Excitement for the basketball season is ramping up after the Eagles came oh so close to making the NCAA tournament last season in Coach Donnie Tyndall's first season.
As things officially got started tonight with the first practice, the players are ready to prove they have what it takes to get to that next level this season.
One of the reason's for the high optimism is the addition of several newcomers this season, including Minnesota transfer Chip Armelin, who looks to be an important piece for the Eagles this season.
After sitting out last season, he was thrilled to be out on the court again knowing he can contribute this season.
"The first day was really good and everyone came out here to get better," an excited Armelin said after practice tonight.
"The new guys came out with a ton of energy and everyone was so ready to get it started. There was just a ton of energy this first practice."
The message from the coaches was simple. Build the foundation from the ground up.
"Make progress day by day," he said. "We have to continue to work on the little things and get the details right because we know what it takes to win and get this program to the next level."
For Armelin, the opportunity to take a year off could really benefit him in the long run, he believes.
"It felt good to be back on the court," he said.
"I was able to sit out a year, sit and get used to the program and the coaches. I'm glad to have that year because I was able to get used to the zone defense. When I was at Minnesota, we just went man, but here I am learning this new style of defense and Coach Tyndall pushes us hard there.
"It feels so good to be back out there and I was very excited."
Armelin feels that his experience playing for Minnesota can be used as a positive for the guys here at Southern Miss.
"Playing with a lot of experienced guys, and getting used to that level of basketball really helped me," he added. "I can be a leader on this team because I've been there and I know the grind and what it takes.
He'll be counted on for points as well as being a guy who can be that spark off the bench.
"I'm being an energy guy for this team, and someone that can come in and score and get things happening," he said.
"I hope I can get to that point where I can start, but I'll do whatever they ask me to do.
Armelin, who grew up and played his High School ball at Sulphur HS in Louisiana, said being back home in the deep south has been a lot of fun.
"My family can come see me play, they only live 5 hours away," he said. "I have so much family and friends down here so it feels good to be down here and back where I am comfortable."