Ole Miss men’s basketball inks three during early signing period

Published 2:36 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team on Wednesday signed a trio of prospects on the first day of the early signing period.

The group, which consists only of high school players, is headlined by four-star guard Devontae Shuler, the first player Ole Miss has ever signed from the prestigious Oak Hill Academy, and includes forward Jamarko Pickett and combo guard Parker Stewart. The class, which has the highest average player rating in school history, is ranked 40th nationally by 247Sports.

“We are very excited about these three young men joining our program,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said in a statment. “We feel we added to the versatility of our current roster with the addition of three outstanding young players.”

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The 6-foot-9, 190-pound Pickett signed with the Rebels out of Massanutten Military Academy by way of Eastern High School in Washington D.C., where he averaged 17 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks as a senior. He chose Ole Miss over Arizona State, Pittsburgh and South Carolina among others.

“Jamarko is a long, athletic, versatile forward who can shoot the 3, create off the bounce and protect the basket,” Kennedy said.

Stewart, at 6-5, averaged 19 points, six rebounds and two steals last season at Union City High in Tennessee. Known for his shooting ability, he shot 51 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range a season ago while spurning Georgetown, Wisconsin and others for Ole Miss.

“His size coupled with his outstanding 3-point shooting ability give us a chance to use him in a number of different ways,” Kennedy said of Stewart.

Shuler is ranked as the nation’s No. 100 overall player by 247Sports and Scout.com. A native of Irmo, South Carolina, the 6-2, 185-pound Shuler transferred to Oak Hill before last season and averaged 10.1 points for a team that went 45-1 and won the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Championship. Choosing Ole Miss over the likes of Miami, Oklahoma State and USC, Shuler is leading Oak Hill in scoring (14.8 points per game) and steals (3.2) this season.

“(Oak Hill) won their ninth national championship last season, and Devontae was a big part of that run,” Kennedy said. “(Oak Hill coach) Steve (Smith) has said many times that Devontae may be the best on-ball defender that he has ever had at Oak Hill. At 6-2, he is an explosive combo guard who we expect to have an immediate impact on our program next season.”

Ole Miss has 12 scholarship players this season. With Sebastian Saiz and Rasheed Brooks the only scholarship seniors on the roster, Pickett, Stewart and Shuler put the Rebels at the 13-scholarship limit for next season pending any transfers or other departures.