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franklin county times

Watson pulling for Rebs

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
March 13, 2001
The Ole Miss Rebels are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional in this year's NCAA Basketball Tournament, and here in Meridian, the Rebels have a special fan.
Meridian High head basketball coach Ernie Watson is the former coach at Provine. There he guided current Rebels Aaron Harper and Justin Reed.
Two thirds of the Rebels' current Provine Posse' were coached by Watson, and in 1999, the Rams made it to the MHSAA Class 5A state championship game at the Mississippi Coliseum.
While Watson's crew wasn't able to secure a title, the fond memories Harper and Reed left with Watson still remain.
Reed, whom Watson called one of the hardest-working high school players he ever coached, was the state's 2000 Most Valuable Player in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game last June.
It was just one of many accolades and honors Reed received on his way to Ole Miss.
Watson also said he felt the Rebels (25-7) were certainly deserving of their No.3 seeding. His only wish was that they had been placed in the South Regional.
The site for first and second-round games in that bracket is the New Orleans Superdome.
Watson said he thought the Rebels got a good draw and would be very competitive in the Midwest.
Watson also extolled the virtues of Harper's shooting touch.
The only difference Watson stipulated between the two young men was he feels Reed will be leaving Oxford before his four years are up to take a spot in the NBA, while Harper will more than likely play out his senior season.
The ex-Rams coach, who steered the Meridian Wildcats to within one win of the Mississippi Coliseum this year, said that he definitely plans on attending the Final Four in the event the Rebels are still alive.
And according to Watson, getting in the door definitely won't be a problem.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.