The confederate symbol emblazoned on the Mississippi state flag has come under scrutiny of late amid calls from activists and college athletes in the state to separate from it, but the likely change promised from state officials is too late for one now-former Ole Miss basketball player. In an interview with The Daytona Beach (Florida) News-Journal, former top-150 recruit Blake Hinson, who spent the last two seasons with the Rebels, said his recent decision to transfer to Iowa State was in part spurred by the controversial flag and its representation of the Confederacy.
"To make a general statement, it was time to go and leave Ole Miss," Hinson said. "I'm proud not to represent that flag anymore and to not be associated with anything representing the Confederacy."
Tate Reeves, the Governor of Mississippi, promised over the weekend that if a bill is sent his way to change the official state flag, he will sign it.
"The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag," Reeves said. "The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it's time to end it."
College coaches from across Mississippi-- including Ole Miss basketball coach Kermit Davis, football coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach -- gathered Thursday at the Mississippi Capitol to lobby for the removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag. Davis said the decision to remove it is "the right thing to do." It seems distancing from it is only a matter of time.
The loss of Hinson to transfer is not insignificant for Ole Miss. The former top-150 recruit averaged 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore. He made 58 starts in 60 appearances in his first two seasons with the Rebels.
Hinson is expected to apply for an NCAA waiver to be eligible this season.