"Ole Miss is just a great program and it is not too far away from home,
added Johnny O'Bryant. "I also like them because they get a lot of fan
support. Coach Kennedy told me to not expect a packed house Saturday because
all of their students were still out of school, but it was packed and loud.
I love how crazy it gets in that gym."
The Rebel coaches have been keeping a close eye on Johnny since his 9th grade
season, and that has made an impact on him as well.
"I really like them a lot. They are real cool and understand you because
they are young too. My favorite coach is Owen (Miller). He is real cool and
is up to par with everything. He understands what we go through as recruits.
He is why I got so interested in Ole Miss in the first place."
The game Saturday between the two instate rivals was exciting on and off the
"I think it was their second largest crowd in school history. It was packed.
"They had it rumbling in that place. It was a real great game too. I think
Vernardo was the game changer for MSU. He altered a lot of shots and made the
Ole Miss players throw up a lot of crazy shots up at the end of the game. He
pretty much took over the game for MSU."
What new did he learn about Ole Miss during the visit?
"They let their post players play free and let them do what they want to.
They let them run the floor and play up tempo."
What new did he learn about MSU during the game?
"They also like to play up tempo. They kind of let their big men play free,
but they play more inside/outside, which frees up the ball. They go through
Vernardo a lot and run their offense through their post (players)."
What does he like most about Ole Miss?
"I just like their style of play and the coaching staff is what I like
most about Ole Miss. They are all from Mississippi or around the South and have
that southern hospitality personality. I have just gelled with that staff, and
they have gelled with me. They just understand where I am coming from."
How does Scout.com's #3 nationally ranked power forward fit in with Mississippi State?
"They are a good program too. I like MSU a lot. They both have good coaches
too, and I think both OM and MSU have good programs."
What does Johnny like most about MSU?
"I like how dedicated they are to recruiting. If they like you; they show
you a lot of dedication. They show you that they want you be coming around and
seeing you and things like that. They are good recruiters."
How many times has O'Bryant visited the Oxford and Starkville campuses?
"I have been up to Ole Miss 5 or 6 times and MSU 3 or 4 times."
Which schools are coming after Johnny the hardest?
"MSU, Ole Miss, Memphis, Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, and Oklahoma. Harvard
Out of that group, who is coming after the 5-Star the hardest?
"Well, I am still open to everyone, but I would probably say the two Mississippi
Nobody is on top?
"Nobody is on top of anybody. I am open to everybody, and I am just taking
in the recruiting process so I can make a good decision."
What is going on with Memphis?
"I like their new head coach. He is just a really/really good recruiter
and coach. He is real young and a good person too. Memphis also gets a lot of
The last time Johnny was interviewed by Scout.com he stated
that his top three schools were Memphis, Ole Miss, and Harvard. Some eyebrows
raised when they read the name Harvard, but they are definitely still in the
"They are just a great school for education and basketball. You can't beat
a degree from Harvard, and I really like coach (Brian) DeStefano. Their head
coach, Tommy Amaker, played for Duke and has done a great job with that program.
They are a school I am still looking at real hard. They are doing a good job
of recruiting me too."
Johnny's grades must be pretty good to be recruited by Harvard, right?
"Yes sir. My mom stays on me pretty good about my grades. I have a 3.1
Core GPA, and I scored an 18 on the ACT my freshman year. I have not taken it
again, but I am about to start taking it a lot. I am shooting for the high 20's."
For the readers out there that have not seen Johnny hoop it up; describe your
"I think I am good at both ends. I am 6' 9", 215. I can block shots
and get out on the defensive side of the ball, but I can also bring the ball
down the court and handle the pressure. My pull up game has gotten better, and
I can knock down the three ball too. My ball handling has improved the most
The Cleveland Eastside standout averaged 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocked
shots a game as a sophomore. This year he is averaging 21 points, 16 rebounds,
and 4 assists a game.
"I think I am just an all around better player. I can see the court better.
I am a better passer. I score more and shoot it better. My ball handling is
better. I have gotten little bit better at everything this year."
How is the team doing?
"We started off 2-4, but we are now 14-5. I think we have come together.
We just had to get our chemistry down and bond together. We added a few new
starters to our line up and had to find a new point guard so it took a little
while for everyone to get adjusted. We are balling now. We feel like we can
make some noise in the Big House this year. That is everyone's goal."
Yancy Porter is the Recruiting Manager for the State of Mississippi and he
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org