How Southern Miss basketball and Jay Ladner executed a full rebuild

HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss men’s basketball head coach Jay Ladner spent the offseason giving a forthright pitch.

At 7-26, the Golden Eagles hadn’t put together a good season in 2021-22. Five of their top six scorers had departed via the transfer portal after the season. Acknowledging those facts during discussions with potential additions, Ladner sold them on opportunity.

Eight incoming transfers were willing to buy. The Golden Eagles completed an extensive rebuild over the span of just a few months, retaining only five scholarship players from last season’s roster.

“We need to win,” Ladner said. “My boss hasn’t told me that. We can make all the excuses in the world, I’m not into excuses. We’re going into our fourth season and we’re coming off two pretty rough seasons. what it was, we got in here late. The last two years have been tough in terms of win-loss record, and that’s not acceptable.”