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UT snub aside, Basham signs with Ole Miss

Among the football Mannings, Archie is a legend at Ole Miss while his son, Peyton, is a legend at the University of Tennessee.

Legends or not, the baseball Bashams are also split along UT/Ole Miss lines.

Brett Basham, Bearden High School standout senior catcher, will soon enter the realm of big-time college baseball after accepting a partial scholarship offer from the University of Mississippi.

Brett’s father, Bruce Basham, was a four-year starting catcher at UT from 1977 to 1980.

Bashman, 18, said comfort level, limited competition, a catcher’s expert at the helm and a “pretty good offer” from Ole Miss coaches clinched the deal.

“I just liked the small town atmosphere in Oxford better than Vanderbilt in Nashville and Georgia Tech in Atlanta,” Basham said about choosing the Southeastern Conference School over the other finalists. “Also, coach (Mike) Bianco down there, he’s the head coach, but he’s also their catching coach, so having your head coach as your position coach was something that was really important to me.”

The 6-foot-2, 180 pound senior joined his father; mother, Donna; grandparents Russ and Beverly Basham and younger sister, Brittney, for a signing ceremony Friday morning, Nov. 12, in the BHS East Mall.

Although Basham said the University of Tennessee showed no interest in recruiting him, the senior said he’s not bitter. “I wasn’t really offended, they’ve got three really good catchers right now,” he said. “They just really didn’t have any need for me.”

Is the elder Basham bitter about Tennessee’s decision?

“Not at all,” Bruce Basham said. “And like I’ve told everybody that’s contacted us, we knew the situation at Tennessee. I had a conversation with Larry Simcox (UT assistant coach) back in the summer … I point-blank asked him, ‘why aren’t you all looking at Brett?’ And he said, ‘Bruce, we already have catchers’ … Tennessee didn’t need catchers.

“We understood that, and I appreciated coach Simcox talking with me on that,” Bruce Basham added. “There’s not any negative feelings at all toward Tennessee. We’ve got a good experience going (with) Ole Miss.”

Bruce Basham also praised BHS head baseball coach Matt Buckner and former Bulldog skipper Mitch Carter for helping Brett develop his skills.

Though the formal signing ceremony was held at BHS Friday, Basham actually signed National Letter of Intent papers earlier that week. But the Bulldog senior said he made up his mind Oct. 11 following a recruiting trip to Vanderbilt.

“I would have been the seventh catcher on their roster my freshman year, and I think I’m only the third catcher at Ole Miss, that was a pretty big factor,” Basham said.

As a junior who earned honorable mention All-District 4-AAA last spring, Basham’s batting average was just above .300 with two home runs and five doubles.

But according to Buckner, Basham’s forte is defense.

“He brings to the table exceptional physical skills,” the coach said. “He has a good body for a catcher, he has an exceptional throwing arm and is a very good defensive catcher. His hitting is coming along.”

As for the chance of significant playing time as a freshman, “They use the two-catcher system there, so hopefully I can come in and compete for a job as a freshman,” said Basham.


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