In the midst of what was a promising season for her, Bahamian Valerie Nesbitt, a talented, explosive guard with the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Lady Rebels, has been released.
Without going into details, Bahamian Yolett “Coach Yo” McPhee-McCuin, the head coach of the women’s basketball program at Ole Miss, called the move a necessary one in turning the program around.
“Right now, we’re trying to build a positive culture so that we can have a program that lasts,” she told Nathanael Gabler of the Oxford Eagle, a daily newspaper in Oxford, Mississippi. “I’m really focused on above-the-line actions. Valerie’s actions just have not been above-the-line consistently. So, I just believed it was in our best interest to move in separate ways.”
According to reports, Nesbitt will finish off the year at Ole Miss and then transfer to another school for her senior season. She was regarded as one of the nation’s top junior college point guards, coming out of Chipola College last year, and validated that with her play on the court this season. Through 15 games, Nesbitt averaged 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.0 steals on the season. She was second on the team in scoring and led the team and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in steals. Nesbitt was tied for 15th in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I women’s basketball in steals.
The 5’8” point guard started 11 of 15 games for the Lady Rebels this season, helping them to a 7-8 win-loss record, 0-2 SEC. She was averaging 24.3 minutes per game.
In her final game with Ole Miss, at the Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, against the nationally No. 10 ranked Texas A&M Aggies, on Monday, Nesbitt played just 13 minutes. She was 2-for-4 from the floor and scored just four points. The Aggies led by as much as 50 points in the game and won easily, 79-35.
“No level of player, no talent can make me sacrifice what we’re trying to build,” McPhee-McCuin said to Gabler. “I’ve known [Nesbitt] for a long time. She’ll probably be a part of my life moving forward, just not in this fashion, right now. I’m just giving her that freedom to be able to right some of her wrongs, and not just right her wrongs, grow personally. That’s where we are right now.”
McPhee-McCuin said she expects for certain players to play increased minutes, for the team to bond together and for them to get through this latest setback collectively. Ole Miss returns to action tonight, taking on No. 23 Tennessee in the SEC, at home. That game is set for an 8 p.m. start time at the Pavilion in Oxford.