Locking down the state: Ole Miss men’s and women’s hoops secure top in-state targets

Published 11:03 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

Building a program always starts with signing good players. Locking down the best players in your state? That’s every coach’s dream.

Both Kermit Davis and Yolett McPhee-McCuin accomplished just that on Wednesday.

Meeting with Coach Yo last week, she was downright giddy about where she thought her class would end up. They’re not allowed to name names until a player signs, but you could tell she had her eyes on something special.

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That something special was Jayla Alexander, the number one ranked player in the state of Mississippi who has thrice been named All-State during her time at Pearl High School. A 5-foot-9 guard, Alexander averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 5.5 steals per game this past year – simply ludicrous numbers.

“Rebel nation should not only be excited, but it should be proud that we are able to keep one of our state’s best at home. Jayla will impact us immediately,” McPhee-McCuin said. “What I like most about her is that she’s a competitor and a winner. Our program just got better today.”

Wednesday was just as exciting for the Ole Miss men. Shooting guard Austin Crowley of West Point and Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas signed with the Rebels on Wednesday.

The four-star guard is the No. 120 player in the nation according to 247Sports and the No. 20 high school player in the nation at his position. Crowley was initially committed to Vanderbilt before their winless conference season led to head coach Bryce Drew’s firing.

“Signing the best players in Mississippi has been a top priority for our staff in our first year. Austin Crowley is the full package – an elite, talented, excellent student that has outstanding character,” Davis said. “Austin comes from a great family in West Point, Mississippi. Sunrise Christian and coach Luke Barnwell have given Austin a great base for success at the SEC level.”

Crowley played two years of high school basketball at West Point High School before spending two years at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas – the same high school that produced Ole Miss forward Blake Hinson. As a senior, Crowley averaged 15.2 points per game and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee.

With both Kermit Davis and Coach Yo entering their first full offseason of recruiting at Ole Miss, the in-state signings represent huge gets for both and a positive sign about the direction of basketball at Ole Miss.