Andeija Puckett, a 6-2 center, has announced she will transfer to Ole Miss from Cincinnati where she played in all 35 of the Bearcats' games last season as a sophomore.
Puckett, who will have to sit out the 2019-2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules, will have two seasons to play for Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin's rebuilding Rebels. She was ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN coming out of Griffin (Ga.) High School in the 2017 signing class. She was rated as the nation's No. 68 overall player by Peach State Basketball Report and the country's No. 90 player by Blue Star Basketball.
Puckett spoke with the Ole Miss Spirit about her decision to transfer to Ole Miss.
"Basically, I was unhappy (at Cincinnati)," Puckett said. "I wasn't at the place where I needed to be in life where I could accomplish the goals that I wanted to accomplish...I talked to Coach Yo' and I just fell in love with Ole Miss."
Interestingly, Puckett made her decision to transfer to Ole Miss sight unseen. She has not visited the program but will arrive to begin her residency in Oxford on June 26.
"I've never visited. I haven't visited Ole Miss. I was supposed to visit Tuesday, but there was a change of plans. Everything was directly over the phone. There was a lot of texting and face timing. I know what Coach Yo' expects out of me, so I won't be blindsided by what I have to do in order to make a difference on the team," Puckett said.
"I'm going to be on campus on the 26th, so there's really no reason for me to take that visit now. Ole Miss is the school where I wanted to be."
Puckett played a lot of basketball in her freshman and sophomore seasons at Cincinnati. Last season she averaged 4.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. She played in 17 games as a true freshman.
How difficult will it be for her to sit out the 2019-2020 season?
"Honestly, I was very open to it. Basically, I felt like I needed to take that year off to continue to develop my game. I wasn't second-guessing the fact that I have to sit out a year, because ultimately I know that will help me and my teammates and my coaches. I'm not losing anything. I look at it as I'm gaining the opportunity to work, work out, train to help me get better on the court and off the court," she said.
Puckett's transfer to Ole Miss is a reunion of sorts with another Rebel. In high school, she was travel ball teammates with 6-5 Rebel forward Dominique Banks, a junior college transfer from Gulf Coast State Community College.
"She's very excited," Puckett said. "She gave me a call and was like, 'Hi, teammate.' I'm very excited, too.
"I know that Ole Miss gives me that family environment and that atmosphere I've been looking for."