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Package deal doesn't help Ole Miss land top prospect

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

The most noteworthy aspect of Skal Labissiere's list of six potential schools is which program is no longer in the running to land the coveted Class of 2015 prospect.

Ole Miss didn't make the cut even though coach Andy Kennedy had made it known that Labissiere's legal guardian, Gerald Hamilton, could join his staff as a third assistant if that would help secure a commitment.

Labissiere announced via Twitter on Tuesday night that he had narrowed his list to six schools: Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina, Georgetown, Tennessee and Baylor. Besides Ole Miss, the Wildcats, Tigers and Tar Heels previously were thought to be the favorites to land the 6-foot-11 Haitian center, who is rated No. 14 in Rivals.com's Class of 2015 rankings.

Not making the cut to land Labissiere probably came as a shock to Kennedy. Earlier Tuesday, the Ole Miss coach made a thinly veiled reference to his plan to land Labissiere when explaining to local reporters why he hadn't filled the vacant spot on his staff yet.

"You guys are pretty smart," Kennedy said. "You probably realize what I'm doing, if it evolves like I want it to."

Though making that comment on the same day as Labissiere cut Ole Miss out of his recruitment leaves Kennedy with egg on his face, don't blame him for the daring strategy he employed.

First of all, it's perfectly legal under NCAA rules. Secondly, we've seen package deals like this succeed as recently as earlier this summer when Memphis offered an assistant coaching gig to Keelon Lawson, the father of four top prospects. And third, history suggests Ole Miss basketball is never going win a head-to-head recruiting battle with Kentucky, North Carolina or Memphis, so why not get a little creative in an attempt to get an edge? 

Alas for Kennedy, this time it wasn't enough. We don't know what school Labissiere will choose, but we do know that barring a change of heart, it apparently won't be Ole Miss.

For more Ole Miss news, visit RebelGrove.com.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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