Big man White leaves Rebel basketball program

OXFORD – The Ole Miss men’s basketball team will have to find another man in the middle next season because Malcolm White is out.

White, a 6-foot-9 sophomore who started 27 games and was the team’s leading shot-blocker in the recently completed season, has left the team, the school announced Thursday.

White could not be reached Thursday for comment, but the school’s news release said he left for “personal reasons,” and quoted White, who is from Baton Rouge, as saying: “I have decided to leave Ole Miss in order to finish my career closer to my family in Louisiana. I have really enjoyed my time at Ole Miss and want to thank the coaches, my teammates and the whole Rebel family for all their support.”

White played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 2.2 points a game, but he blossomed as a sophomore, becoming a scoring threat and defensive stopper – when he could stay out of foul trouble.

White averaged 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds (second-best on the team) for the Rebels (16-15) this season. He also blocked 43 shots – a school sophomore record.

Two of White’s best games came back-to-back, when he had a career-high 20 points in an 85-80 victory over Kentucky and followed that with 11 points in a 67-63 win at Mississippi State.

White also shined in a 69-47 home victory over Georgia, with 11 points, nine rebounds and a career-best five blocked shots.

After that Kentucky win in late January, coach Andy Kennedy said the light bulb had come on for White, who struggled early in the season to stay out of foul trouble.

“(Tuesday) was the first time he played the way we felt he was capable,” Kennedy said then. “… I hope it is the impetus he needs to become the player we know he has got the potential to be.”

Kennedy did not return a message Thursday, but he did release a statement through the school.

“We appreciate Malcolm’s contributions to this program over the past two years, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors,” Kennedy said in the release.

T-Town Comment: HOW CLOSE DO YOU NEED TO GET ? LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI SHARE A STATE LINE FOR GOODNESS  SAKE !

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