Chris Beard and Ole Miss Basketball have been tearing through the transfer portal this offseason. That barrage continued over the weekend with the commitment of big man Moussa Cisse.
Cisse was one of the top transfers remaining in the portal. The former co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is well-traveled, having already played for both Memphis and Oklahoma State. He picked the Rebels over Cincinnati and UCLA.
Cisse brings a lot to the table, particularly in the size department. He’s one-inch shy of being a seven-footer, more than four inches past that mark in terms of wingspan. He’s also agile and able to reach high to the sky, a prominent shot blocker.
Next chapter ✅
Hotty Toddy pic.twitter.com/C6CcfOL3Wv
— Moussa Cisse 33 (@moussacisse224) May 14, 2023
He’s the fourth addition to Ole Miss’ transfer class, which includes former Georgetown guard Brandon Murray and former Arizona State guard Austin Nunez. The inclusion of Cisse makes this one of the country’s best transfer classes.
But while he brings a lot to the table, another move by the Rebels in the transfer portal could limit Cisse’s impact on his new team.
What is the impact of big man Moussa Cisse’s recent transfer decision to go play for Chris Beard and the Ole Miss Rebels?
Cisse is not the first towering big man Beard has brought in this offseason. In fact, he’s not even close to being the biggest of the incoming big men.
That distinction belongs to Jamarion Sharp, who came over from Western Kentucky. Sharp isn’t much of a scorer, but he rebounds and blocks shots with ease, aided by his 7-foot-5 frame.
Will those two players be able to coexist? Cisse has the athleticism to play down at power forward, but it still feels like it would be an awkward fit. Staggering the two players means neither plays as much as they could (though they can stay relatively fresh).
Awkwardly enough, that may not even be relevant. While it seems like the transfer portal is open season on college basketball, there are still rules. Since this is his second time transferring, there’s a chance Cisse won’t be eligible this coming season; he’d still have two years of eligibility left.
Cisse may elevate the Rebels’ ceiling, but it still doesn’t feel like Beard’s first season in Oxford will result in an NCAA Tournament appearance. The SEC should be stacked next season and could land anywhere between six and eight teams in the Big Dance. That includes Ole Miss’ Egg Bowl rivals, as Mississippi State appears to be in better shape than the Rebels.
The thing that would really raise the ceiling is the return of Matthew Murrell. The junior led Ole Miss last season with 14.4 points per game.
Murrell recently participated in the G League Combine and actually turned a few heads, testing really well at the event. Whether it was well enough to make leaving college worth his while, however, is uncertain.
The buzz in Oxford is positive, which is something for a program that hasn’t been discussed much since the wild days of Marshall Henderson. Moussa Cisse helps plenty in that department. But he alone can’t make the Ole Miss Rebels a serious contender in the SEC.