July 5, 2006
OXFORD, Miss. - Andy Kennedy's Ole Miss basketball team reinforced the future of its backcourt with championship experience Wednesday, announcing that David Huertas of the national-champion Florida Gators is transferring to join the Rebels.
Due to NCAA transfer rules, the 6-foot-5, 178-pound guard can start practicing with the team in the fall but is ineligible for the 2006-07 season. Huertas may begin playing in the 2007-08 campaign with three years of eligibility remaining.
"David is a quality young man and a big guard with the ability to score in a variety of ways," said Kennedy, who is preparing for his first season as Ole Miss head coach. "He is obviously familiar with the SEC and comes from a winning program.
"With the players we have graduating after this upcoming season, it's an ideal situation for us to have a player of David's caliber sit out a year and come back with three years left."
A rising sophomore from Humacao, Puerto Rico, Huertas is currently working out at the Puerto Rican national team trials and is the youngest member of the preliminary roster.
He played in 35 games as a freshman for the Gators in 2005-06, including all 16 SEC contests, the NCAA Elite Eight win over Villanova and the Final Four victory against George Mason. Huertas connected on 33.3 percent (12-of-36) from three-point range last year and scored a career-high 15 points against Savannah State.
Ironically, he made his lone start of the season against the Rebels in Oxford, garnering a career-high 28 minutes and posting nine points and four boards. Huertas finished the year with averages of 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds.
His prep days were spent at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla., where as a senior, he averaged 20.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in leading his team to the first 2A state title in school history and a No. 7 USA Today final national ranking. As a junior, he was the Florida 2A Player of the Year with a 21.0-point scoring clip.
The addition of Huertas marks the second time this week Ole Miss has dipped into the Sunshine State for talent, having inked guard Eniel Polynice of Booker High School in Sarasota on Monday.
Other Rebel signees of the offseason include guard Rodney Jones of Peabody Magnet (La.) High School and forwards Andy Ogide from Paulding County (Ga.) High School and Kenny Williams from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Community College. Also new to the Ole Miss lineup in 2006-07 will be sophomore guard Justin Cerasoli, who sat out last year after transferring from Seton Hall in July 2005.
New Rebel David Huertas is working out with the Puerto Rican national team.