Skal Labissiere may be the best NBA prospect in the Class of 2015 not named Ben Simmons. He’s a long and athletic 6-foot-11 rim protector that can hit threes and make plays on the perimeter. His back problems limited him during the high school season, which is part of the reason that he is only ranked No. 15 in the class by Rivals, but make no mistake: Skal is legit.
That’s why North Carolina, Memphis and Kentucky are three of the four schools that he is still considering. The fourth? Ole Miss.
And how did Andy Kennedy manage to get onto a list that included those other three schools? Well, because he’s kept his third assistant coaching position open on the off-chance that he would be able to hire Labissiere’s guardian, Gerald Hamilton, in order to get Labissiere.
Kennedy acknowledged as much without really acknowledging it today.
“You guys are pretty smart,” Kennedy told Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “You probably realize what I’m doing, if it evolves like I want it to.”
And Ole Miss has a real chance here, as Gary Parrish laid out in this column. To summarize, Hamilton wants to keep Labissiere close to home because he doesn’t want to lose control of him. Labissiere goes to high school in Memphis, but he actually lives in Olive Branch, Mississippi, which is just an hour from Oxford. Beyond that, going to Ole Miss would give Labissiere immediate minutes in the SEC. At Memphis, he’ll be playing in the American and battling then-senior Shaq Goodwin and then-junior Austin Nichols for playing time. Labissiere is also a native Haitian, meaning those typical ties that Memphis kids have to their home school aren’t there.
And, as Kennedy said, “if it evolves like I want it to”, the Rebels will be getting one of the best big men in the country.