USM basketball rolling with the punches

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From Southern Miss winning the 1987 NIT championship to St. Stanislaus winning the 2011 4A state title to Jones College winning the 2014 NJCAA Tournament, USM Head Coach Jay Ladner has seen just about everything on a basketball court.

Yet Ladner still hasn’t seen a year quite like this one.

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Having already lost primetime non-conference games against Ole Miss and TCU, the Golden Eagles are also part of an entirely new league schedule format as a result of COVID.

Just yesterday, the NCAA extended the off-campus recruitment ban from January until April. Now they’re talking about playing the NCAA Tournament in one central location, which at the end of the day beats the alternative. “You know what, I hope this is the one time in our lives that we have to deal with something like this. But certainly not having an NCAA Tournament last year, so when you don’t have one and then now they’re saying, hey, we’re going to play it all at one site, let’s play it. And kind of like our back-to-back games, if that’s the way that we have to play it to play it – if that’s what has to be done for us to play it – then I’m all for it.”

Tonight, the basketball program celebrated its annual Hardwood Club event at Sunkist Country Club in Biloxi, leading up to USM’s season opener on November 28th.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.