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Wiggins introduced as next Lady Rebels coach

BLOG: Adrian Wiggins was officially introduced as the new Ole Miss women’s basketball coach today at the Basketball Practice Facility.

During the press conference, Wiggins hit on most of the notes you’d expect.

He thanked the search committee, new AD Ross Bjork, Fresno State and his family.

Wiggins also spoke of Ole Miss’ successful past that Sweet 16s and Elite 8s.

Having only coached in Oklahoma and California, Wiggins was asked if recruiting a new area would be a challenge.

“I get asked the question about how I can recruit in the South and in Mississippi without having many ties here,” he said. “I remind them that I was not from California either.  If I like you and think you can play, I will tell you that.”

MAKING THE TRANSITION: Wiggins is coming off of a 28-win season and a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

He inherits a team that won two games in the Southeastern Conference.

Following Wiggins press conference rising sophomore guard Amber Singletary and Executive Associate Athletics Director Lynnette Johnson spoke about the hire.

Johnson, who chaired the search committee, said Wiggins charisma immediately stood out during their initial interview.

“He already knew about Ole Miss women’s basketball from a statistical standpoint. He not going anywhere he doesn’t think he could be successful, lets just be honest,” she said. “He built a program at Fresno. Does he think he can stay and win at Fresno? Absolutely. He took at Ole Miss women’s basketball while we were talking to him and said, ‘we can win there and we’re going to win there.’ To me that was impressive.”

IN BUNCHES: The Bulldogs were 11th in the country in scoring this season averaging 74.9 points per game and 49th in field goal percentage (41.9 percent).

Fresno State also ranked third in the country in 3-point field goals per game with 9.8.

That long-range statistic (and ranking) are well above Ole Miss, which ranked 243rd in the country with just 4.0 3-point baskets per game.

Such a drastic difference caught Singletary’s attention.

“That’s another part of my game that I can work on,” she said. “Whenever a new coach comes in and tells me something I need to work on I just see that as a challenge for me personally.”

While Singletary just finished chiseling out a role under former coach Renee Ladner, Singleton said she’s looking at the change from a positive perspective.

“I’d rather see it as an opportunity than a challenge. Everything is a challenge in basketball but every year you have to work as hard as you worked the year before, even harder I think,” she said. “I think it’s just another challenge we’re going to have to get through, each and every one of us.”

For a complete writeup from Wiggins’ press conference be sure to pick up a copy of Thursday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE.

Interested in Wiggins’ entire press conference transcript? Click HERE. There’s also video of the press conference at the link.

  (March 28, 2012)

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