The university funds the game-day shuttle service.

The OUT shuttles are free of charge, however transit officials ask everyone to visit the OUT website, www.oxfordms.net/visitors/gameday-shuttle-service.html, to read the rules of what items are allowed or not allowed to be carried onto the buses, including tents, pets and large coolers, over 40 quarts.

The Double Decker bus will also be running people to the Grove from the Square at no charge.