Former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year cleared to play for Ole Miss

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A 72-52 win versus NC State was not the only highlight for the Ole Miss men’s basketball team on Tuesday night.

First-year head Coach Chris Beard confirmed after the blowout win that senior Oklahoma State transfer Moussa Cisse, a seven-foot center, has been cleared to compete for the remainder of the 2023-2024 season.

The former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year was spotted dressed out and warming up with the team ahead of the match against the Wolfpack and during the halftime intermission. However, the Guinea native did not receive any playing time in the midweek match.

“We literally found out right before the game — minutes, not hours — and so yeah, Moussa’s been cleared to play. We’re pleased with that,” Beard said. “I literally knew right before the game.”

Cisse, a two-time transfer who began his college career at Memphis, was unable to participate in the Rebels’ first five contests because the NCAA had not yet approved a waiver that would ultimately determine whether or not he would be able to see the floor this season.

Prior to his arrival in Oxford, the former five-star high school prospect and one of the more highly-coveted transfers appeared in 32 games for the Cowboys and made 20 starts last season, averaging 6.8 points, eight rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game.

In the big man’s absence, Beard turned to seven-foot-five Western Kentucky transfer Jamarion Sharp as well as freshman Rashaud Marshall and even Jackson native Jaemyn Brakefield to man things down low.

Now that Cisse is no longer being held up by college athletics’ governing body, Beard is hopeful that the NCAA will soon clear his team’s final piece in Georgetown transfer Brandon Murray, a six-foot-five guard, to suit up for Ole Miss with conference play right around the corner.

Next up for the Rebels (6-0) is a Saturday afternoon match versus Cisse’s first college stop in Memphis (5-1), which is led by former NBA star Penny Hardaway. The weekend game will tip off at 1 p.m. CT. and can be watched on ESPN or heard on participating SuperTalk Mississippi stations.

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