Introducing the Newest Basketball Rebels

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 30, 2021

OXFORD, Miss. – The 2021 recruiting class for Ole Miss Men’s Basketball features seven new Rebels ready to make their way to Oxford for the 2021-22 season. A quartet of incoming freshman and a trio of transfers look to make an immediate impact donning the Red and Blue.

“I’m really proud of our staff and coaches, the job they did in the spring recruiting period,” said head coach Kermit Davis. We signed three quality transfers to go along with four really good high school players. I think we’ve got a really good mixture of height, versatility, shooting and experience with our three transfers. I know everybody in college basketball is working to stay older, but I still think you’ve got to get a good mixture of young players that you can develop. I think we’ve got both in this class to go along with the returning guys.”

The newest Rebels are Jaemyn Brakefield, Nysier Brooks, Tye Fagan, Daeshun Ruffin, Grant Slatten, Eric Van Der Heijden and James White. Below is a brief introduction on each student-athlete along with thoughts from Coach Davis.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Jaemyn Brakefield • Sophomore • Forward • 6-9
Jackson, Miss. • Huntington Prep • Duke

  • As a freshman, played in 22 of Duke’s 24 games and had some memorable moments
  • Tallied 11 points and four rebounds against No. 8 Michigan State in the Champions Classic (Dec. 2)
  • Versus Bellarmine (Dec. 4), became the first freshman in Cameron Indoor Stadium history to go a perfect 4 for 4 from beyond the arc and only the third Duke freshman to do it in any game throughout program history
  • Recorded 11 points, five rebounds and four blocks, while his and-1 bucket with two minutes left gave Duke the lead for good to help the Blue Devils knock off No. 7 Virginia (Feb. 22)
  • Out of high school, was one of the nation’s top recruits as a 5-star prospect
  • Ranked the No. 1 player in the state and the fourth-best power forward in the country
  • Became the first player to be named West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year three times
  • Averaged 19.2 ppg and 8.3 rpg as a senior at Huntington Prep, while earning a spot in the 2020 Jordan Brand Classic at the end of the season.

Coach Davis: “Jaemyn, when you watch him play, he’s got great basketball skill set. Jaemyn play makes. He can rebound it, advance the ball up the floor and make great decisions. He’s a really, really good passer. I think he could be a really good three-point shooter. At 6-foot-9, he’s very versatile. He just stretches you at that spot, so I think he can be a hard matchup for anybody just because what he can do at all three levels. I’ll tell you what else he can do around the goal, he’s a lefty, but he finishes with his right almost better than he does with his left.”

Nysier Brooks • Graduate • Center • 7-0
Philadelphia, Pa. • Advanced Prep International • Miami (FL)

  • Has played in 130 games at the Division I level throughout the past four years recording 62 starts, 653 points, 511 rebounds and 119 blocks
  • Has shot 52.2 percent (240 of 460) over his career
  • Bumped his scoring average to 7.8 ppg during the past two seasons.
  • As a redshirt-senior, started 25 out of 27 games as the Hurricanes’ leading rebounder (5.8 per game) and ranked 13th in the ACC in total boards
  • Also led the team with 26 blocks on the year (11th in ACC)
  • Produced four double-digit rebound games as well as two-double doubles throughout the 2020-21 campaign
  • Scored a career-high 21 points against Boston College (March 5)
  • Helped lead Cincinnati to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2018-19 campaign in which he averaged 8.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.5 bpg (third in AAC)

Coach Davis: “Making 62 starts and playing in 130 Division I games, he brings great experience and talent to our team. We feel ‘Nas’ can be one of the very best defensive bigs in college basketball, and I am really excited to watch his growth on the offensive end. Scoring 19 points in an ACC Tournament game versus Georgia Tech this season was a glimpse of what he can do offensively.”

Tye Fagan • Senior • Guard • 6-3
Logtown, Ga. • Upson-Lee • Georgia

  • Spent three years at Georgia, appearing in 89 games and scoring 450 points while shooting 56.4 percent (193 of 342) from the floor
  • Started 25 of 26 games during the 2020-21 season, averaging 9.2 ppg and 4.3 rpg
  • Made 105 of 179 (58.7 percent) shot attempts to lead the Bulldogs in field goal percentage
  • Ranked second on the team in blocks
  • Began his junior campaign with a double-double against Florida A&M with career highs in points (21) and rebounds (10) to become the first SEC Player of the Week for the 2020-21 season
  • Reached double figures in 11 games, including a team-high 19 points (9 of 9 FG) in The Pavilion against the Rebels (Jan. 16)
  • Recorded 18 points and seven rebounds to help the Bulldogs upset LSU (Feb. 23).
  • Has two years of eligibility remaining

Coach Davis: “Tye had some great games in the SEC this season, including 19 versus the Rebels. He’s got a chance to really improve his three-point shooting, and he is a really good rebounder. I think Tye is going to help us early in a big way. We have known Tye and his family for years and know he fits our program in every facet on and off the court.”

Daeshun Ruffin • Freshman • Guard • 5-9
Jackson, Miss. • Callaway

  • First McDonald’s All-American signee in school history
  • Consensus 4-star prospect, ranked No. 40 in the country and No. 1 in the state of Mississippi
  • Tabbed 2021 Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and 2021 MaxPreps Mississippi High School Basketball Player of the Year
  • Earned a spot in the prestigious Allen Iverson Roundball Classic
  • Scored 2,337 points throughout his high school career, averaging 25.4 ppg
  • Earned all-state accolades all four years of high school
  • Averaged 33.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apg and 2.8 spg as a senior
  • A first team all-state honoree as a junior, led Callaway to a state title by scoring 33 in the championship game at The Pavilion

Coach Davis: “I think Daeshun is going to have an immediate impact on our team, no question about it. You make the McDonald’s All-American Game, and it doesn’t guarantee success, but you’re valued as one of the top 24 players in the country. We just really love everything about Daeshun. I think he may be the most electrifying scorer in the class, so Daeshun will have a great, great chance to make an early impact at Ole Miss.”

Grant Slatten • Freshman • Guard • 6-5
Sparta, Tenn. • White County

  • Ranked as the No. 6 prospect from the state of Tennessee
  • Named the runner-up for 2021 Mr. Basketball in Tennessee (Class 3A)
  • Earned 2021 6AAA Player of the Year accolades
  • Became with all-time leading scorer in White County history with 2,765 points
  • Produced five 40-point games and 30 30-point games throughout his high school career
  • Scored a school-record 59 in a game as a senior
  • Three-time all-state honoree
  • Collected 3AAA All-Region and 6AAA All-District honors all four years of high school

Coach Davis: “I’ve watched Grant grow up for a long time. He is a 6-foot-5 guard that is extremely athletic and is one of the best shooters in this ’21 class. His dad, Bruce, has been considered one of the best high school coaches in Tennessee for many years.”

Eric Van Der Heijden • Freshman • Forward • 6-8
Raleigh N.C. • Millbrook

  • A top-200 prospect nationally and ranked No. 9 in the state of North Carolina
  • Named to the 2021 Carolinas Classic, the annual all-star game that pits the best high school players from North Carolina against the top high school players from South Carolina.
  • Averaged a double-double (18.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg) as a senior to go along with 4.1 apg, guiding his team to an undefeated season
  • Earned all-state and first team all-district honors from the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association
  • Tabbed the Cap 7 Conference Player of the Year as well
  • Led Millbrook to the North Carolina Class 4A State Championship, the first state title in school history, with 21 points in the championship game
  • Took home the Charlie Adams Most Valuable Player Award (state championship MVP).
  • Led his team to a 42-4 over his final two seasons, making 96 three-pointers during the stretch and shooting 43 percent from long distance.

Coach Davis: “Eric possesses a great skill set for a 6-foot-8 player with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. He is a really good passer that shoots with great range. We think Eric’s going to be a really good player.”

James White • Freshman • Guard • 6-5
Conyers, Ga. • Heritage

  • Ranked No. 135 in the national rankings as well as the No. 9 player in the state of Georgia
  • Earned first team all-state accolades and was tabbed the 2021 Region 3 6A Player of the Year
  • Scored 1,412 points in two years at the varsity level, collecting all-state honors both seasons
  • Averaged 27.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg as a senior
  • Ranked among the state’s top five scorers as a junior, scoring 724 points (24.1 ppg)
  • Recorded 24.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 apg during the 2019-20 season
  • Had at least 20 points in 24 of 30 games, including six 30-point games
  • Scored a season-high 41 against Acovy

Coach Davis: “James has a great skill level as a long, athletic guard that is one of the very best scorers in the state of Georgia. He loves ball, enjoys being in the gym and was first team all-state this year. James has an unbelievable support system around him.”