On Thursday the Golden Eagles showed some signs of promise in their 66-38 win over Millsaps, but as expected, there were also some growing pains.
To make matters worse, two of their best players did not dress out – and they may not dress out for the rest of the year.
“You know everybody is asking about Norville and Kevin…that’s something that…obviously there’s no disciplinary action at all, it’s nothing like that,” says Southern Miss head men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler. “I mean there’s not two better kids. It’s strictly them considering redshirting.”
Of the six returning players that logged minutes for USM last season, Norville Carey is the only one that averaged more than two points per game.
Meanwhile, Kevin Holland played more minutes than every other returning player – except Carey.
“You don’t lose Norville and you don’t lose Kevin,” says Sadler. “I mean shoot, yeah. I mean that’s two guys that played last year, so yeah it’s going to hurt our team a lot. A lot.”
It might hurt this year, but it would also hurt if Carey picked the wrong season to be a senior.
*If* the NCAA was to dish out a one-year postseason ban in the coming weeks or months, all would certainly be justified.
And who knows, maybe both players will be better versions of themselves by this time come 2016.
“Players should be given the opportunity to do what they think is best for them,” says Sadler. “And there’s maybe a lot of things out there that we don’t know what’s going to happen, and so it kind of protects them from that. And at the same time gives them an opportunity to get better, and I think that’s what they’ll do.”