USM fans get last look at seniors crucial to turnaround

Posted by PATRICK MAGEE on March 8, 2013 

Southern Miss fans get a chance Saturday to say farewell to a group of seniors crucial to the recent turnaround of the men's basketball program.

Jonathan Mills, Dwayne Davis and Rashard McGill will be playing their final home games as Golden Eagles at 7 p.m. on Saturday in a home contest against Central Florida, one of three C-USA teams to beat USM this season.

First-year head coach Donnie Tyndall readily admits that Mills is his favorite player, and no Golden Eagle has played harder than Mills over the last two seasons.

The lefty has thrown his body onto the floor countless times going after rebounds during his two years at USM. Mills typically battles men 4 inches taller and more than holds his own each time.

In the past, Memphis brought in big men who constantly pushed around the Southern Miss frontcourt. You can never say that Mills was pushed around, and you can argue that he instantly changed the mentality of the USM program with his toughness.

Davis is one of the best pure scorers that Southern Miss has ever had. It's a shame that he only had one year to play at USM after being ineligible for the 2011-12 season. Imagine how far that Southern Miss team could have gone with Davis in the mix.

Davis is averaging 15.3 points this season and is without a doubt the go-to player for this team.

Rashard McGill has seen a turnaround in his career this season following a junior season that was an offensive struggle at times.

You can make the case that McGill is USM's best player off the bench at this point of the season. He's hitting 42.2 percent of his 3-pointers, and a hot finish for McGill in next week's Conference USA Tournament would be a huge lift to USM's shot at a title.

Without Mills, there would've been no in NCAA Tournament in 2012.

Without Davis, USM wouldn't have reached the 20-win mark in Tyndall's first campaign.

This season could have easily nose-dived following super-sub Michael Craig's injury if McGill wasn't there to step in.

*There's still the potential that USM could play a home game in the NIT, but I'll be honest in admitting that I'm not sure how that tournament picks its host sites these days.

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