If I gained anything at SEC Tipoff 2016, aka SEC Basketball Media Day, it’s a new appreciation for Andy Kennedy. Ole Miss’ head coach is actually the longest tenured coach in the league in either basketball or football, and man, he took that title to heart at the event, trading barbs with Jerry Tipton and comparing his players to dogs. He may not have the subject matter to reflect it now that Marshall Henderson is long gone, but Kennedy’s press conferences are up there with Calipari, Bruce Pearl, and maybe Avery Johnson’s in terms of entertainment. This morning’s teleconference with reporters was no different. When asked about having to open SEC play with Kentucky for the third straight year, Kennedy was off to the races.
“Just clean living, I suppose,” Kennedy said via OMSpirit. “Just karma coming back to me. At least this time when I got the schedule I texted Cal, ‘Man, you must have really pissed off somebody in the league office because they finally sent you back to Oxford.’ I don’t know. I don’t get too caught up in things I can’t control. I know, preferably, my Christmas afternoon would have been a little more pleasant if I wasn’t staring at Big Blue in 72 hours.”
Unfortunately, Kennedy got back on the rails and spun Thursday night’s game as an opportunity for his players.
“I know that our guys came back excited because Kentucky brings that – SEC opener, national TV against one of the best teams in the country. The program by which you judge all others. They’re the gold standard. It’s an exciting way to open, but obviously very, very difficult because they’re so good again.”
What makes Kentucky “so good again”? According to Kennedy, their speed, which sets them apart from any Kentucky team he’s seen in his 11 years at Ole Miss.
“The thing that jumps off the page when you see Kentucky and when you see them in live action is their team speed. This is my 11th year, so I’ve see a lot of great Kentucky teams and a lot of great Kentucky players. I don’t know if I’ve seen one as fast as this team.”
Kennedy, Kennedy, off the wall, who’s the fastest of them all?
“De’Aaron Fox,” Kennedy said. “He just jumps off the screen with his speed in the open floor with the ball. If you’re fast on tape, that means you’re going to be doubly fast in person. De’Aaron Fox’s speed and the way Malik Monk has shot the ball and Bam’s (Adebayo) strength inside, they just got a plethora of weapons.”
I can’t wait to see what Kennedy has to say after facing those weapons on Thursday.