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October 24, 2012 Mississippi Boys' Hoops Pre-Season Super 15 & Fab 20 By: LeMond Roy MBH Executive Director As teams across the Magnolia State gear up for the upcoming basketball season, we release our Pre-Season Super 15 team ranking and Fab 20 player ranking. Callaway will begin the season as Mississippi's top boys' team. Look for them to repeat as 5A State Champions!! 1) Jackson Callaway (24-6) (5A State Champions) 2) Amanda Elzy (23-5) (4A State Champions) 3) Gulfport (29-5) (6A Semi-Finalist) 4) Meridian (15-9) 5) Jackson Murrah (17-10) 6) Madison Central (16-14) 7) Jackson Provine (15-11) 8) Laurel (23-8) (4A Semi-Finalist) 9) SV Marshall (24-4) (2A State Champions) 10) Jim Hill (24-11) (6A State Champions) 11) Clinton (24-6) 12) Biloxi (21-7) 13) Pascagoula (26-4) 14) Forest Hill (17-10) 15) Piney Woods (14-11) Mississippi Boys' Hoops Pre-Season Fab 20 1) Malik Newman 6'3" Sophomore WG Jackson Callaway 2) Dwight Coleby 6'9" Senior C Piney Woods 3) Devin Booker 6'3" Junior WG Moss Point 4) TreShawn Bolden 6'8" Senior F Jackson Callaway 5) LaDerrick Scott 6'8" Senior F Forest 6) Rakeem Lehman 6'4" Senior PG Amanda Elzy 7) Torloff Thomas 6'1" Senior PG Meridian 8) Maurice Dunlap 6'1" Junior WG Amanda Elzy 9) Marquis Vance 6'5" Senior F SV Marshall 10) Josh Carroll 6'0" Senior WG Jackson Murrah 11) Jarmarcus Middleton 6'8" Senior PF Amanda Elzy 12) Dennis Miles 6'6" Senior PF Meridian 13) Kenny Paul Geno 6'6" Senior WF Booneville 14) Deshon Bayless 6'6" Junior PF Laurel 15) Xavier Dillon 6'7" Senior PF Tylertown 16) Sam Craft 6'2" Senior PG Olive Branch 17) Joniah White 6'10" Junior C Madison Central 18) Oliver Black 6'8" Junior F Jackson Wingfield 19) Jacob Ivory 5'9" Junior PG Jackson Murrah 20) Jahshire Hardnett 5'7" Sophomore PG Gulfport October 22, 2012 2016 Guard/Wing Mario Kegler Not Satisfied By Gene Swindoll Scout.com 2016 guard/wing Mario Kegler is currently ranked among the top five players in his classification by at least one basketball scouting service. While many players might be satisfied with that type of accolade, don't count Mario among that group. "I'm staying in the gym working hard every day, sometimes coming in at 5 in the morning and work out before I go to school," said Kegler. "I do that 3 or 4 days a week. Then I get out of school and work 4 or 5 hours on ball-handling and shooting. I'm also lifting weights and doing pushups to build up my strength." His hard work is paying off, too. He can do things most players his size can't. "I can do about anything on the court but I like dribbling and bringing it up the court, breaking down somebody and going to the rim and dunking," said Kegler, who recently participated in the Marc Rowe Adidas Crossroads of the South camp. There are several things that Kegler continues to work hard on so that he can be the best player possible. "I still need to work on my dribbling, my shot and my defense," he said. College coaches like what they have seen from the 2016 prospect. "They told (AAU MBA Hoops Co-Founder and Coach) Omhar (Carter) that they like that I play hard, defend around the basket," said Kegler. "And they told him to tell me to keep attacking the basket." Playing for Carter's MBA Hoops AAU program has allowed Kegler to receive a tremendous amount of exposure when it comes to college coaches. And Kegler uses that to motivate him to be even better. "We went to Kansas (for an AAU event) and I saw a lot of coaches there but I made sure I kept my head on straight so the college coaches wouldn't bother my game," he said. "Seeing all those coaches just motivates me to continue working hard." October 20, 2012 2014 Malik Hines Update By Gene Swindoll Scout.com Murrah High School forward Malik Hines, one of the top players in Mississippi's class of 2014, is already receiving quite a bit of recruiting interest from colleges throughout the south.Hines, who plays for Omhar Carter's AAU MBA Hoops program, talks about the schools that are currently showing interest in him. "Omhar has told me who is looking at me and some of them have even come to my school," he said. "I have La Tech, Western Kentucky, West Virginia, Florida State, Lamar University, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU. That's all that I know of." Just now going into his junior season of high school basketball, he really hasn't given recruiting much thought. "I really haven't thought about (recruiting)," said Hines. "I'm going to wait until the right time to decide. Right now, I'm just trying to play basketball." Although not sure which schools he's interested in, he does have an idea what he's looking for in a college and a college coach. "I'm looking for a school that has a major in Sports Medicine because that's what I want to do," said Hines. "I want to be around sports. And if I can't make it (in the NBA), I feel I will have something to fall back on sports-wise. "I'm looking for a coach who will let me be me, but at the same time, I know I have to go by what he says. I really want a coach who will keep me in my comfort zone." Hines talks about what his comfort zone is on the basketball court. "I am an athletic forward who likes to get offensive rebounds who gets the easy points and putbacks," he said. "I also have a three-point jump shot but I choose not to use it because I don't like to get out of my comfort zone. I like to bring intensity on the defensive end. I also like to hustle, rebound and block shots." October 18, 2012 New Basketball Player Impressing When Alabama Men’s Basketball Coach Anthony Grant signed one of the nation’s top prospects, one can’t help but wonder if he realized what a headache Devota Pollard might prove to be. Bama has been practicing for less than a week, but the evidence is beginning to come in. Alabama freshman Devonta Pollard, 6-8, 200, the reigning Mississippi Gatorade State Player of the Year and MVP of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, was a five-star prospect by FoxSPORTSNext, ranked the fifth best small forward in the nation. In his senior season, Pollard led Kemper County High School to the Mississippi 3A state title by averaging 23.8 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 5.1 blocked shots per game. He earned Mr. Basketball in Mississippi. Pollard received an invitation to the prestigious McDonald’s High School All-American Game, but did not participate due to injury. He will be the 10th McDonald’s All-America to suit up for the Crimson Tide. Andrew Steele, Alabama’s lone senior, said of Bama’s lone signee, “He’s one of the most exciting athletes I’ve been able to play with in terms of his size and his length, his quickness, his jumping ability. He’s going to be a nightmare for people in the press for how we play. His skill level surprised me. He’s real good at handling the ball and shooting and a great decision-maker. He’s one of those people you could put him anywhere on the court and he’d be successful.” So, okay. A headache for Bama opponents. Steele and other Alabama players have been working with Pollard since mid-summer. Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant said, “I think some of the veteran guys have been able to speed the process up for him in terms of what the expectations are and what we need to do. “He’s doing well. Obviously as a freshmen there’s a lot to learn in what the expectations are, the system, and what-not, but like I said I think the veteran guys have done a good job of helping that learning curve for him. He has a very high basketball IQ as well, so he’s been able to pick things up.” One question posed to Grant was whether Pollard is an inside player or a wing player or a high post player. “Devonta is a basketball player,” Grant said. Without JaMychal Green, with soph Nick Jacobs the most experienced inside player, and the jury still out on some other big men, Grant said, “We’ll play a variety of different lineups, key in a lot of players and ask them to do a lot of different things.” Sophomore guard Levi Randolph said, “Pollard is fitting in very well. He’s doing great. He has a lot of energy and does well on both ends of the floor, so he’s going to bring a lot to the team. “Devonta’s great. He’s a great guy, he’s a good player. He’s a basketball player. I feel like he’s a guy who can play all over the court, who can play multiple positions. And how will he impress? “His energy,” said Randolph. “His skill. He can fly, he can jump, he can shoot, he can dribble. He’s going to be a great asset to the team.” Steele said, “I think it’s tough for a freshman to come in, but I think he’s p;icked up everything in stride. I think he’s going to be a real big part of our success this year. “He’ll be a great rebounder, great defender, great finisher, but I think his skill level is a lot better than what I thought it was. He can really shoot and handle the ball and he’s a good decision maker. I think he’s going to be really, really versatile. “He’s a playmaker. “I’m really excited to see him get a chance to play.” October 16, 2012 Coleby picks Rebels over Memphis by: Neal McCready RebelGrove.com Earlier last week, it appeared Ole Miss was on the cusp of losing Dwight Coleby to Memphis. By Thursday, the pendulum had swung in Ole Miss' favor. On Sunday, the Rebels landed their man, getting a commitment from the 6-foot-9 Bahamian currently playing at Piney Woods (Miss.) School. "It was a hard choice," Coleby told RebelGrove.com Sunday night. "I had to think about it a lot, take a lot of things in consideration. I finally came up with Ole Miss. I like everything about it. I'm blessed to find it. They're losing two players at my position. It's safe, and I like the coaching staff." "It was back and forth, Memphis and Ole Miss. It was back and forth. In the end, I just searched for an answer, and I found Ole Miss." Coleby chose Ole Miss over Memphis, Mississippi State, Southern Mississippi, Louisville and others. He took official visits to Memphis and Ole Miss prior to making his decision. Coleby should step in and play quickly at Ole Miss, which loses Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway from its frontcourt after this season. "I'm excited," Coleby said. "I can fit in as soon as I come in. I can contribute to the team. I think we're going to be a good program." Ole Miss is expected to sign three prospects in this class. The Rebels entertained Wichita (Sunrise Christian Academy), Kan., center Sebastian Saiz this weekend, and a source close to the program indicated the visit with the 6-foot-9 Spaniard went extremely well. Ole Miss is also expected to add one signee to its backcourt. October 7, 2012 Newman shines at USA basketball minicamp by: Eric Bossi Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Colorado Springs - Day two of USA Basketball's fall minicamp for class of 2015 and 2016 prospects was very similar to day one. With a day under their belts and a better idea of what is expected of them, players in attendance played with a little more urgency and were a bit more attentive. After the big guys delivered on day one, a series of guards and wings like Malik Newman, Josh Jackson, Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk were among those delivering the goods. Newman a humble star in the making On the basketball floor, you won't find a more confident sophomore than Malik Newman. The 6-foot-4 combo guard from Jackson (Miss.) Callaway is a cold blooded machine on the offensive end and never looks rattled. Get him off the floor and Newman is a shy and humble 15-year-old who is hoping to impress people with his play. "I think I did well, but I could have done a lot better," Newman told Rivals.com. "I could have done better on defense and it's got to be about being a leader and talking to my teammates on the floor." Big and strong with good ball skills, Newman looked like the polished perimeter player in attendance over the weekend. His ability to hit deep jumpers and tough drives commands your attention, but his feel for the game and unselfishness is easy to appreciate. When pressed, Newman says that he sees himself as more of a two guard, but he's working to keep improving his playmaking. "I've always been a good scorer, ever since I was a really young child," Newman said." As I got older and started to play against bigger players and was one of the smaller players on the court, I realized that I needed to get in the gym and work on my overall game and playmaking." Newman says that his father Horatio is handling the recruiting process for him, but he's noticed Georgia, Memphis, Ole Miss and Mississippi State at workouts. For now, he's working on getting better and just assumes that schools stopping by are in to see his teammates. "I really try not to think about it at all," Newman said. "I look at it like they are coming to watch one of the seniors on my team and not me." September 21, 2012 USA Men's U16 Mini Camp Roster Press Release - Forty-six of the nation’s best young high school players have accepted invitations to attend the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team mini-camp on Oct. 6-7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USA Basketball newcomers will be directed by lead clinician Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who has captured four straight gold medals as head coach of the USA Developmental National Team from 2009-2012. Invitations were extended by the USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team Committee. The mini-camp, which will be utilized to help USA Basketball train and evaluate members of the classes of 2015 and 2016 in preparation for upcoming Developmental National Team events, will include four training sessions – at 9 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (times listed are MDT) on Oct. 6 and 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 7. “The main purpose of the mini-camp is to get a look at the top players in this age group and familiarize them with USA Basketball and the opportunity to play for the U16 Tournament of the Americas to qualify for the U17 World Championship,” Showalter said. “These players will get a chance to play against the top players in the country in their age group. We hope to accomplish a weekend of great competition along with some skill development.” While all 46 players are new to USA Basketball, 34 athletes (born on or after Jan. 1, 1997) are eligible for the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship (should the USA qualify), while the remaining 12 will train for future events such as the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the Nike Hoop Summit. “We hope the players are more familiar with USA Basketball after the weekend and have a great, competitive weekend playing against outstanding competition, and we have an opportunity to evaluate their skills,” Showalter continued. Attending camp from the Class of 2015 will be: Isaiah Briscoe (St. Benedict Prep / Union, N.J.); Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney H.S. / Rochester, N.Y.); Bryant Crawford (Gonzaga College H.S., D.C. / Kensington, Md.); Eric Davis (Arthur Hill H.S. / Saginaw, Mich.); Timothy Delaney (Pitman H.S. / Mullica Hill, N.J.); Marcus Derrickson (Paul VI Catholic H.S., Va. / Bowie, Md.); Tyler Dorsey (St. John Bosco H.S. / Pasadena, Calif.); Perry Dozier (Spring Valley H.S. / Columbia, S.C.); Hyron Edwards (East Chicago Central H.S. / East Chicago, Ill.); Andrew Fleming (Ensworth H.S. / Franklin, Tenn.); Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S. / Rice Lake, Wis.); Daniel Giddens (Wheeler H.S. / Mableton, Ga.); Jessie Govan (St Mary’s H.S. / Queens Village, N.Y.); Franklin Howard (Paul VI Catholic H.S., Va. / Camp Springs, Md.); William Jackson (Athens Christian School / Athens, Ga.); Marcus LoVett (Providence H.S. / Altadena, Calif.); Charles Matthews (St. Rita H.S. / Chicago, Ill.); Malik Newman (Callaway H.S. / Jackson, Miss.); Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S. / Oakland, Calif.); Malachi Richardson (Roselle Catholic H.S. / Hamilton, N.J.); Horace Spencer (William Tennent H.S. / Warminster, Pa.); Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S. / Milwaukee, Wis.); Elijah Thomas (Rockwall H.S. / Rowlett, Texas); Dennis Williams (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.); and Stephen Zimmerman (Bishop Gorman H.S. / Las Vegas, Nev.). Participants from the Class of 2016 include: Edrice Adebayo (Northside H.S. / Gatesville, N.C.); Tyus Battle (Gill Saint Bernard’s School / Edison, N.J.); Braxton Blackwell (Christ Presbyterian Academy / Nashville, Tenn.); Amir Coffey (Hopkins H.S. / New Hope, Minn.); Benjamin Coupet (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.); De’Ron Davis (Overland H.S. / Denver, Colo.); Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.); Asante Gist (Roselle Catholic H.S. / West Orange, N.J.); Eron Gordon (North Central H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.); Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep / Southfield, Mich.); VJ King (St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S. / Akron, Ohio); Joshua Langford (Madison Academy / Huntsville, Ala.); Dedric Lawson (Hamilton H.S. / Memphis, Tenn.); Malik Monk (East Poinsett County H.S. / Lepanto, Ark.); Ryan Murphy (Fairfield Prep / Westport, Conn.); Payton Pritchard (West Linn H.S. / West Linn, Ore.); Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S. / Hidden Hills, Calif.); Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep / St. Louis, Mo.); Derryck Thornton (Sierra Canyon H.S. / Simi Valley, Calif.); Khalea Turner (Riverside Academy / Marrero, La.); and Seventh Woods (Hammond School / Columbia, S.C.). USA Basketball has named four court coaches to assist Showalter during the camp, including Terry Dunn (Sierra H.S., Colo.), LJ Goolsby (KC Run GMC AAU, Mo.), James Lane (Doherty H.S., Colo.) and Leo Papile (BABC AAU, Mass.). Also on hand will be the 2009-12 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee, including non-voting chair Sean Ford (USA Basketball Men’s National Team Director), AAU appointees Ron Crawford (Arkansas Wings AAU) and Boo Williams (Boo Williams AAU), as well as National Federation of High Schools representatives Eric Flannery (St. Edwards H.S., Ohio) and John Olive (Torrey Pines H.S., Calif.) and athlete representative Kermit Holmes (1999 USA Pan American Games Team). Four sets of high school teammates will attend camp together, including Coupet and Williams from Simeon Career Academy (Ill.), Derrickson and Howard from Paul VI Catholic High School (Va.), Gist and Richardson from Roselle Catholic High School (N.J.) and Ramsey and Thornton from Sierra Canyon High School (Calif.). Born Jan. 5, 1996, Richardson is the oldest, while Woods, born on Aug. 7, 1998, is the youngest. Tweny-five states are represented, including five players apiece from California and New Jersey; four from Illinois; three from Maryland and Tennessee; and two from Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Represented by one player are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. September 19, 2012 Michigan Drops in on Booker by: Scout.com Michigan was among the programs to check in with Moss Point, MS combo guard Devin Booker last week. The Wolverines are angling for another visit by c/o 2014 standout, but this time they want him to bring a special guest.It has been a breakout year for Moss Point, MS star, Devin Booker. Since make the move from Michigan down to the Magnolia State to live with and developed by his dad the versatile youngster went from virtual unknown to five-star prospect. Now he is being courted by power programs from all over the country. “Things are going good,” said Booker. “I’m just getting back into school and the school mindset, and getting ready for the season. November 3rd is the first game, but we have a jamboree game on October 27th.” In the meantime Booker can’t help but keep recruiting somewhat on his mind. A bevy of college coaches have made their way to Moss Point to watch him in action in recent days to watch. Michigan was one of the schools present on the first day of the contact period last Monday. “Coach Beilein and Coach Rick Ray (from Mississippi State) were here (last Monday),” he said. “I didn’t do an open gym… we just did a workout with me and two of my other teammates. We worked real hard. My dad put us through a workout and it went great.” While there Beilein made a request of his prized target. “If he talks to me it counts as another (contact),” Booker explained. “You get seven times to come see me, so since Beilein came down and talked to me, that counted as two. He was just talking about getting my dad up on campus for one of the games this season.” “(My dad and I) have talked about it a few times. It’s probably something we have to do, knowing Michigan’s one of my top schools.” With a number of visits to Michigan already marked off on his checklist, Booker is now focused on getting out to a visit a few of his other suitors. “I visited Michigan State (before making it back down to Mississippi), but I couldn’t make Missouri due to a death in my family, so we’re rescheduling for October 13,” he said. The visits will be key in getting Booker closer to a list of finalists. For now He is still wide open. Expect it to stay that way for the foreseeable future. (My dad and I) still haven’t talked about (cutting things down) yet,” he said. “I think that’s something that we have to do with my mom (who still resides in Michigan) and dad around (laughter).” September 13, 2012 2016 Wing Receives Honor By: Gene Swindoll Scout.com According to his AAU head coach Omhar Carter (MBA Hoops founder and CEO), "Mario has been selected the third best player in the class of 2016 by HoopScoop. It's a great honor for Mario." To say Mario was surprised when he heard about the honor would be an understatement. "It did surprise me when I was told about it," he said. "I was like 'are you for real?' He said, 'yeah, you are number 3.' I was just shocked." But Mario also realizes there is still work to be done to become the best player that he can be. Being selected number 3 gives him an even higher goal to reach. "It means that I should continue working and try to get to number 1, that I'm not the best and should keep working to get to number 1," he said. He's got a handle on his overall game, including what he is good at and what he needs to continue to work on. "My strengths are rebounding, getting to the basket, playing hard, blocking shots, things like that," he said. "The things I still need to work on include my shots, my ball-handling and my defense." The work he's doing on his ball-handling and shooting have been noticed by Carter. "His ball-handling has improved and he's added a better shot to his game," said Carter. "He's shooting the ball more consistent now. He was already very athletic, tall and long and now he's added those two things." Carter, who also coaches standout Malik Newman, Scout.com's number 6th rated player in the class of 2015, believes Kegler is right there as far as being the best player in the state of Mississippi, all classifications. "I think he and Malik are 1A and 1B as far as the state (of Mississippi) overall," he said. College coaches have already taken notice of the talented freshman. "College coaches can't really talk much about him because they can't talk to him right now (due to his classification)," said Carter. "But he's definitely getting a lot of interest. Unofficially, schools that are interested in him are some of the bigger universities, schools like Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss; really the entire SEC. But there is only so far that they can go with him right now." September 5, 2012 A Rising Star In Class of 2015 Tupelo (MS) High School combo guard Antonio Green is a rising star among Mississippi's class of 2015. Green, who plays his AAU ball with the marcrowe program based in Jackson, MS, unofficially visited Mississippi State this past weekend, one of at least three schools that are already showing interest in the talented guard. "Mississippi State, Alabama have shown interest and I'm sure Ole Miss has because he went there unofficially during the summer," said Tupelo High School head basketball coach Jeff Norwood. "But the (coaches) that have been the most involved in him would probably be Mississippi State. He went to a camp down there so they have had an opportunity to see him play. I'm not sure how involved Alabama has been with him or when they first saw him play but I know they've shown some interest and had him come over there and take a look around. There are other (schools) out there that know about him but I don't know how involved they have been with him." Norwood definitely thinks Green's future on the college level will be on the level of the SEC. "I definitely think he can play in the SEC," he said. "I think he is a high-major player as long as he stays on the same path that he is on right now and continues to work hard. Although he's not tall - he's probably 6-1 to 6-2 - he's quick and has long arms. He's not an obsessive jumper but he jumps quick and he moves quick. He changes direction really fast." While he's athletic enough to play on the high-major collegiate level, it's another attribute of his that Norwood likes the most about him. "The thing that I like the most about him is his passion for the game," said the first-year Tupelo High head coach. "During my time with him, if I open the gym he is going to show up shortly after you open it and he will stay there until you have to ask him to leave. That is what I think a really good player is made of." Norwood also likes his offensive game. "I think what I see the most and really like is that his motor is really running on the offensive end," he said. "He feels like he can score on anybody and any team. He is very eager to get the ball inbounds and then prove that he can do it. There is something about him that causes him to want to perfect his offense, whether it be a floating shot, a stop and pull up or whatever shot it may be. His ball-handling has also gotten a lot better since I was first around him." But as you would expect from a player just now going into his 10th grade year, there is a lot that Green still needs to work on. "He's still a little immature, which is what you would expect from someone who is just a 10th grader," said Norwood. "I'm referring more to understanding how important playing on the (defensive) end is. He plays defense and he does it very well when that is what is on his mind. I think, as he gets older and realizes it makes it easier to win, he will become a better defender." Although he plays guard, which guard spot he winds up playing on the next level is still in the developmental stage. "I think he would best be described as a combo guard right now," said Norwood. "He likes to have the ball in his hand which leans him more to the point guard side but he can also score. Sometimes being a scoring point guard hurts the team effort but being a point guard who can score is always good." Auguest 6, 2012 Lehaman commits to MTSU by: Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com The first commitment for Mississippi's hoops class of 2013 dropped last week as Amanda Elzy's Rahkeem Lehaman pledged to attend Middle Tennessee State and play for head coach Kermit Davis. Lehaman is an athletic 6'4" wing who excels at acrobatic finishes around the rim but who is also a solid shooter and a good ballhandler, even able to swing to the point for short stretches. He has high major athleticism and possesses a huge upside. Lehaman is currently the no. 5 ranked senior in Mississippi in the Mississippi Hoop Report class of 2013 player rankings and is the top ranked guard/wing in the class. Mississippi has proved to be a fertile recruiting ground for the Blue Raiders as this marks the fifth straight year Middle Tennessee has signed a prep or JUCO player from the Magnolia State. Lehaman is Middle Tennessee State's first commitment for the class of 2013. He chose the Blue Raiders over interest from Murray State, Southern Mississippi, South Alabama, Morehead State, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State. July 20, 2012 AAU Silver Spuer Showcase: Day Two by: Ryan James GopherIllustrated.com Pool play finished up in Orlando this evening with the Alabama Challenge defeating Crusader Nation 63-56. Four star 2014 wing Devin Booker has been the Silver Super Showcase event feature drawing large crowds with every game played. Michigan Head Coach John Beilein, Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith, and assistants from Michigan State, Georgetown, and Alabama were amongst the several taking in the action. Booker started the game with a score but then missed his next six attempts struggling to find a rhythm. Booker found ways to contribute elsewhere by being the primary ball-handler as well as harassing opposing guards with constant pressure and grabbing six boards. There aren't many near five star talents who consistently defend like Booker did today and at his 6-foot-5 height he was menacing. Against the Crusaders Devin forced three turnovers including one where a guard just fell over in the corner after Booker forced him off balance. In the second half Booker knocked down a trey and a pair of smooth pull-ups attacking right or left which had defenders constantly on their heels. He was able to create regular separation plus the lift on his jumper allows him to get clean looks even when defenders stick on hip. July 3, 2012 Auburn, Oklahoma lead for Bolden By: Justin Hokanson, AuburnSports.com Treshawn Bolden, the nation's No. 129-ranked basketball prospect in the 2013 class, is quickly becoming a fast rising power forward to watch. Bolden, from Callaway High School (Jackson, Miss.), holds offers from Marquette, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, DePaul, Memphis, Mississippi State and VCU. And last weekend, Bolden received an offer from Auburn after attending the Tigers' Elite Camp. Now, the Tigers find themselves in Bolden's top two with the Sooners. "My top two are Auburn and Oklahoma. There are other schools I'm looking at, but Auburn and Oklahoma are my top two schools," Bolden said. It was Bolden's first visit to the Plains, having the opportunity to speak with Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "It was real good, I liked the new arena, it wasn't too big or too small at the same time. The weight room, it seemed like a great place to be," Bolden said. "Coach Barbee seemed like a real nice guy, he was telling me he's coached a couple of pros that are like me, big guys who can put the ball on the floor. He was telling me I can be one of his post guys that can be really good." The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Bolden assessed his camp performance as "alright", and praised the competition during the one-day event. Outside of Auburn, Bolden has only taken part in a NBA Players' Camp this summer. As the summer rolls on, Bolden wants to visit the schools that have extended an offer, as well as make a return trip to Auburn. "I'd love to go back to Auburn, it was a real good place to be. They treated me really well, I'd love to go back to Auburn," Bolden said. Bolden has no definitive plans for a decision, likely making a final commitment during his senior season next year. As a junior, Bolden averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per contest. June 2, 2012 Pollard follows trail set by former Tide star By Greg Ostendorf | ESPN.com DEKALB, Miss. -- As the small crowd of family and friends gathered in the Kemper County High School gymnasium Friday to see which hat prized recruit Devonta Pollard would put on, one man stood over everybody. No, it wasn’t Pollard, the man of the hour, who stands at 6-foot-7. It was somebody even taller, somebody who knew a little bit about what the young man was going through and how important the decision was that he was about to make. Standing in the back of the room, sticking out like a sore thumb, was former Mississippi high school basketball legend and University of Alabama star Derrick McKey. On a day where Pollard chose to put on a ‘Roll Tide’ hat, signifying he was headed to UA to play basketball, McKey was sporting his favorite Alabama shirt. “I think it’s great for the university, great for the basketball program, to get a player of his caliber with the reputation of a McDonald’s kid,” McKey said after Pollard’s decision. The two met when Pollard was a tall, skinny 13-year-old kid. He attended McKey’s annual basketball camp which he held in his hometown of Meridian. Even at a young age, McKey saw the potential that Pollard had to one day become a star. “He was a tall, slender kid,” McKey said. “I saw the athleticism. I saw him block a few shots, and I thought the kid had some potential. From there, I kept up with him, watched his progress and he got better.” Fast forward four years. Pollard is now ranked No. 28 nationally in the ESPN 100 for 2012. He was selected as a McDonald’s All-American, and he will now follow in McKey’s footsteps, taking his talents to Tuscaloosa. McKey may still have a few inches on him, but ask the former NBA player and he’ll tell you that Pollard is a better player than he was at that same age. “Oh, he’s better. He’s better than I was at this stage, coming out of high school. He has more ability. He can do more things than I could. But I got better," McKey said with a laugh. "I got better. We’ll see what he does.” In his three years at Alabama, McKey led the Tide to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a trip to the Sweet 16, and was also named the SEC Player of the Year in 1987. Those are some pretty lofty expectations set for Pollard. However, if anybody is up for the challenge, it’s Pollard. “I’m going to try to do everything I can,” he said. “I’m going to do everything they ask me to do. I’m going to do it and try to do it 110 percent to try and help the Alabama basketball team become even more successful.” The only thing standing in Pollard’s way now is himself. “The only way that I don’t succeed is if I don’t want to,” he said. “Right now and I hope forever, my mindset is to succeed.” May 10, 2012 Phillip Jones Makes His Choice Reported by: Travis Recek Phillip Jones has taken a unique journey throughout his young basketball career and now he's ready for the next step. On FOX40 Wednesday night the senior from Piney Woods chose Middle Tennesse St. as the college he'll play for next year. Jones, a native of Freeport, Bahamas, moved to Florida when he was growing up and learned the game of basketball from his dad. He then ended up at Piney Woods for high school and helped the Golden Tornadoes win a state title in 2011. Jones is a long, extremely athletic forward that turned into a big time scorer his senior year. He chose MTSU over La-Lafayette, UT-San Antonio and Northwestern St. April 17, 2012 ESPN Freshman of the Year Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.), 6-2, G By Ronnie Flores | ESPNHS.com Rarely does a freshman make an impact on a large school state title-winning team. But that's exactly what Newman accomplished. He lived up to the hype as HoopScoop's top-rated eighth-grader in 2010-11 by averaging 22.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for a team that won its third state title in the last four seasons. He clinched this honor by becoming the first freshman ever named first five All-State by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, joining McDonald's All-American Devonta Pollard on the elite squad. In the state title game win, he netted 12 points and scored a team-best 21 in the 59-47 semifinal win over Pascagoula (Miss.). He scored 30 or more points seven times and his scoring average bested the freshman mark of 2005 Mr. Basketball USA and current Milwaukee Bucks standout Monta Ellis (20.1). April 4, 2012 Haymon Named Academic All-SLC FRISCO, Texas - Stephen F. Austin sophomore Desmond Haymon has been named to the Southland Conference Men's Basketball All-Academic team, according to an announcement Wednesday by league officials. Haymon is a first-team honoree on the 10-man list. The Durant, Miss., native and former Jackson Panthers member was third on the team in scoring with 8.2 points per game and fourth in rebounding with 4.3 rebounds per contest, playing in all 32 games and starting 31 in helping lead the Lumberjacks to its fourth 20-win season in the last five years and a second-place finish in the Southland Conference. He led SFA with 32 3-point buckets on the year and had a career-high 18 points in a Jan. 25 win over Sam Houston State. Haymon, a kinesiology and healthy science major, had a 3.04 cumulative GPA going into the spring semester. His selection marks the second straight season SFA has had an academic all-SLC selection after Jordan Glynn was also named to the first team one year ago. Glynn's selection was the first academic selection for SFA since Scott Weaver in 2007-08. April 3, 2012 Isaiah Canaan To Play Senior Season At Murray State Murray State men's basketball coach Steve Prohm announced that Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and multiple All-America pick Isaiah Canaan will play his senior season with the Racers in 2012-13 after exploring leaving school early to play professional basketball. Coming off one of the greatest team seasons in the history of the MSU program, the junior from Biloxi, Miss., explored his options of entering the 2012 National Basketball Association draft after an outstanding individual season in which he was considered for every major award in college basketball. “I'm proud of what Isaiah accomplished this season both for the team and for himself,” Prohm said. “Along with his parents, we did our due diligence and looked into what opportunities he might have to play in the NBA with the help of the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. The most important thing was to look long term and do what was in Isaiah's best interest. He felt playing his senior season for the Racers was best.” “I talked to a lot of different people and got feedback from people I respect,” Canaan said. “This was all about the timing and making the right decision and I think I did. Coach Prohm and my parents were very supportive and I appreciate them being there for me. You know, you dream of playing in the NBA and this was a good experience to explore the possibilities. I'm excited to be at Murray State.” “Obviously we're excited that Isaiah will be back at MSU for his senior season,” Prohm added. “He's a team player and one of our leaders and he represents Racer Basketball in the right way. He's a tremendous talent, but he's also humble and unselfish. I'm glad he's bringing all of those great qualities to our team for his senior season.” “There were many reasons to stay at MSU,” Canaan added. “I want to try to win another OVC championship. We have a good team coming back and there aren't many guys in college basketball that can say they've won four championships. We want to get back to the NCAA Tournament and give it another run, so there are many things I want to accomplish. I want to graduate and become a better player.” Canaan helped the Racers to a program record 31 wins in the 2011-12 season as MSU was the final undefeated team in NCAA Division I at 23-0 and they were the only squad in the nation that didn't lose a road game this season. MSU went 31-2 and won the OVC's regular season and tournament titles. MSU earned the highest seed in program history at No. 6 and defeated Colorado State in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Marquette in the round of 32. MSU had its first national rankings since 1998 & highest: No. 7 ESPN/USA Today & No. 9 Associated Press (Feb. 9). MSU finished with their highest final rankings as well, No. 12 AP & No. 16 ESPN/USA Today. Canaan, who showed a remarkable flair for the big moment, topped the 30-point mark in scoring four times. He led MSU to a championship win in double-overtime at the Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 26) when he had a career-high 36 points against Southern Mississippi. In a game (Jan. 7) at Austin Peay, Canaan hit his first seven three-point attempts and scored 35 points. When the Racers were trailing in the second half against Southeast Missouri (Feb. 2), he led a big run that included four threes in a short period of time and finished with 32 points. Canaan scored 31 in MSU's only regular season loss to Tennessee State (Feb. 9). He ended the season the 24th leading scorer in the nation (19.0 points per game), sixth in made threes per game (2.97) and 13th in three-point percentage (.456). Canaan was 36th in the nation in free throw percentage (.858) and 47th in steals per game (1.91). January 30, 2012 Pollard plan visits Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Top 10 prospect Devonta Pollard put his recruitment on the backburner this fall while he played football for his Porterville (Miss.) Kemper Country High School. Now his recruitment is coming back into the forefront with his official visit to Texas over the weekend. "Everything went fine," Pollard told Rivals.com. "It was a great visit. I was able to meet the coaching staff and even met a lot of the football staff. I liked Texas' style of play when I watched them." So is Pollard thinking about playing both sports in the college? "I'm not going to say I want to, but I will possibly," Pollard said about playing football. "There is a slight chance I might play (football)." With just one official visit under his belt, Pollard plans on using his full allotment of official visits. Beyond Texas, he plans to visit Mississippi State, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and Georgetown. He has already unofficially visited Mississippi State and Alabama. A versatile forward who is averaging 25 points and 15 rebounds per game, Pollard knows what he is looking for in his future school. "First of all I want to be with a group of guys I can play with and win and be comfortable with," he said. "I also want to find a good coaching staff that will push me and get the best out of me. We need to have the same goals on and off the court, so I can become more of a man while I'm in college." January 19, 2012 Mississippi teammates emerge by: Eric Bossi Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Down in Mississippi, a pair of high school teammates are emerging rapidly. Senior Phillip Jones and junior Dwight Coleby are starting to make some major noise. The Piney Woods (Miss.) School duo has been strong all year, but it's the 6-foot-6 Jones who is putting up eye-popping numbers. After starting as a junior power forward on a very balanced team, Jones has made the move to the wing where he's averaging nearly 28 points and 12 rebounds per game on the season. During conference play, those numbers have jumped to nearly 37 points per game. "He's not a late bloomer," said Piney Woods coach Lemuel Jones. "He didn't play any AAU really. He went out to one tournament with the Arkansas Wings at the end of summer but he didn't really play because he didn't know the plays and it was a last minute thing." According to his coach, Jones -- who won the Mississippi state long jump crown as a junior -- is a Dwayne Polee type athlete with length. He can put the ball on the floor, shoots mid range jumpers and is making a smooth transition to the wing. Texas San Antonio and Louisiana Lafayette have already offered while Arkansas, Colorado State and some others have been involved with more coming. "Memphis is coming on Saturday and Oklahoma will be here on Sunday," Jones told Rivals.com. "DePaul is going to be here the last week of January so it's really starting to pick up. "I can see Louisiana Tech coming in and offering after they see him practice on Monday. I fell they are real close to offering." Things are going very well for the junior Coleby as well. A 6-foot-9, 220 pound power forward who is averaging 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks per game. So far, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Nebraska, UTEP, Southern Miss, Marquette and Georgetown have been involved. "Dwight's upside is scary," said Jones. "He's long, athletic, blocks shots, runs the floor great. He can shoot the 3 well and is a tough post player." December 10, 2011 Fab frosh Malik Newman backing up the hype by: Jason Hickman Maxpreps.com Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) guard putting up big numbers through first month of high school career. After building a national reputation by dominating middle school showcases and camps over the past couple of years, Malik Newman was named the No. 1 player in the Class of 2015 by Hoop Scoop last month. Too much, too soon is an argument for another day, but the attention isn't burdening the 15-year-old freshman at Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) through the first month of his high school career. Newman, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound guard, is averaging 22.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists through nine games for Callaway (7-2), a perennial powerhouse in Mississippi. Saturday at an event in Dyersburg, Tenn., he pumped in 24 points – including five 3-pointers – against nationally-ranked Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.). "He's just one of those rare kids that comes along every 10 years or so," Callaway head coach Wayne Brent said. "He can really score it and handles the ball well. He's a scoring point-combo guard. His work ethic is really, really, really good. He's in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning. It's unbelievable." Callaway was the home to another middle school phenom during the 2007-08 season. LaQuinton Ross – now a freshman at Ohio State – entered high school regarded as a mega-star in the making and was also regarded as the top player in his class. He struggled with the expectations and was eventually dismissed by some as a Top 100 player altogether. Ross left Callaway for Murrah High School in Jackson as a sophomore and eventually wound up at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J. Brent doesn't expect the same type of growing pains for Newman. "I think there are a lot of kids that don't know how to handle those rankings," Brent said. "It motivates him, motivates him to get up and be in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning. It hasn't bothered him at all. I think it actually helps him stay motivated." Callaway features several collegiate prospects, including 6-8, 225-pound junior TreShawn Bolden, but integrating Newman into a leading role hasn't been an issue. "He's never played against guys his age, he's always played against older kids," Brent said. "He is real respectful and works hard. They know he is in the gym at 5 a.m. every morning and they don't necessarily want to do that. "I didn't want to deal with a kid that had the hype but didn't want to work. He embraced it more than anything. That's what made me take a liking to the kid. We have hard-nosed, tough kids in our program and he fits that mold." Newman's season-high came against Nov. 17 in a 61-45 win over Bailey Magnet (Jackson), going for 32 points to go along with six rebounds and six steals. His father, Horatio Webster, was a two-time All-SEC pick at Mississippi State in 1996-97 and 1997-98 as a 6-8 power forward. Webster later played professionally in Venezuela and in the ABA. November 3, 2011 2011-2012 Boys Dandy Dozen by: Rod Walker Clarion Ledger Chris Bilbo Forest Hill, Guard, 6-2, Senior Bilbo is the rock-solid leader for the Patriots, who start the season ranked No. 2 in the Class 6A rankings and No. 5 in the Super 10 ... Averaged 11.2 points, six assists and two rebounds as a junior, earning Honorable Mention All-Metro honors ... Scored a career-high 22 points vs. Provine ... Played in Mississippi High School All-Star Basketball Game ... Drawing interest from Southern Miss, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley, SE Louisiana, Middle Tennessee State, Wichita State and Kennesaw State ... "Chris is the floor general who just gets everybody into the right places and creates so well off the dribble," says Forest Hill coach Milton Ray. "He sees the floor better than anybody I've ever seen." ... Bilbo is sixth Dandy Dozen player from Forest Hill, joining Johnny Miller ('91,'92), Randy Bolden ('93), Maurice Carter ('94), Terrell Kennedy ('07) and Andre Stringer ('08,'09). Twymond Howard Pearl, Forward, 6-6, Senior After just missing the Dandy Dozen as a junior, Pearl's high-flying wing lands a spot this season ... Averaged 22.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season for the Pirates, earning second-team All-Metro honors ... Poured in a career-high 45 points last season against Hazlehurst ... Ranked as nation's 69th-best player by rivals.com ... Has verbally committed to play next season at UTEP ... Was a standout in football as a receiver before giving that sport up as a junior ... "Twymond just loves the game," says Pearl coach Russell Evans. "He has such a passion for it. You can see it in all facets of his game from rebounding to scoring to getting his teammates involved. He just makes everybody around him better." ... Howard is just the second Pearl player to be named Dandy Dozen in basketball, joining former Pirate standout Eric Washington who landed on the list in 1992. Phillip Jones Piney Woods, Forward, 6-6, Senior Athletic forward helped Piney Woods win the Class 2A state championship last season, averaging 11.9 points and nine rebounds ... three blocks and nine rebounds ... Scored season-high 21 points against Bailey ... Had 19 points and 13 rebounds in handing 5A champ Wayne County its only loss ... Drawing strong interest from Jackson State, Texas-San Antonio, Southern Illinois, South Alabama, and Louisiana Lafayette ... "Phillip made the big difference in us winning the state championship last year," says Piney Woods coach Lemuel Jones. "He does a lot well. He can score and he just does whatever I ask him to do. He definitely changes things on defense." ... Jones is the fourth Piney Woods player to be named Dandy Dozen and first since 1997. He joins former Piney Woods standouts Torrey Harris ('94), Brian Adams ('95), Rahim Lockhart ('96) and Harold Boston ('97). Moses Kingsley New Albany, Center, 6-9, Junior New Albany's long and athletic big man wasted little time making an impact after moving to Mississippi from Nigeria last fall ... His presence in the paint was a key reason the Bulldogs reached the Class 4A semifinals ... Had eight blocks in 4A semis vs. St. Stanislaus ... Averaged 7.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, but showed why many coaches consider him state's top junior prospect with triple double (17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocks) vs. Tishomingo County ... Drawing interest from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida State, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Marquette, Kansas, North Carolina State, Memphis and Nebraska ... "He's a big- time talent and a real student of the game," says New Albany coach Brad Gray. "Last year he was still trying to get a feel for the game. He's the only player I've ever coached who can change the game on defense like him." Jacolby Mobley Starkville, Guard, 6-0, Senior Steady point guard steered the Yellowjackets to the Class 6A North State Tournament as a junior and has them beginning this season as the state's top-ranked team in The Clarion-Ledger Super 10 ... Entering his third year as a starter, Mobley averaged 19 points and six assists as a junior ... Scored a career-high 31 points against DeSoto Central last season ... Played in the Mississippi High School All-Star Game in July ... Drawing interest from Southeastern Louisiana, Murray State and UTEP ... "The thing that stands out about Jacolby is he is so competitive," says Starkville coach Greg Carter. "He runs the show at the point. He can gets shots for himself and he gets his teammates in position to score. He can really get to the rim and finish." ... He and 2011-'12 Dandy Dozen teammate Gavin Ware give Starkville its seventh and eighth Dandy Dozen players since the honor first began in 1989. Devonta Pollard Kemper County, Forward, 6-7, Senior Versatile Pollard, considered the state's top senior prospect and one of the nation's best players in the Class of 2012, is only repeat selection on this year's Dandy Dozen... Excellent ball-handler and passer as well ... Averaged 24.2 points, 13.8 rebounds, 5.3 , 2.2 assists and 2 steals ... ranked the No. 9 player in the country by rivals.com, 20th by ESPN and 21st by scout.com ... Scored a career-high 36 against West Lowndes ... Grabbed 24 rebounds in a game vs. Northeast Lauderdale ...Blocked 11 shots against Greene County (Ala.) ... Listed Mississippi State, Alabama, Missouri, Georgetown, Texas, Kentucky, and Marquette as possible college choices ... "He just has an all-around game," says Kemper County coach Kelvin Young. "He really complements others well and gets them involved. He is just so versatile." ... Pollard is the only Dandy Dozen basketball pick from Kemper County. Fred Thomas Jim Hill, Guard, 6-5, Senior Extremely skilled shooter who averaged 22 points last season for the Tigers, earning third-team All-Metro honors .. . Also grabbed 7.4 rebounds and made his presence felt on the defensive end, blocking 3.3 shots per game ... Scored a career-high 39 points against Terry, showing off his sweet stroke with seven 3-pointers ... Played in the Mississippi High School All-Star Game ... Verbally committed to play next season at Mississippi State ... "Fred just shoots it so well," says Jim Hill coach Stan Speech. "A lot of people go crazy when he shoots it, but the thing we like is the way he has improved with his ball-handling and his decision making. We're expecting him to have another great year." ... Thomas is the fifth Jim Hill player to be named Dandy Dozen, joining Roy Dixon ('95), Trey Sanders ('97 and '98), Mario Jointer ('00), and Stan Speech ('03). Gavin Ware Starkville, Center, 6-8, Senior Big and athletic Ware patrols the paint for the Yellowjackets with an ability to wreak havoc on both ends of he floor ... Averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and two rebounds last season before being sidelined during Starkville's playoff run because of a knee injury ... Ranked the No. 98-best player in the nation by scout.com and No. 99 senior by rivals.com... Also ranked the 13th-best center... Verbally committed to Mississippi State, choosing the Bulldogs over Alabama and Georgetown ... "Gavin's a force around the basket," says Starkville coach Greg Carter. "He commands a lot of attention and takes up a lot of space. But he can step out and make the outside shot too."... One of 8 Dandy Dozen players produced by Starkville, joining Early Smith ('94), Roderick Prater ('99), Travis Outlaw ('00-'02), B.J. Spencer ('01), Latavious Williams ('07), Rashad Perkins ('09) and Jacolby Mobley ('11). Roger Woods Provine, Forward, 6-5, Senior The blue-collar forward gives Provine a Dandy Dozen player for the fifth consecutive season ... Woods averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and two assists last year in helping lead the Rams to a 25-3 record and to the Class 5A semifinals ... Scored a career-high 31 points against Bailey ... Being recruited by Alcorn, Jackson State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe ... "The best thing about Roger is his versatility," says Provine coach Otis Gaines. "He can play the 1 through 5 for us. Whatever we need him to do, he doesn't mind doing it." ... Woods is Provine's 11th Dandy Dozen player (tied for second with Murrah and one behind Lanier). He joins David Sanders ('97), Aaron Harper ('97, '98), Marcus Terrell ('98), Justin Reed ('98, '99), Charlie White ('03), Chris Hyche ('05), Scottie Haralson ('07), Emery Kelly ('08), Jalen Courtney ('09) and Jarvis Summers ('10). Avery Woodson Wayne County, Guard, 6-2, Senior Arguably state's best pure shooter in the senior class, Woodson helped lead Wayne County to the Class 5A state championship last season ... His three clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of the title game against Lanier proved to be the dagger ... Averaged 9.7 points and six rebounds while shooting 86 percent from the free throw line ... Scored a career-high 24 points against Magee as a sophomore ... Verbally committed to Southeastern Louisiana ... "Avery is just a tremendous jump shooter," says Wayne County coach Ron Norman. "He can just flat out shoot the basketball. That's a lost art sometimes. Avery is one of those shooters who can take over a game, especially down the stretch like he did in the championship game. He has really worked on his one-on-one game in the offseason and I'm expecting him to really have a breakout season this year." Raeford Worsham Wayne County, Forward, 6-4, Senior Do-it-all Worsham was instrumental in War Eagles' run to the title last season, averaging 17.6 points and eight rebounds in the five playoff games ... Averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds in helping Wayne County finish No. 2 in The Clarion-Ledger Super 10 ... Verbally committed to Arkansas State ... "Gator is just our all-everything player," says Wayne County coach Ron Norman. "He is a player that's a joy to coach because he can give us buckets, he can guard, he can rebound. He is so unselfish and a good facilitator. He's happier with us winning and him scoring two points than he is with scoring 18 points and 10 rebounds. He makes us better even when he is not scoring." Worsham, who is joined on this year's Dandy Dozen by teammate Avery Woodson, is one of four Dandy selections from Wayne County, joining Dietric Slater ('02) and David Howard ('05). Marquis Vance S.V. Marshall, Guard, 6-5, Junior Vance isn't flashy, but gets it done in workman- like fashion ... Averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists as a sophomore, leading the Tchula school to a 22-10 record and the North 2A State Tournament ... Scored a career-high 36 points vs. Gentry ... Says he has received scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Marquette, Louisiana Tech and Murray State and is drawing interest from Alabama, Tennessee and others ... "He has a very high basketball IQ and such a feel for the game," says Marshall coach Antwayn Patrick. "He's a Paul Pierce kind of player. He's not the best jumper or the quickest, but he has a great mid-range game and is great at getting his shot off. Coming from a small school, he always wants to prove himself against the bigger schools." ... Vance is the second Dandy Dozen player from S.V. Marshall, joining Leroy Buchanan ('94). November 3, 2011 Preseason Super 10 by: Rod Walker Clarion Ledger 1. Starkville (19-9 last season) The buzz: Experienced Yellowjackets start the season atop the Super 10 rankings. The Dandy Dozen duo of Gavin Ware and Jacolby Mobley could very well lead Greg Carter's Jackets to their second state championship in three years. Steve Brand, Mike Brand and Tory Rice complete the all-senior starting five. Season opener: Saturday at West Point. 2. Wayne County (31-1) The buzz: The War Eagles bring a 30-game winning streak into the season after taking the Class 5A gold ball to Waynesboro last season. Laphonzo Smith, Savante Slater and Alex Lacey should give Ron Norman's team plenty of weapons to go with his 1-2 Dandy Dozen punch of Gator Worsham and Avery Woodson. Season opener: Nov. 10 vs. Northeast Lauderdale. 3. Callaway (13-11) The buzz: Wayne Brent's 2011-12 Chargers are loaded with Division I talent. Freshman Malik Newman, ranked among the nation's best in his class, looks like he'll be the next big thing out of Jackson. Senior Terron Gilmore (committed to Murray State) and talented junior TreShawn Bolden give C-way a formidable frontcourt. Season opener: Saturday vs. S.V. Marshall. 4. Biloxi (21-5) The buzz: Seber Windham plans to rely on a deep bench and two senior transfers from Louisiana (6-7 forward Davon Easter and 6-2 point guard Keith Broome), both of whom are receiving interest from Division I schools. The duo will help fill the void left by four departing starters from a team that lost to Meridian in 6A South State. Season opener: Nov. 12 vs. Mobile Mary G. Montgomery. 5. Forest Hill (18-13) The Buzz: Dandy Dozen guard Chris Bilbo and senior teammate Quentarious Porter helped lead Patriots on their surprise run to the Class 5A State Tournament last season. Sophomore guard William Brown also returns as Forest Hill makes the leap to what should be a much friendlier Class 6A. Season opener: Saturday vs. Aberdeen (at Lanier). 6. Pascagoula (25-8) The Buzz: Tony Combs takes over for Keith Robinson, who retired after guiding the Panthers to the 6A semifinals last season. Forward Ladarron Johnson (6-7) and guard Cordaryl Weathersby will be pivotal if Pascagoula is to make a return trip to the Big House after moving down to Class 5A. Season opener: Saturday vs. Gulfport (at St. Martin). 7. Provine (25-3) The Buzz: Otis Gaines takes over at his alma mater, looking to fill the giant shoes left by highly successful coach Luther Riley. Dandy Dozen senior forward Roger Woods, senior Marcus Hogan and junior guard Courtney Shannon will lead the way. Freshman guard DeAngelo West (6-1) is a name you need to remember. Season opener: Saturday vs. Northwest Rankin (at Callaway). 8. Piney Woods (29-3) The Buzz: Tornadoes move down to Class 1A this season after winning 2A crown last season. Lemuel Jones graduated two key players from last year's squad, but Dandy Dozen forward Phillip Jones and fellow senior forward Kenneth Taylor look to keep Piney Woods among the state's elite teams, regardless of classification. Season opener: Saturday vs. Moss Point. 9. Oxford (18-11) The buzz: The Chargers were one win away from the Coliseum, losing to Provine. Eight of the top nine players return, led by Justin Fondren (21.2 ppg), a standout in track. Senior forward Romeo Johnson (6-5) returns after missing most of last season (academics), plus Will O'Keefe, a 6-6 transfer from Illinois, joins the mix. Season opener: Saturday vs. Clarksdale. 10. Tupelo (28-4) The buzz: Golden Wave appeared headed for a trip to the Big House last year, but was unable to hold on to a late fourth-quarter lead against Vicksburg. The senior backcourt of Dajon Reno and Rashon Coleman are back this season. How well a slew of sophomores play could be key to a Golden Wave run to Jackson. Season opener: Saturday vs. DeSoto Central. September 22, 2011 Two Magnolia State Hoops Prospects commit Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst Two of Mississippi's top high school boys basketball players made their college choices this week. Pearl High School standout Twymond Howard committed to play his college basketball at UTEP on Tuesday. Wayne County F Raeford Worsham committed to Arkansas State on Monday. Howard, Rivals No. 69 ranked player in the class of 2012 and the No. 3 ranked player in the Magnolia State's Class of 2012 by the Mississippi Hoop Report, decided on UTEP after take a visit there this past weekend. A 6-foot-6 physical and athletic wing forward, Howard, can really score the ball, averaging over 23 points per game his junior year. He also received interest from Arkansas, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Marquette, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Tulane. Worsham, a 6-foot-4 wing, is the No. 8 ranked player in the class of 2012 by the Mississippi Hoop Report. An athletic slasher who can play multiple positions, Worsham averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wayne County's 5A state championship team last year. Worsham, whose committment also came after a weekend visit to Jonesboro, also received interest from Murray State, Louisiana Tech, South Alabama, Troy, Jackson State and Southeastern Louisiana. Howard and Worsham are the fourth and fifth members of Mississippi's class of 2012 to make verbal commitments to a school joining Gavin Ware of Starkville High and Fred Thomas of Jim Hill (Jackson) High with verbal commitments to Mississippi State and McDarion Abron of Canton High to Alcorn State. September 13, 2011 Canton's Abron commits to Alcorn Rod Walker Clarion Ledger Canton High basketball player McDarion Abron has committed to play basketball at Alcorn State. Abron, a 6-foot-10 center, made his commitment on Sunday. “Coach (Luther) Riley is a really good coach and I just like Alcorn a lot,” said Abron. Abron is ranked the No. 5 player in the state in the Class of 2012 in the Mississippi Hoop Report rankings. He averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds and four blocks last season according to Tigers’ coach Melvin Gillum. Abron says he also has a scholarship offer from Mississippi State and had also drawn interest from Southern Miss. June 23, 2011 Bulldogs land big commitment by: Clarion-Ledger Sports STARKVILLEGavin Ware was going to mull it over, weigh the pros and cons of leaving the state and make a decision in January.But when the rising senior at Starkville High School realized he'd rather not risk a bout of homesickness, he decided to stay really close to home, announcing Thursday he'll sign this fall with Mississippi State. It's more big news for Bulldog coach Rick Stansbury, who added a second four-star talent to his class of 2012. Ware is rated as the 13th-best center in the nation, according to Rivals.com. He said he turned down offers from Alabama, Georgetown, Missouri and Tennessee to make the two-mile trek from his high school to MSU. "I couldn't stay three days away from home," Ware said. "I just felt it would be good to stay at home in this environment." Ware, a 6-foot-8, 247-pounder, should provide immediate help in 2012 for the Bulldogs, who figure to lose center Renardo Sidney to the NBA after his junior season. Ware is the third commitment - verbal commitments are non-binding - for MSU, joining guard Craig Sword of Montgomery, Ala., and Fred Thomas of Jackson Jim Hill High. All three MSU commitments are ranked in the top 150 players in the nation, according to Rivals.com. Described as a big man with a soft jump shot, Ware is versatile on the court. Like Sidney, he'll step out for a 15-foot jumpshot from time to time but "likes to be down there in that block," said Starkville High coach Greg Carter, a former all-SEC forward and assistant coach at MSU. "Shoot, he's different. He's different than a lot of people, so it's hard to find comparisons. Most centers that are big like that aren't athletic. Most of them that are athletic aren't that big, so he's different." Ware averaged 19 points, 10.5 rebounds and five blocked shots last season, which ended prematurely with strained ligaments in his left knee. Starkville lost in the Class 6A semifinals to Meridian without Ware on the court in March. Ware said his knee is "95 percent" healed. "He got a lot better this summer," Carter said. "He's more of a presence inside now. Early on, he wasn't as big a factor on the game. Now he's a big factor in the game. Other teams have to game plan and stop him first, which helps everybody else out." Ware said earlier this month the chances of him picking Mississippi State were "fifty-fifty," and listed Alabama as one of his favorites before making the decision Thursday morning. He called his visit to MSU last week a "game changer," citing the athletic department's academic facilities and the "endless possibilities" academically and athletically at MSU. Ware is on the AAU circuit this summer with the Southern Phenoms and is teammates with MSU target Devonta Pollard of Kemper County. Pollard is ranked as a five-star prospect and Rivals.com's second-best small forward in the nation. He's considering eight schools, including MSU and Ole Miss. "I'll persuade him," said Ware, "but that's his decision. May 23, 2011 Thomas chooses Mississippi State Paul Jones BulldogBlitz.com Senior Writer From the beginning of his recruitment, Jackson (Miss.) native Fred Thomas has held one school at his constant front runner. On Monday night, the Jim Hill junior shooting guard decided to commit to that school and join Mississippi State's Class of 2012. "I just called Coach Rick Stansbury tonight and told him I was ready to be a Bulldog," said the 6-foot-6 and 180-pound Thomas. "He said he was glad to have me in the family and told me to keep up the good work in the class room and on the court." Thomas is MSU's second basketball commitment for the Class of 2012, joining Montgomery, Ala., shooting guard Craig Sword. Both were recently tabbed to Rivals.com Top 150 list for the Class of 2012. Thomas also had an offer from UTEP and also drew interest from Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and DePaul. In the end, Thomas said it came down to MSU showing him more love. "They've recruited me the hardest and have shown me how much they care and wanted me," said Thomas. "My family thought it was a good idea to go ahead and get it over with. I have always wanted to play for the Bulldogs so I decided there was no reason to wait." Last year Thomas averaged 20 points, 6.3 boards and 3.6 assists a game for Jim Hill High School. Earlier this month, he helped his AAU team - Southern Phenoms - capture the AAU state title. "It just stuck out to me a lot that Mississippi State treated me like family," said Thomas. "Now I am just focused on finishing out this last week of school on a strong note, and then focus hard on my grades and my senior year. It helps to get this decision out of the way and I am glad to know I will be part of their program." May 20, 2011 AAU Basketball State Champs Crowned Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst The last three weekends saw a heavy dose of hoop action as the different AAU state tournaments were spread out over those days. Five state champs were crowned in the 7th grade division thru the 11th division. 11th Grade Championship Southern Phenoms 60 Marcrowe MSM4L 41 Coach Jeff Andrews' Southern Phenoms used a balanced attack to take home the title for the third straight year, adding it to the 16 and under and 15 and under titles they won the last two years. The Phenoms athleticism and length proved to much for Marcrowe MSM4L to deal with as they found points hard to come by. The Phenoms were led by Devonta Pollard with 14 points, while Gavin Ware and Deondre Haynes added 11 each. For Marcrowe MSM4L Tymond Howard was the only double figure scorer with 16 points. Third Place Game: MS Ballers 85 MS Hoop Dreams 81 OT 10th Grade Championship Monroe Elite 61 Southern Phenoms 51 The Monroe Elite took home the title for this group for the second year in a row as their team effort proved too much for the Phenoms to handle. Third Place Game MBA Hoops Elite 67 NE MS Ballers 65 9th Grade Championship MBA Hoops Elite 69 Jackson Tigers 62 Malik Newman exploded for 42 points as MBA Hoops pulled off down the stretch to take the title. The game was tied at 58 with just over 2 minutes left when Newman scored and got the and-one to put MBA up for good. Newman was supported by Rod Taylor with 11 points, who also did an outstanding defensive job on the Tigers top scorer, Reginald Johnson, holding him to 9 points. Third Place Game Desoto County Wildcats 63 Jackson Celtics 53 8th Grade Championship MS Stars 84 MBA Hoops Elite 65 Newman was again outstanding in a title game has he had another 42 point outing, but the Stars' Jashere Hardnett scored 30 points and the Stars' length and size proved too much for the MBA to overcome as the Stars took control of the game in the second half pulling away from a 35-34 halftime lead to coast to the championship. With the win the Stars won the title with a 4-0 record in round-robin play. MBA Hoops finished 2nd with a 3-1 record and "Da House" Lighthouse finished 3rd at 2-2. 7th Grade Championship The MBA Hoops Elite took home the title with a 4-0 record over the weekend as the 7th grade championship was decided in round-robin play. The MS Stars finished 2nd and the Jackson Rattlers finished 3rd both with 2-2 records. May 17, 2011 Miskelly opts for Blue Raiders By Kellen Farmer BlueRaiderZone.com Madison-Ridgeland Academy may not be a hotbed for college basketball talent, but the small private school has become a staple in the MS Association of Independent Sports playoffs. The Patriots recently claimed their fifth straight championship and extended their MAIS win streak to an impressive 77 games. Now, one of their standout players is headed to Murfreesboro to continue his playing career. “When I was on campus I just fell in love with it. I felt like I was at home the whole time,” says Middle Tennessee’s most recent basketball commitment Caleb Miskelly. “It was the first visit I had gone on that I’d really felt comfortable.” Blue Raider basketball coach Kermit Davis should be thrilled with the latest pickup for the 2011 class. Weighing in at just 175 lbs. puts him a little on the light side for a Division 1 guard, but his 6-1 frame is easily capable of bulking up to prepare him for competition at the next level. On top of that the kid can play. Miskelly was named MAIS player of the year for the 2010-11 season, and with good reason. He finished the season averaging better than 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds per game. His solid year, and career, came to a spectacular end in his final game when he led his Patriot squad with 26 points and 11 rebounds on the way to his fourth championship as a starter. Still, all of the success on the court didn’t seem to be impressing college recruiters. “I was mainly talking to Div. II schools because I didn’t play AAU last Summer. This year, when I had a good year more schools started coming on. As of last week it was still very limited, but then Middle Tennessee State came on and actually Dayton came on last night, but I wanted to stick with my original word.” After spending the past several weeks talking with Davis and assistant coach Win Case, Miskelly and his family packed up and headed to Murfreesboro for a visit this past weekend. As previously stated, Caleb says that he felt at home and reported a great visit. His parents came away impressed as well. “They really liked it. I just always wanted to play Division 1 and they were just glad I got the opportunity to,” he says. Once he got home, it didn’t take long before he made his decision. “They were really excited. I told Coach Davis and he was excited and then I got to talk to Coach Case. They were both excited and ready to get me up there and hopefully get some weight on me.” For now, the plan is that Miskelly will arrive during the second Summer semester. He’ll spend the time between now and then continuing to maintain his playing shape while also working to bulk up in the weight room. Once he arrives on campus, Miskelly will try to bring his winning ways to the Murphy Center and make the shift from Patriot to Raider. May 16, 2011 Class of 2012 Devonta Pollard Update By Gene Swindoll Scout.com Kemper County (MS) High School class of 2012 member Devonta Pollard, rated the 31st best player in his class by Scout.com/FoxSport.com, has just finished with spring football and is back on the AAU circuit. Devonta Pollard, one of the elite members of the class of 2012, played in the 17U Mississippi AAU state championships with the Southern Phenoms this past weekend. His team played the 10 pm game Friday night. Pollard, earlier in the day, played in two jamboree football games with his Kemper County High School team. If you are wondering why Pollard is playing football, he explains why. "I love football," said Pollard. "I've been playing football ever since I was little. I just had to stop last year." But it's not just the love of the game that has led him back to football. "Football helps with my conditioning," said Pollard, who not only works out in football but also goes to the gym and does extra drills to help him get bigger, stronger and develop better stamina. And it's not just building strength and conditioning that he is working on. He's also working to develop his overall basketball game. "I have worked on my ball-handling skills, my outside jumper and tried to get stronger," said Pollard. According to Pollard, one specific area of his ball-handling needed additional work. "I used to could just go strong right but now I have worked on going strong left and now I can go both ways equally." On offense, he's simply trying to improve his overall shooting touch. "Offensively, I'm working to get a more consistent jump shot and I'm working on coming off screens and reading the screens. Really, I've basically been working on shooting the ball." Although he continues to work to improve his game, colleges throughout the country already like what they see from the very talented Pollard, who recently saw his ranking on Scout.com go from 54th in the nation to 31st. "Mississippi State, Alabama, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Georgetown, LSU are (some that are) showing interest in me," said Pollard, who confirmed that he has offers from all those schools. Although on the humble side when it comes to his recruitment, Pollard admitted that there are many, many more schools showing interest in him. The ones above are the ones he immediately mentioned when asked who is showing interest in him. As for favorites, no one has the edge at the moment. "I don't have any favorites," said Pollard, "All of the schools are even right now." May 12, 2011 Thomas set to prove himself Paul Jones BulldogBlitz.com In his junior season at Jim Hill (Miss.) High School, 6-foot-6 and 180-pound guard Fred Thomas was one of the top players in the Jackson metro area and averaged 20 points, 6.3 boards and 3.2 assists a game. This spring, Thomas is again proving that he is among the top 2012 prospects in the Magnolia State. Playing with the AAU-affiliated Southern Phenoms and Byram Ballers, Thomas is remaining active on the court and leaving an impression. "It's been going pretty good," said Thomas. "We had a tournament in Arkansas and Indiana and I feel I played good in both of those. But I want to keep working on getting better and making sure my weaknesses are no longer weaknesses. We still have tournaments in Atlanta an Ohio and it's great playing with two teams. I think it's going good and I am working to get noticed. I am also working on having a post-up game and that is my main focus on the court right now." Despite his schedule, Thomas added he his focus will also be in the class room this summer. "But really, my main focus this summer is going to be getting my grades right," said Thomas. "I will still be going to a couple of camps and I was just invited to one of LeBron James' camps. But I will be in summer school to make sure my grades are in order." And some schools of late have taken noticed of his play thus far on the AAU circuit. Before his junior season ended, Thomas held two scholarship offers but more schools have started to enter the picture. "I have the offers from Mississippi State and UTEP and they are still the main ones recruiting me," said Thomas. "I am also getting interest from Georgia, Alabama, DePaul, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia State and Tennessee-Chattanooga." Yet like much of his recruitment, Thomas still has the Bulldogs on top of his list. "Things are still going great with Mississippi State," said Thomas. "I call them and check in with them pretty much every day. I just feel comfortable with them and my family also feels comfortable with Mississippi State. I kinda want to stay close to home and I want to make sure I do what is best for me and my family. I am still kinda taking things slow because I am really focused on my grades first and that is the most important thing." April 17, 2011 Mississippi Big Man tracks Tide's NIT Run Greg Ostendorf TideSports.com Basketball recruit Gavin Ware, a 2012 prospect, hasn't really thought much about recruiting yet, but the Starkville, Miss. big man has the University of Alabama among his top schools and watched as the Crimson Tide made its recent run to the NIT finals. "I like Alabama's style of play," Ware said. "They play up-tempo which is what I'm used to. They get their big men the ball, and they play equally. You can see the guard shoot. You can see the big man post up. You see the wing players, they can drive. I like their game a lot." Ware, who is 6-foot-8, 247-pounds, kept a close eye on Alabama's JaMychal Green, who plays the same position. "He's big in there," Ware said. "He's very good. He has moves that he can fall on and score off of. When I saw him against Colorado, he was doing really well." Green and Ware have a lot of similarities in their game. Both are interior players with good hands who can finish around the rim and can also step out to shoot a jump shot. Rivals.com national basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi saw Ware play at the Nike EYBL Qualifier in Indianapolis last month. "Gavin is a kid that we ranked last year just based off the fact that he is a big kid," Bossi said. "He had pretty good fundamentals and soft hands, and we had the thought that he could develop into a pretty good player. "When I saw him a couple weeks ago, despite the fact that he was a little hampered by injury, he showed he was a strong kid who has really good touch around the rim. He can step out, face up and knock down some 12- to 15-foot jump shots." In February, Ware suffered a bruised knee during the state playoffs, and he's just now getting back into game shape. Ware has been hearing from a number of schools early in the recruiting process, but he indicated that Alabama, Georgetown, Georgia and Mississippi State have shown the most interest. The new staff has Tennessee has also made an effort to reach out to Ware since taking over. Mississippi State's campus is less than five minutes from his house, leading many to believe the Bulldogs are the team to beat for his signature, but Ware says that's not true. "When I looked on the Internet, I saw where somebody put, 'Whoever wants him is going have to take him from (Mississippi) State.' That's not true," Ware said. "I'm open to any program who shows interest in me, and I'll do my research as far as the distance and the academics they have, because you can't get anywhere with basketball without your academics." Ware's AAU teammate Devonta Pollard, a top 30 prospect from Miss., has said that the duo wants to play together at the next level. Ware feels the same way, but it's too early to label the two a package deal. "If it comes down to us having to split, I think it would be a hard decision, but we've got to make it for the best," Ware said. At this point, Ware plans to wait until after his senior season at Starkville High School wraps up before making a decision. April 15, 2011 Lakers sign Trey Johnson Inside Hoops The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Trey Johnson, it was announced today. Johnson rejoins the Lakers after spending the 2010 preseason with the team before being waived on October 21, 2010. In five preseason games, he averaged 2.8 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 8.8 minutes. A 6’5” guard out of Jackson State, Johnson has spent the last four seasons playing for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League. A 2011 D-League All-Star West Team selection, Johnson did not play in the game after being called up to the Toronto Raptors and signing a pair of 10-day contracts with the team. In seven games with the Raptors this season, Johnson averaged 4.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 11.6 minutes. With Bakersfield this season, Johnson ranked second league-wide in scoring (25.5 points per game) while handing out 4.5 assists (25th league-wide) in 35.9 minutes. For his D-League career, he has averaged 20.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 36.0 minutes. Johnson will join the Lakers for tonight’s season finale in Sacramento. April 13, 2011 Riley's last-minute pitch lands Luckett Rod Walker Clarion Ledger LeAntwan Luckett admits he knows nothing about the glory days of Alcorn State basketball. "No clue," said the Dandy Dozen senior guard from Ridgeland High School. And he's also quick to point out Alcorn was nowhere on his recruiting radar just a month ago. But just two weeks after Alcorn named Provine's Luther Riley as its coach, Luckett signed with the Braves on Wednesday. "I wanted to make a difference and bring something back to Alcorn and build the program with Coach Riley," said Luckett. Luckett is rated the 77th best senior (and No. 20 shooting guard) in the country, according to rivals.com. Luckett said his final four choices were Alcorn, Mississippi State, Tennessee and TCU. A late-minute sales pitch from Riley swayed him. "He asked me if I wanted to be a winner and how I felt about starting a program off the ground and helping take it to the top," said Luckett. The 6-foot-4 Luckett was a first-team All-Metro pick after averaging 19.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists this season for the Titans. "Twan has the potential to be a big contributor as a freshman," said Riley. "He's ranked in the top 100 in the country, so it's obvious he can play." Luckett was one of six players signed in Riley's first recruiting class on Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA spring signing period. He joins Provine guard Jarren Mallory and a quartet of junior college players. Michael Willis, Anthony Evans and Jarvis Moore - all from Mississippi Delta CC - and Brandon Givens of Jones Junior College, also signed with Alcorn. "I think we did OK, especially considering I've just been here for two weeks," said Riley. "I think that if you work hard enough and make a kid believe in you, it doesn't matter who you are recruiting against. I think I can recruit as well as Duke or anybody else in the country. I plan to get kids to know that it's ok to play at these smaller schools." April 13, 2011 Four Star Wing Signs with Alcorn State Eric Bossi Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst It isn't often that there's a true surprise in the recruiting world. But, senior LeAntwan Luckett managed to pull one off on the first day of the spring signing period. Rivals.com's 77th rated player in the class of 2011 surprised the recruiting world by signing with Alcorn State this morning. The 6-foot-5 wing from Ridgeland (Miss.)High product confirmed his signing with Rivals.com on Tuesday morning. Athletic and tough, the four-star Luckett is a major pickup for Alcorn State. As a guy who is capable of playing at the high major level, Luckett should be able to make a significant impact at Alcorn. Though he has signed, Luckett still has to clear academically and is likely to end up at a junior college if he isn't qualified to play as a freshman. April 11, 2011 Comings and Goings Neal McCready Rebelgrove.com Senior Writer Oxford, Miss. -- Torrey Ward is gone, replaced by Al Pinkins. Murphy Holloway is back, more than likely claiming a scholarship previously owned by a former teammate. The story of the comings and goings inside the Ole Miss basketball program likely isn't completed yet, but some of what has been speculated about for weeks came to fruition Monday. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy confirmed Monday he has hired former Middle Tennessee assistant coach Al Pinkins and promoted former coordinator of operations Bill Armstrong to assistant coach. Ole Miss issued a release later Monday stating Ward was pursuing other coaching options. A source close to Ward told RebelGrove.com Monday Ward's name is in the mix for openings at several programs, including Missouri. Another spot was made available on the Ole Miss staff when former assistant Michael White was named Louisiana Tech's head coach late last month. Pinkins spent the past eight seasons at Middle Tennessee, where he helped develop the Blue Raiders' post players. Pinkins was instrumental in the development of two-time, first-team All-Sun Belt Conference forward Desmond Yates, who reached the 1,000-point club as a junior. Pinkins also has helped develop 6-foot-10 center Theryn Hudson into one of Middle Tennessee's all-time leaders in field goal percentage and tops in the Sun Belt in 2007-08. A former player at N.C. State (1994-97), Pinkins has helped shape the Blue Raiders' recent success in recruiting. He played a key role in landing a 2007 signing class rated No. 1 in the Sun Belt and No. 48 nationally by HoopScoop. The class also was rated the 13th-best among mid-majors nationally by Rivals.com. "We are excited to announce that Al has joined our staff," Kennedy said in a university-issued release. "After working with (head coach) Kermit Davis at MTSU for the past eight seasons, he comes highly recommended. From recruiting to the development of our post players, Al will be an immediate asset to our program." Armstrong returns to the bench after serving as coordinator of operations for Kennedy's first five years at Ole Miss. Earlier in his career, Armstrong spent three years as an assistant coach at Birmingham-Southern. A four-year lettermen (1998-2001) and graduate assistant (2001-02) at UAB, Armstrong earned his first full-time coaching position as an assistant at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College. "I have known Bill for over 20 years and have seen his continued development as a coach," Kennedy said. "As our operations director over the past five seasons, Bill has been my 'right-hand man.' He deserves this opportunity." The lone remaining assistant on Kennedy's staff from last season, Owen Miller, is a strong candidate for the head coaching job at Gulfport (Miss.) High School. Miller is a Gulfport native. Holloway announced his intention to return to Ole Miss last month. He sat out the 2010-11 season due to NCAA rules regarding transfers but practiced as a walk-on/redshirt at South Carolina. Holloway, according to reports and sources, plans to appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility at Ole Miss. Holloway started 30 of 34 games for the Rebels in his sophomore campaign in 2009-10, averaging 10.1 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per contest. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound native of Irmo, S.C., ranked fifth in the SEC in rebounding and eighth in steals (1.5 per game). He finished sixth among league players with eight double-doubles. In two seasons at Ole Miss, Holloway amassed 606 career points, 464 rebounds, 86 steals and 33 blocks. He played in 65 games with 47 starts. "When Murph informed me of his need to go home and take care of his personal responsibilities last year, I supported his decision," Kennedy said. "When he then asked me to come back and join our program after his family situation had improved, I welcomed him back with open arms. We look forward to seeing him back in an Ole Miss uniform." With Holloway returning and the Rebels planning to sign at least one more prospect in the April signing period, several current players are expected to transfer out of the program. Sources told RebelGrove.com Monday guards Will Bogan and Trevor Gaskins are on pace to graduate in May, thereby making them eligible to play next season at another Division I program. Bogan confirmed to the Clarion-Ledger newspaper his intentions to leave Ole Miss. Guard Donald Williams, sources said, is also exploring his options. Huntington (W. Va.) guard Maurice Aniefiok is scheduled to visit Ole Miss officially this weekend. The Rebels are in the lead for his services, though Duquesne, James Madison and Rutgers are in the mix for the 6-5 guard. April 2, 2011 All State Basketball Awards Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst With the books closing on the 2010-11, high school hoops season in Mississippi the final chaper needs to be written. MagnoliaPreps.com presents the 2010-11 Mississippi All-State Basketball Teams: 2010-2011 MagnoliaPreps.com All-State Team: Player of the Year Rodney Hood - 6'8", Sr. Forward Meridian First Team Rodney Hood - 6'8", Sr. Forward Meridian 23.6 PTS, 8.3 REBS, 6.5 AST, 3.1 STL Deville Smith - 5'11", Sr. Guard Callaway 22.2 PTS, 4.4 REB, 4.0 AST, 5.0 STL D.J. Gardner - 6'7", Sr. Guard/Forward Okolona 32.2 PTS, 10.4 REBS, 3.1 AST, 3.3 STL Mychal Ammons - 6'6", Sr. Forward Vicksburg 21.8 PTS, 8.9 REBS, 2.1 BLKS Devonta Pollard - 6'7", Jr. Forward Kemper County 24.2 PTS, 13.8 REBS, 5.3 BLKS Second Team Jarvis Summers - 6'3", Sr. Guard Provine 18.0 PTS, 8.0 AST, 4.0 REBS Xavian Rimmer - 6'2", Sr. Guard Piney Woods 14.2 PTS, 5.2 AST, 4.3 REBS Johnny O'Bryant - 6'9", Sr. Center Cleveland-Eastside 17.3 PTS, 13.2 REBS, 4.1 BLKS Daniel Grieves - 6'6", Sr. Forward St. Stanislaus 17.1 PTS, 5.9 REBS, 4.1 AST Acie Vance - 6'0", Sr. Guard Ripley 30.2 PTS 5.7 REBS 4.6 AST J.J. Bolton - 6'3", Sr. Guard Richton 25.9 PTS, 9.8 REBS, 2.7 STLS March 29, 2011 Ole Miss Assistant to be next Louisiana Tech coach The Associated Press Ole Miss assistant basketball coach Michael White appears to be on the verge of his first head coaching job. A person familiar with the situation says Louisiana Tech has hired Michael White and that he will be introduced as the coach at a news conference Wednesday morning in Ruston, La. The university made the decision on Tuesday afternoon, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not be made. March 26, 2011 Pollard Lights up EYBL Qualifier Eric Bossi Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst FISHERS, Ind. - Last summer, Nike changed things up when it implemented the Elite Youth Basketball League. Records mattered during preliminary events and teams had a summer end goal of making the Peach Jam to work towards. This year, the EYBL is back and Friday night there were 16 teams taking the floor at the EYBL qualifier just outside of Indianapolis in hopes of being one of two teams to fight their way into the league's 40-team field. Standing tall on Friday night was Devonta Pollard. Already a highly regarded four-star prospect, who ranks No. 29 in the class of 2012, Devonta Pollard looked, if anything, to be a bit underrated during his sensational night for the Southern Phenoms. Although he's not the 6-foot-9 that he's listed on the Phenoms' roster, he's at least 6-foot-7 and has tremendous size for the small forward position. The lefty also happens to be in possession of a basketball body, elite-level athleticism and quickness off of the dribble. The Porterville (Miss.) Kemper County star hit some deep threes, blocked shots, grabbed rebounds and got to the free throw line. However, the self-described "four-man" displayed tremendous quickness and ability to attack from the perimeter off the dribble. Left or right, nobody could keep Pollard out of the lane as he shook off a rough start to score 22 of his team-high 25 during the second half. "I play the four but I can put the ball on the floor and get to the bucket," said Pollard. "I can play multiple spots, that's what makes me different. If I have a big guy I'm too quick off the dribble or I can take a little guy into the post." Pollard gave the indication that he hasn't thought very seriously about his recruitment but listed Alabama, Georgetown, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU and Connecticut as some of the schools he's heard from to one degree or another. More Friday EYBL Notables Fred Thomas, SG/SF, Southern Phenoms- A lanky, wiry and pretty fluid 6-foot-5 wing athlete, Thomas can really shoot the ball from deep. Left wing, right wing, it doesn't matter because he's going to let it fly from anywhere out to 24 feet. His game needs some work off the bounce, but he's got athleticism and length to go along with a pure stroke. March 25, 2011 Battle of the South Classic Preview Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst While it probably seems as if the high school hoops season just finished there's no rest for the weary as players transition straight into the travel team season which kicks into gear this coming weekend with the playing of this year's Battle of the South Classic in Jackson, MS. Tournament director LeMond Roy will host over 160 teams from all over the southeast and as far away as Oklahoma with play scheduled to tip off Friday evening with play in eight age groups, ranging from 10 & under to 17 & under. Friday and Saturday action will be held in numerous gyms throughout the North Jackson area with Sunday action finishing up at the Mississippi Basketball and Athletics Center in North Jackson. "This year's event is our biggest yet." Said Roy "We are proud to bring an event of this magnitude to the Jackson Metro area so that the rest of the South can see what Jackson has to offer. We're also excited about the talent we have coming in this weekend, it continues to get stronger each year." Many of the Mississippi's top Travel Team programs, including the Jackson Tiger, Jackson Panthers, MBA Hoops and Mississippi Ballers and the newly formed MarcRowe MSM4L organization, will have teams participating in this weekend's event which always serves as a great intro into the spring travel team/tournament season. Top players expected to participate include 6-6 2012 F Tymond Howard of Pearl, 6-8 2013 F Treshawn Bolton of Callaway, 6-8 2013 C Jamal Hester of Ridgeland, 6-3 2012 WG Jeremy Holliman of Gulfport, 6-5 2013 F Quintarious Porter of Forest Hill, 6-9 2013 C McDarion Abron of Canton, 6-0 2013 WG Josh Carroll of Murrah, 6-0 2013 WG Maurice Dunlap of Grenada, 6-5 2013 F Gerald Glass of Warren Central and 6-2 2014 WG Malik Newman of Jackson. We'll have a wrap-up of the tournament action next week. March 13, 2011 Ex-Provine star Scottie Haralson named C-USA Top Newcomer honors By: Eric Bailey World Sports Writer EL PASO, Texas – Tulsa’s Scottie Haralson has been voted Conference USA’s newcomer of the year, and teammate Jordan Clarkson was named to the league’s all-freshman team, it was announced on Tuesday. Haralson is a sophomore guard who transferred from UConn. The shooting specialist has drained 80 3-pointers this season and is averaging 11.1 points per game. “It’s a great award for him and us as a program,” TU coach Doug Wojcik said. “I think he’s meant that much to us as a program. There’s a reason why we are the No. 2 seed in the tournament. “It’s not just Justin Hurtt. It’s a team thing and certainly Scottie has been a big part of that.” March 5, 2011 Mississippi-Alabama Game All-Star roster By: Clarion Ledger Here are the rosters for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. The Mississippi-Alabama game is set for March 18 at the Pelham Civic COmplex in Pelham, Alabama. The girls game starts at 5 p.m. and the boys game is set for 7:00. Mississippi boys roster Mychal Ammons, Vicksburg, 6-6 (South Alabama) Tyler Adams, Brandon, 6-9 (Georgetown) Trey Brown, Brandon, 6-7 (Tennessee-Chattanooga) Darius Forrest, Wingfield, 6-6 Daniel Grieves, St. Stanislaus (Air Forest Academy) Rodney Hood, Meridian, 6-8 (Mississippi State) Stanley Magee, Pass Christian, 6-3 Donovan Ross, Ridgeland, 6-6 (Southeastern Louisiana) Deville Smith, Callaway, 5-11 (Mississippi State) Jarvis Summer, Provine, 6-4 (Ole Mss) Bryan Williams, Pascagoula, 6-5 Johnny Zuppardo, St. Stanislaus, 6-9 (Arkansas State) Coaches: Keith Robinson, Pascagoula; Herman Sanders, Wingfield March 5, 2011 Mighty Wildcats put icing on cake By: Rod Walker Clarion Ledger For the second year in a row, Rodney Hood stood inside the Mississippi Coliseum with tears. This time though, they were tears of joy. Hood and the Meridian Wildcats had waited 364 long days for this one and they weren't about to go back east on I-20 without a gold ball. Meridian, ranked No. 1 all season in The Clarion-Ledger Super 10, led from start to finish, defeating Vicksburg 62-47 in the Class 6A championship game at Mississippi Coliseum before an estimated 4,500. The win helped Meridian erase the disappointment of last season when they lost to Starkville in the title game. "It feels good," said Meridian coach Randy Bolden. "The difference between this year's team and last year's team is that last year we came here hoping to win. When we walked into the locker room tonight we were expecting to win. These guys showed from the start tonight that they were not going to leave Jackson without being 6A state champions." It was Meridian's first state championship since 1978. Hood, a Mississippi State signee, finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and three steals to earn Most Valuable Player honors. "Last year it was emotional because we felt like we should have won," said Hood. "This year it was emotional because this is what we wanted and it was my last time playing in this Meridian jersey and my last time playing with these guys who are like brothers to me." Meridian raced out to a 5-0 lead and never trailed. When Vicksburg cut it to 19-17 with six minutes left in the second quarter, Meridian answered by going on a 9-0 run. The Wildcats, led by Hood's 12 first-half points, led 34-22 at intermission. They kept the lead throughout, stretching it to 54-40 on Sidney Coleman's thunderous slam (and one) with 6:13 remaining. "Rodney had told me that 'coach I am going to win you one,'" said Bolden. "He put us on his back and carried us. ... I'll go on the record and say he is the best player in Mississippi." Devin Cherry, who is headed to Cornell, finished with 15 points. Coleman had six blocks. "I can't say enough about those seniors," said Bolden. "Sidney was big. Matthew (Hurn) was huge. Nick (Waters) ran our offense. I'm just fortunate to be their coach." Vicksburg's Dandy Dozen forward Mychal Ammons scored 24 points to lead the Gators (27-4), who saw their 19 game winning streak come to an end. "It's hard to do anything with them," said Vicksburg coach Dellie Robinson, who was seeking his first title since 2003. "You can't stop them one on one. They pose a matchup problem."

March 5, 2011 Worsham, War Eagles capture first gold ball By: Rod Walker Clarion Ledger Wayne County coach Ron Norman no longer has to ask Thomas Billups to let his players take a look around his office to glance at his eight gold balls. The War Eagles now have their own. Wayne County - players Norman described as "blue collar, country boys" - defeated Lanier 82-74 to claim the 5A state championship on Saturday at Mississippi Coliseum before an estimated 3,000. It was the first boys basketball title in school history for Wayne County, adding to the state titles won in football (3), girls basketball (2) and fast-pitch softball (1). "It's everything I anticipated and more," said Norman, in his fourth season. "This was just a resilient bunch. I told them when we got here four years ago that we were going to put some banners in our gym." It was the 30th consecutive win for the War Eagles (31-1), ranked No. 3 in The Clarion-Ledger Super 10. Fittingly, it came against a team with eight MHSAA banners hanging in its gym. It was four years ago when Norman took his team to Billups' office to see those gold balls. "I was planting a seed," Norman said. "We decided if we are going to be good, we have to pattern the way we play, the way we practice and the things we do like the schools in Jackson." Wayne County, loaded with depth and athleticism, built a 37-22 lead late in the second quarter. The lead was still 15 (57-42) with 1:24 left in the third. But that's when Lanier began to make a run. "We knew Lanier was going to keep battling," Norman said. Lanier cut it to 57-53 early in the fourth quarter, but Avery Woodson helped the War Eagles stuff the Bulldogs's momentum. Woodson buried back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back up to 63-53. "Avery felt like it was his time," Norman said. "He has been the reserve guy, but he and (Deterris Rogers) know their role. We know we have playmakers here with Gator (Rayford Worsham) and Tater (Donte Pittman)." Worsham, a junior, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds to earn Most Valuable Player honors. Pittman, a point guard, also had 18 points. "It feels good," Pittman said. "Coach always tells me that I have the keys to the Cadillac and I have to lead the team." The Bulldogs (25-9), still didn't go away after Woodson's 3-pointers. Lanier senior Greg Lee scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and got the Bulldogs to as close as 75-69 with 1:48 left. But each time, Wayne County responded. "You can't sit back and rest with that team," Norman said. "They just stay after you. That clock never seemed like it was going to get down to triple zeroes." But it finally did, and the War Eagles piled on the Mississippi Coliseum floor for the second time in four days after beating Provine in Wednesday's semifinals. "In the end, we made it happen and that's all I'm proud of," Norman said. The two teams combined for 93 free throws. (27 of 40 for Wayne County and 35 of 53 for Lanier). "I really wanted it for these guys because nobody really thought they could do it," said Billups, now 8-6 in title games. "We didn't have a Dandy Dozen or anything. It would have been really special for me and the kids and the school." February 21, 2011 Mississippi Burner: LeAntwan Luckett is On Fire By: Austin Burton Dimemag.com Although he hardly cruises through the first three quarters, LeAntwan Luckett saves his best for the fourth. The Ridgeland (MS) High School senior shooting guard — averaging 18 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game through Sunday — is one of the best clutch performers in the South. “This summer alone, LeAntwan won or tied six games against big-time competition at the free throw line or with a last-second shot,” says Ted Hutchins, who coached Luckett on the Mississippi D-1 Ambassadors AAU team. “He’s an incredibly humble young man off the court, but when he gets on that court, he’s a totally different person. He wants to take over.” Luckett’s signature display happened last July at the Peach State Tournament in Aiken, S.C. Playing on a sore knee that he’d secretly been icing in his hotel room and hiding from Hutchins to avoid being benched, Luckett got the ball with the Ambassadors down by one with five seconds left. Driving coast-to-coast, he converted an and-one layup to win the game. “I knew I could go (despite the injury). I had to get it out of my mind and hit the game-winning shot,” says Luckett. “I want the ba;; in my hands with the pressure on me. I like being in that situation. I want to take that last shot.” In addition to his exploits with the D-1 Ambassadors, Luckett also starred for the Jackson Tigers AAU team in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League summer program. In a strong senior class of talent in Mississippi, Luckett is a Top-5 player alongside LSU-bound All-American power forward Johnny O’Bryant, center Tyler Adams (Georgetown) and forward Rodney Hood (Mississippi State). Luckett is arguably the best guard in the state. At 6-4, 185 pounds, with a natural slasher’s mentality and an improved perimeter shot, Luckett compares his game to Jamal Crawford. “He’s underrated, but he’ll come off the bench and give you 30,” Luckett says of the Atlanta Hawks guard. “You never know what you’re gonna get. I’d say I have a smooth game like that, like I let the game come to me. I don’t rush nothing. “I didn’t really get serious about basketball until about seventh grade,” he continues. “Back then I just liked getting to the rack. I didn’t like shooting the ball. I liked crossing people over. So I had to develop my shot and add that to my game.” Hutchins initially praises Luckett’s defense, but any scouting report always goes back to his knack for attacking the rim. “The one word I’d use for him is explosive,” says Hutchins. “His best asset is getting to the basket. When a team plays him one-on-one, as a coach you just spread the floor and let him go to the basket at will. He has great vision, too. I’ve been told by college coaches that he can play point guard at a D-1 level.” Luckett grew up with two siblings and a single mother in Canton, Miss., where he admits getting into trouble and losing focus in school was easy. As a ninth grader, with his family struggling financially, he moved in with Hutchins, whose wife is a cousin of LeAntwan’s mom. Eventually they became LeAntwan’s legal guardians. “That helped me out a lot,” says Luckett. “The little small town I’m from, they call it ‘Baby Chicago’ because it’s so bad out there. At Ridgeland I was able to go to a better school and stay out of trouble.” Luckett had yet to commit to a college at press time, but had schools like Clemson, TCU, Baylor, Missouri State and Central Florida on his list. In the meantime, he’s aiming to take his high school team to a state championship. “We made it to the Big House (Mississippi Coliseum) my 10th grade year and lost in the Final Four game,” says Luckett. “This year I’m going to push my guys to work hard toward a state ring. We want to win that gold ball this year.” February 11, 2011 East Side's O'Bryant selected for McDonald's game By: Rod Walker Clarion Ledger Angela Moore has plenty of stories to tell about her youngest son's early years. She recalls Johnny O'Bryant's first love being football. And the days when he didn't feel like going to practice and she made him anyway. And then there was her favorite story about how her son, 6 years old at the time, was required to bring his birth certificate to every youth league basketball game. "He was so much bigger than everybody, so nobody believed he was the right age," Moore recalled. As he continued to grow, his basketball skills continued to blossom as well. O'Bryant - now a 6-foot- 10 senior forward at East Side High in Cleveland - was rewarded on Thursday with what most consider the highest honor for a high school basketball player. He was selected to play in the prestigious McDonald's All-American Game, a showcase of the nation's top seniors. The two-time Dandy Dozen selection and LSU signee is the 14th Mississippi high school player to be picked for the game and the first since Lanier's Monta Ellis in 2005. "It means a lot to me, especially being the first one from the Mississippi Delta," said O'Bryant. "Where I am from, not too many people get an opportunity like this. It just let me know that all of my hard work has paid off." But for O'Bryant, the hardest part came over the past two weeks, when he was first notified that he made the team. He and his family members were instructed to keep it a secret until the team was announced on ESPNU on Thursday. "It was very tough knowing and not being able to tell anyone," said O'Bryant, who watched Thursday's broadcast at home with five family members and friends. It was even tougher for Moore, who was still overjoyed - despite already knowing. "Do you know how hard it was to hold the good news?" said Moore. "I had some good news, but I couldn't tell it. It's like a dream come true. He has always talked about it." O'Bryant is averaging 17.2 points, 14.8 rebounds and 5 blocks for the Trojans (24-3), ranked No. 3 in Class 3A. "It's a rare accomplishment," said East Side coach Leroy Cotton. "He's the first one from the Mississippi Delta, so it's just a huge accomplishment for him, the community and the whole Delta." O'Bryant is ranked the 30th best senior in the nation by ESPN and the seventh best power forward. "I just attribute it to God, because He gave me the ability and I just try to use it," said O'Bryant, who started garnering national attention in the eighth grade playing with the Jackson Tigers, an AAU team. "They believed in me and put me out there to play on the big stage and my talent took off from there, so I attribute a lot to that too." This year's game is scheduled for March 30 at the United Center in Chicago and will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 9 p.m. For O'Bryant, it will be a chance to reunite with several players he played with over the past two years when he competed in international competition. This past summer, he competed for the United States in the U17 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. But he is quick to acknow-ledge that his latest accomplishment ranks at the top. "This is definitely No. 1," said O'Bryant. "Just because it's been such a select few from Mississippi. And where I come from, not many people get an opportunity to do something like this." All-Time Mississippi McDonald's Team 1988 Chris Jackson, Gulfport (LSU) 1988 Litterial Green, Moss Point (Georgia) 1989 James Robinson, Murrah (Alabama) 1992 Othella Harrington, Murrah (Georgetown) 1993 Ronnie Henderson, Murrah (LSU) 1994 Jerod Ward, Clinton (Michigan) 1999 Jonathan Bender, Picayune (NBA) 2000 Darius Rice, Lanier (Miami) 2001 Mo Williams, Murrah (Alabama) 2003 Jackie Butler, McComb 2003 Travis Outlaw, Starkville (NBA) 2004 Al Jefferson, Prentiss (NBA) 2005 Monta Ellis, Lanier (NBA) 2011 Johnny O'Bryant, Cleveland East Side (LSU) February 8, 2011 Final Regular Season Hoops Rating By: Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst As teams across the Magnolia State gear up for State Tournamnet Runs, we release our last regular season ranking of the year. Meridian holds serve at the top while Pascagoula breaks back in to the rankings at No. 13. 1 Meridian 23-2 2 Provine 21-2 3 Wayne County 24-1 4 Piney Woods 21-3 5 St. Stanislaus 26-2 6 Vicksburg 21-3 7 Ridgeland 26-1 8 Brandon 20-7 9 Biloxi 18-4 10 Tupelo 25-3 11 Lanier 20-7 12 Gulfport 23-5 13 Pascagoula 21-5 January 26, 2011 Raptors Sign Johnson To 10-Day Contract The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have signed guard Trey Johnson to a 10-day contract. He is the sixth GATORADE Call-Up of the 2010-11 NBA Development League season. To make room on the roster the Raptors released Sundiata Gaines early from his 10-day contract. Johnson, 6-foot-5, 215 pounds is the leading scorer in the D-League this season averaging 25.8 points for the Bakersfield Jam. He has scored in double-digits in each of his 26 games, posting 20 or more points on 22 occasions and 30 or more in five games and a season-best 43 on December 15 at Austin. Johnson is also averaging 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting .510 percent from the field. Johnson is in his fourth season with the Jam. He owns career D-League averages of 20.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 36.2 minutes. His head coach during the 2007-08 season was current Raptors assistant coach Scott Roth. A product of Jackson State in Mississippi, Johnson played four games with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2008-09 campaign totaling four points and one rebound. In October he went to training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers. Gaines was signed to a second 10-day contract Monday. He appeared in six contests with the Raptors averaging 5.8 points, 1.8 assists and 15.0 minutes. Toronto’s roster stands at 15 players. Johnson is scheduled to be in uniform for Wednesday’s game versus Philadelphia. Game time is 7 p.m. at Air Canada Centre. (TSN2/Sportsnet Radio The FAN 590). December 6, 2010 MagnoliaPrep.com Hoops Team Ranking By: Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst The calendar has turned to December and the last football game has been played so its time to turn a little more attention to high school hoops, that means it's time to take a look at our rankings and see how the teams measure up, and the shakeup begins right at the top where the preseason No. 1 Meridian Wildcats relinquish the top spot to the Rams of Jackson Provine. Provine traveled to Dallas over the Thanksgiving weekend and came away with two impressive wins over national level competition. Already owning an impressive road win over a highly regarded Vicksburg squad the Rams Thanksgiving weekend performance pushed them into the no. 1 ranking. Despite looking dominate so far this season here in state, preseason no. 1 Meridian drops to no. 2 following their first lost of the season to Van Buren (H.S.) Ark. at the Rumble on the Ridge tournament in Forest City, Arkansas. The Wildcats bounced back with a big win this past weekend would have probably retained their no. 1 ranking had Provine's wins not come against such high level competition. Check out how the rest of the rankings shape up as we present our first Magnoliapreps Power Thirteen Rankings of the regular season. (records thru Dec. 5th) Team - Record - Previous Ranking 1 - Provine - 9-0 - 6 2 - Meridian - 8-1 - 1 3 - Starkville - 5-1 - 4 4 - Brandon - 10-0 - NR 5 - Lanier - 8-1 -8 6 - Ridgeland - 9-0 - 12 7 - Piney Woods - 6-1 - 3 8 - Callaway - 5-2 - 2 9 - Vicksburg - 6-2 - 7 10 - Wayne County - 7-1 - 11 11 - Gulfport - 8-1 - NR 12 - St. Stanislaus - 7-2 - 5 13 - Pascagoula - 6-1 - NR November 30, 2010 Capital City Hoops Challenge Recap By: Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst Jackson, Miss. - The first Capital City Hoops Challenge was held this past weekend and promoter LeMond Roy pulled off a great event. The event attracted some of the top teams from across the state and showcasted some of the state's top prospects. Here's a recap of all the games and standouts from each game. Game Recaps: Lanier - 62 Crystal Springs - 43 The Bulldogs handled the Tigers behind the guard tandem of Quinton Watkins (22 pts) and Javerick Burrell (12 pts) Pearl - 55 Murrah - 42 Tymond Howard scored 20 points and was supported by Fred Lee with 13 as the Pirates defeated the Mustangs. Daniel Francis led the Mustangs with a game high 24 points. Clarksdale - 50 Murrah - 34 (girls) Erica Collins scored 25 points and Dandy Dozen forward Seneca Walton scored 11 as the No. 3 ranked Lady Wildcats defeated the Lady Mustangs. Yazoo County - 44 Clarksdale - 40 DeAndre Scott scored 22 points to lead the Panthers over the Wildcats. S.V. Marshall - 49 Eastside - 39 Junior guard Tamarcio Wilson scored 16 points to lead the Tigers to a victory over the Trojans. Eastside's Dandy Dozen center and LSU signee, Johnny O'Bryant scored 11 points in the defeat. Ridgeland - 67 Jim Hill - 55 The Titans got 22 points from Southeastern Louisiana signee Donovan Ross and 21 points from Dandy Dozen guard LeAntwan Luckett and cruised to an easy win over the Tigers. Junior Center Jamal Hester added 16 for Ridgeland. The Tigers were led by senior guard Jeremy Moore with 21 points while highly regarded Junior wing Fred Thomas was held to 9 points. Brandon 61 St. Stanislaus 58 2OT This was the best game of the day as despite trailing for the majority of the game the Bulldogs were able to pull even and force overtime, not once, but twice before pulling out the win in the second OT. In what was expected to be a battle between a pair of Dandy Dozen frontcourt players, Air Force Academy signee Daniel Grieves of St. Stanislaus and Georgetown signee Tyler Adams of Brandon the spot light was stolen by UT-Chattanooga signee Octavious Brown whose 21 points and clutch baskets keyed the Bulldogs victory, none of which was bigger than the contested three pointer he hit with seconds left in regulation to force the first overtime. Adams scored 11 despite constant double teaming. For the Rock-A-Chaws, Grieves matched Brown with 21 points and Arkansas State signee Johnny Zuppardo scored 16. Callaway 49 Vicksburg 45 OT In a low scoring nip and tuck contest Dandy Dozen guard Deville Smith scored 24 points, including a clutch buzzer beating three pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime, to lead the Chargers to a win in a battle between ranked teams. Vicksburg was lead by senior guard Dominique Brown with 14 points while the Gators' high scoring, Dandy Dozen forward and South Alabama signeeMychal Ammons was held to 10 points. November 18, 2010 Stansbury Announces Signing Class By: MSU Media Relations Starkville, Miss. - Mississippi State's 2010-11 signing class got off to a resounding start as the Bulldogs landed three of the Magnolia State's top players in wings Rodney Hood and D.J. Gardner and point guard Deville Smith, 13th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury announced. All three were named to the Clarion Ledger's prestigious Dandy Dozen, and all three are considered Top 100 players overall nationally. "I like them all," Stansbury said. "These are impact players that can take us to the next level. More importantly, they are good people with great character, the type of players every team wants on their roster." The 6-foot-8, 180-pound Hood, a two-time Mississippi player of the year, averaged 22.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists last year as a junior and scored a record 34 points in the Mississippi High School All-Star Game. He led the Wildcats to a 26-7 record en route to advancing to the Class 6A championship game. Listed as a five-start recruit, Rivals.com rates him as the 21st best player overall nationally, while ESPN has him at No. 30, followed by Scout.com at No. 49. Hood's father, Rickey, played for MSU from 1978-80. "Hood is very special," Stansbury said. "He has no cracks in his armor. To see how far he's come in the last year shows how special he is. He has a chance to be as good as anyone that has ever played here. He's versatile and can score off the dribble or off the pass. When you put him together as a person and a player, he is really special." Joining Hood is Smith, a 5-11, 160-pound guard out of Callaway. This talented duo are also AAU teammates (MBA Hoops). As a junior, Smith led his team to a second-straight Class 5A crown and averaged 22.4 points, 4.0 steals and 3.5 assists. He hit the game-winning shot against Provine at the buzzer to win the championship, while scoring a career-high 48 points against New Hope in the North 5A finals. As a sophomore, he earned second-team All-State honors. Rated as a 4-star recruit, he's listed as the 40th best overall player in the country by ESPN and 63rd best by Rivals.com. "He's tough and has great vision," Stansbury said. "He has just enough moxie at the point. He has that swagger. He can get the ball in the paint and pass it." Rounding out the early signing period class is Okolona's D.J. Gardner. Noted for his long-range shooting, the 6-7, 195-pound standout totaled 24.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals a contest as the Chieftains posted a 25-6 ledger and advanced to the North 1A semifinals. His season-high of 40 points came against Ingomar. They finished the season ranked No. 5 in the Class 1A rankings. Gardner also stood out in the Mississippi High School All-Star Game, where he poured in 16 points. A 4-star recruit, Rivals.com has him as the 60th player in the country, while ESPN has him at No. 91. "D.J. has a good basketball I.Q., and can really make shots. He plays a lot of point. He can pass and shoot," Stansbury said. November 15, 2010 Luckett Will Wait for Spring By: Brian Snow National Recruiting Analyst LeAntwan Luckett plans to sign late, and he should garner significant interest before the start of the late signing period. The state of Mississippi is in the middle of a banner year for talent in the 2011 class. Numerous high-majors emerged throughout the state, and one unsigned player with that potential is LeAntwan Luckett. A wing with a lot of athleticism who excels at getting to the rim, Luckett has decided to wait until the spring to sign according to his AAU Coach Ted Hutchins. “He really wanted to wait until after the high school season,” said Hutchins. “He is doing excellent in school right now, and he wants to see what his options are at the time once his season is over. He told me he just wasn’t comfortable right now making a decision.” One reason why Hutchins and Luckett feel more options will come is because of the work being done in the classroom. Luckett has made great strides with his academics, and is now on pace to qualify easily. “This year, his senior year, is like a 180 from his freshman and sophomore year,” said Hutchins. “He figured out in time that if he buckled down he would actually make it, and that is where he is right now. He is a B+ student right now. His mom wants him to get a good education, and he is taking advantage of it.” The school that has been on Luckett the longest is Missouri State. Head Coach Cuonzo Martin has been very active in recruiting Luckett, and that has Hutchins and everybody paying close attention. “(Luckett) loves Coach Martin,” said Hutchins. “He hasn’t visited yet, but that is one of the schools he definitely plans to visit. He has personally met with Coach Martin, and I can tell you he loves Coach Martin. He has been there and done that at the college level and has a pretty good relationship with him.” He continued about Missouri State, “Coach Martin was at every game at nationals. That meant a lot to LeAntwan.” While Missouri State has been on Luckett the longest, the Colorado Buffalos are making a strong push. With Colorado leaving the Big XII this year, that is something that actually appeals to Luckett. “With Colorado moving to the Pac 10 or the Pac 12, it is going to open up his eyes,” said Hutchins. “He went to Los Angeles for a tournament earlier this year and liked it. I think the West Coast style of basketball also intrigues him. They jumped in late, but I know he is interested in them.” Aside from those two schools, Hutchins says several others remain in contact with Luckett. “He is still hearing from Murray State, and Mississippi State is trying to see where their recruitment is at,” said Hutchins. “They like him, but they signed three good players already, so they are trying to see if they will have room. Tulane and Southern Mississippi are also recruiting him.” According to Hutchins, Luckett isn't close to making a decision. With that said the three-star guard does know what he will be looking for when selecting a school. “He is just looking for where he will be comfortable,” said Hutchins. “He wants to be comfortable with the coaching staff and the players. He has never mentioned playing time to me. If he is going to a school and it seems right, he doesn’t care how far or how close it is, he will go there. Also his mom has stressed education, so that is very important to him.” November 4, 2010 Clarion Ledger Boys Preseason Super 10 1) Meridian (26-7) - No team enters the season with a better combination of size, talent, experience and cohesiveness than the Wildcats, who return the nucleus of last season's Class 6A runner-up. Dandy Dozen swingman Rodney Hood has the talent to carry Meridian far, but this is no one-man gang. Sidney Coleman on the inside and Devin Cherry on the perimeter are D-I talents. A brutal schedule should have the 'Cats ready for the playoffs. 2) Callaway (23-11) - A three-peat on Beasley Road? Don't bet against Wayne Brent, Deville Smith and the Chargers. Smith, the reigning C-L Metro Player of the Year, is poised for a huge senior season. His supporting cast isn't loaded with experience, but the potential is undeniable. De'Vion "Bug I" Smith, Deville's younger brother, is a jack-of-all trades. A pair of young big guys - junior Terron Gilmore and Murrah transfer Treshawn Bolden - have bright futures. 3) St. Stanislaus (27-8) - Jay Ladner had guided the Rock-a-chaws to the Big House eight times in his 19 seasons, but he's never had a team with talent that runs this deep. Dandy Dozen forward Daniel Grieves returns to SSC after spending his junior year at St. Patrick. Last year's Class 4A runner-up has two more D-I-bound seniors in center Johnny Zuppardo and Arkansas State commit Davon Hayes, an athletic wing who transferred from Greenville-Weston. 4) Provine (27-7) - The Rams will be in the hunt for their fifth state title under Luther Riley with Dandy Dozen guard Jarvis Summers eading the way. Summers will get help from blue-collar junior forward Roger Woods and senior Jarren Mallory, a high-rising 3-point bomber who was a sparkplug off the bench last season. Two more juniors, Marcus Hogan and Jock Johnson, will help inside. 5) Starkville (31-2) - The Yellowjackets will have a new look after winning their first gold ball since 1961 and taking home the MHSAA Grand Slam crown. Rashad Perkins, last season's Mr. Basketball, is at Chipola Junior College in Florida, while All-State guard Edward Townsel signed with Arkansas State. Even so, another title celebration remains within reach. Rugged center Gavin Ware and guard Jacolby Mobley are two of the state's best juniors. 6) Vicksburg (26-4) - The Gators lose high-scoring guard Kelsey Howard (Jackson State), but Dandy Dozen forward Mychal Ammons is certainly capable of producing a huge senior season. Longtime coach Dellie Robinson expects big things from senior point guard Dominique Brown. Keep an eye on Tre'Darius Carter, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound sophomore who could provide an inside presence. 7) Ridgeland (23-9) - The Titans have been among the state's best programs the last three seasons, reaching the Boys State Tournament twice and coming up one victory short last February. The pieces are there for another visit to High Street. Dandy Dozen swingman LeAntwan Luckett and forward Donovan Ross could be on the brink of big senior years. Ridgeland coach Roderick Davidson expects junior center Jamal Hester to be much improved. 8) Piney Woods (20-9) - The Tornadoes appear to be a solid favorite to capture their first state title since 1996 and could be significantly higher in the rankings at season's end. All-Metro picks Xavian Rimmer and Kentwan Smith are back for their senior years after narrowly missing a trip to the Big House last season. Senior guard Jamal Walker will play a key role, too. A trio of promising newcomers - Durrell McDonald, Phillip Jones and Kenneth Taylor - should help. 9) Wingfield (30-1) - The Falcons must replace the dynamic backcourt of Trency Jackson (USM) and Jurmond Cattenhead (Tougaloo), but Herman Sanders has plenty of talent available for another stellar season. The frontcourt is loaded with seniors Cory Louie, Darius Forest and Daveon Slaughter, while JaMichael Hawkins could be a major 3-point threat. The key figures to be senior point guard Shelton Willis, who got plenty of P.T. last season. 10) Biloxi (27-4) - The Indians have been a regular at the Big House under Seber Windham, highlighted by their Class 5A state title in 2009. There may not be a player with Isaiah Canaan's gifts on this season's team, but Biloxi figures to back in the hunt for another trip to Jackson. Curtis Haynes is a solid all-around guard and likely the team's best shooter, while Cory Jackson is a key rebounder and defender. Seniors Victor Vertison and Marcus Lawton and promising sophomore Tavonn Tyson round out the starting five. 2010-11 Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen List Tyler Adams Brandon, Center, 6-9, Senior Wide-shouldered 255-pound big man has been an impact player for the Bulldogs since being promoted to the varsity as an eighth grader ... Excellent defensive rebounder who has steadily improved his athletic ability ... Averaged 16.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots as a second-team All-Metro pick in 2009-10 ... Keyed Brandon (26-6) to the South 6A semifinals and a No. 8 ranking in the Super 10 ... Second-team All-State pick as a sophomore ... Scored a career-high 38 points against Murrah as a sophomore ... Ranked as the nations No. 38 senior by HoopScoop, No. 54 by Rivals.com and No. 83 by Scout.com. College Choice: Georgetown Mychal Ammons Vicksburg, Forward, 6-6, Senior Sharpshooter is one the state’s most dangerous players from beyond the 3-point arc ... Deceptive athlete with underrated ability to explode to the rim and dunk in traffic ... Potentially dominant rebounder on the high school level ... Averaged 19.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots for the 2009-10 season ... Helped Gators (26-4) to the North 6A semifinals and No. 7 ranking in the Super 10 and No. 5 in 6A ... Scored a career-high 34 points against Brandon last season ...Tallied team-high 20 points and was named co-Defensive MVP at the Mississippi High School All-Star game in July ... Ranked as the nation’s 107th-best senior by HoopScoop. College choice: South Alabama David Gardner Okolona, Forward, 6-7, Senior Small-school standout saw his stock with recruiters climb significantly after an impressive showing on the traveling team circuit last summer ... Deep shooting range combined with his length provide a good indication why several college coaches were intrigued with his upside ... State’s most highly regarded prospect from Class 1A since Jenirro Bush starred for East Oktibbeha four seasons ago ... Averaged 24.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals in 2009-10 as Chieftains (25-6) reached the North 1A semifinals and finished No. 5 in the 1A rankings ... Shined against big-school talent with 16-point effort for the North in the Mississippi High School All-Star game. College choice: Mississippi State Daniel Grieves St. Stanislaus, Forward, 6-6, Senior Versatile player returns to St. Stanislaus after playing for his father, Danny, last season at St. Patrick ... Capable of making an impact as an outside shooter, ballhandler, passer and rebounder ... Averaged 28.9 points (including a career-high 48 against Collins), 14.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 5.2 steals as the Fighting Irish (16-9) reached the first round of the South 3A playoffs in 2009-10 ... Averaged 22 points and 7 rebounds and shot 60 percent from the floor as a sophomore as St. Stanislaus went 30-5 and reached the Class 4A semifinals at Mississippi Coliseum ... Cracked the starting lineup for the Rock-a-chaws in eighth grade. College choice: Air Force Rodney Hood Meridian, Forward, 6-8, Senior An outstanding summer on the traveling team circuit elevated Hood’s stature to where he’s considered the state’s top college prospect by several recruiting analysts ... Fine ballhandler and passer with a feathery shooting touch from 10 feet to beyond the 3-point line ... Averaged 22.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 2009-10 as the Wildcats (26-7) finished as the Class 6A runner-up and No. 2 in the Super 10 rankings ... Poured in 34 points in the Mississippi High School All-Star Game to break a scoring record that dated back to 1960 ... Ranked as the nation’s No. 21 senior by Rivals.com. No. 23 by HoopScoop, No. 30 by ESPN and No. 49 by Scout.com. College choice: Mississippi State Aaron Jones Gautier, Forward, 6-8, Senior Unheralded prospect whose stock took off after a breakout showing at a Baton Rouge camp in July ... Florida, Baylor, UTEP and Louisiana Tech were among the schools who begin to take a serious look ... Blessed with excellent quickness for his size ... Versatile enough that he’ll step in at times and handle point guard responsibilities as a senior ... Good face-up scorer who could find time at either forward spot when he gets to the next level ... Averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocked shots last season as the Gators (17-11) made it to the first round of the South 5A playoffs ... Scored a career-high 33 against Vancleave last season. College choice: Ole Miss LeAntwan Luckett Ridgeland, Guard, 6-4, Senior Tremendous run/jump athlete who rates among the state’s most explosive performers ... Excels at getting to the rim but also can knock down the open 3-pointer ... Capable ballhandler with the ability to be a lockdown defender on the perimeter ... Averaged 14.2 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists as the often deliberate Titans finished 23-9 and advanced to the North 5A semifinals ... Third-team All-Metro pick ... Scored a career-high 27 against Provine in the playoffs last season ... Key contributor on back-to-back Class 4A state tournament teams as a freshman and sophomore ... Rated as the nation’s 77th-best senior by Rivals.com ... Jacksonville State and Missouri State showing interest. College choice: undecided Johnny O'Bryant East Side, Center, 6-10, Senior If not Meridian's Rodney Hood, it's O’Bryant who gets the nod from recruiting analysts as the state’s top prospect from the Class of 2011 ... Helped U.S. go undefeated en route to the gold medal in the FIBA U-17 World Championships in July at Germany ... Scouts love his upside ... Has flashed the ability to be a dominant rebounder, shot blocker and finisher at the rim ... Can also make plays away from the basket ... Averaged 15.0 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior despite being hobbled by an early-season knee injury ... Scored a career-high 33 against Cleveland ... Ranked as the nation’s No. 13 senior by ESPN, No. 23 by Scout.com, No. 36 by HoopScoop and No. 38 by Rivals.com. College choice: LSU Devonta Pollard Kemper County, Forward, 6-8, Junior Slender wing is generally regarded as the state's top prospect in the Class of 2012 ... High riser who gets off the floor in a hurry ... Shows tremendous instincts as a passer and shot blocker ... Lanky build, unselfish attitude, all-around skills and quiet demeanor bring to mind another former prep standout from east Mississippi in Derrick McKey of Meridian, who played 15 years in the NBA ... Pollard averaged about 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks as a sophomore as the Wildcats went 28-5 and finished as the Class 3A runner-up ... Scored a career-high 31 against Heidelberg last season ... Ranked as the nation’s No. 29 junior by Rivals.com and No. 51 by both Scout.com and HoopScoop. College choices: Alabama, Mississippi State, LSU, Georgetown Marquavius Smith Callaway, Guard, 5-11, Senior Reigning Metro Player of the Year and first-team All-State pick returns after leading the Chargers to Class 5A state title ... Money player in the clutch who hit arguably the biggest shot in school history with his buzzer-beater in the lane to beat Provine in the 5A final ... Streaky shooter and dynamic athlete whose fearless style is similar to former Murrah great and ex-NBA guard James Robinson ... Averaged 22.4 points, 4.0 steals and 3.5 assists while transitioning from 2-guard to the point ... Scored a career-high 48 against New Hope in North 5A final ... Second-team All-State as a sophomore ... Ranked as nation’s No. 26 senior by HoopScoop, No. 40 by ESPN and No. 63 by Rivals. College choice: Mississippi State Jarvis Summers Provine, Guard, 6-3, Senior Gritty competitor who could be in for a breakout season as the Rams pursue their sixth consecutive appearance in a state championship game ... Steady ballhandler and unselfish player who's also a willing defender from the point guard slot ... Averaged 11.2 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds on a typically well-balanced Provine team that went 23-8, took second in Class 5A and ended No. 6 in the Super 10 rankings ... Third-team All-Metro pick ... Scored a career-high 30 in a North 5A victory over Ridgeland that clinched Provine’s spot in the Boys State Tournament ... Moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore and helped the Rams to a 27-7 record and a runner-up finish in 5A. College choices: Ole Miss or Oklahoma State LaDarius White McComb, Guard, 6-4, Senior Multi-talented player ranks among state's most dynamic talents when he's on top of his game ... Effortless shooter, passer and ballhandler still looking to maintain consistency ... Averaged about 23 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists as the Tigers (26-6) advanced to the Class 5A semifinals and finished No. 5 in the 5A rankings ... Scored a career-high 43 points against Mendenhall ... Averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in the 2008-09 season ... Considered the best prospect out of McComb since Jackie Butler, who was the state's Mr. Basketball in 2002 and spent three seasons in the NBA with the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs. College choice: Ole Miss November 1, 2010 Adams Makes Big East Pick by: Evan Daniels Scout.com Recruiting Analyst It's been an up and down couple of weeks for Tyler Adams. He thought he was headed to Duke. They parted ways and now he's headed to the Big East. Just a few weeks after partying ways with Duke, Tyler Adams has settled on his college choice. Late Sunday evening the 6-foot-9, 255-pound center gave John Thompson III and Georgetown a verbal pledge. Adams confirmed the news early Monday morning. "I just feel like Georgetown is the best fit for me," Adams told Scout.com. "They are a big man school. They develop their bigs and a lot of their bigs make it to the NBA. Georgetown also runs their offense through their bigs and I liked that." During summer ball Adams ran with the Jackson Tigers, playing alongside Johnny O'Bryant, Mychal Ammons and others. Known for his aggressiveness inside, Adams will add some size and rebounding to the Hoyas frontline. While on their campus for a visit two weeks ago, Adams spent time with their coaching staff and players. He also took in a practice and he appreciated the intensity of it. "I watched them practice and I liked how [Coach Thompson] worked his guys hard," Adams said. Adams also considered Mississippi State, but he thought his best opportunity of getting better would come at Georgetown. "If staying home was the best fit for me I would have did that," Adams said. "But I felt like I have better opportunities going to Georgetown to make it to the next level and to get where I want." Adams, a four-star prospect, joins the No. 3 center Mikael Hopkins and three-star shooting guard Jabril Trawick to make up Georgetown's recruiting class. October 29, 2010 David Gardner trims all but the Bulldogs by: Eric Bossi Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Mississippi State is putting together one heck of a recruiting class. As an added bonus, they are doing with in-state kids. Friday afternoon, the Bulldogs landed their third in-state member of the Rivals150 when D.J. Gardner pulled the trigger during a press conference at his school. A sharp-shooting 6-foot-6 wing from Okolona (Miss.) High, Gardner said during the press conference that his family's ability to watch him play during college played a key role. "I chose Mississippi State because it was close enough so that my family can come see me play," Gardner said during the presser. Gardner will join five-star wing Rodney Hood and four-star point guard Deville Smith at Mississippi State and said during the press conference that locals staying home played a big role in his decision. In particular, Hood's choice to attend Mississippi State was huge. "When I saw Rodney Hood go to Mississippi State with all of the big schools that he had," said Gardner. "I just decided to stay in Mississippi and play with Rodney." October 27, 2010 Rodney Hood Commits to Mississippi State by: Brad Locke Inside Mississippi State Sports Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury picked up a huge commitment today. Rodney Hood, the top prospect in Mississippi and one of the most sought-after in the country, verbally committed to the Bulldogs today. Hood, a 6-foot-7, 180-pound small forward/shooting guard from Meridian, made the announcement at a noon press conference. Several scouting services were on hand, the first word I heard about it coming from BulldawgJunction.com. Hood, who plays for the MBA Hoops AAU squad, is the No. 21-ranked player in the country by Rivals.com, which gives him five stars, and the seventh-rated small forward. Scout.com gives him four stars and says he’s the 13th-best player at his position. According to various scouting services, Hood holds scholarship offers from Alabama, Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Marquette, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Ole Miss and Wake Forest. Interestingly, Scout has MSU listed as “low interest” for Hood. Hood can’t sign with MSU before Nov. 10, the start of the fall signing period. He’s the second member of State’s 2011 class, joining point guard Deville Smith of Callaway High School in Jackson. Smith (5-11, 165) committed in the spring. October 20, 2010 South Alabama Snags Mychal Ammons by: Evan Daniels ScoutHoops.com South Alabama scored a major recruit. Mychal Ammons, a three-star prospect out of Vicksburg (Miss.) High, gave the USA staff a verbal pledge Wednesday evening. "A lot of people may look at me and be like USA out of the big schools you could have went to and I will tell them it's not all about the big schools," Ammons said. "It's about being comfortable and putting good people around you and it's about playing and making an impact and getting your degree." Ammons is rated the No. 26 small forward in the 2011 rankings. October 19, 2010 Pollard Checked Out Hilltop by: Ron Bailey HoyaReport.com Georgetown's 2010 Midnight Madness celebration brought a cavalcade of high school student athletes to the school's McDonough Arena. These young players - most highly recruited and/or valued by colleges - eventually all have to choose a future post-high school home. Class of 2012 forward Devonta Pollard, who traveled from Mississippi for the event, was one such guy. Pollard, a junior that indicted he's around 6'7" and weighs in the neighborhood of 185 pounds, shared on Friday he's currently getting recruiting love from "a lot of SEC teams, a lot of ACC teams" though "right now I'm just open". Of G'Town he admires several things: "I like their style of play and most of all I like the teaching part in the school...You always have to have something to fall back on". Apparently Pollard is grounded, understanding the long shot odds to make a career out of playing basketball, particularly in the National Basketball Association. As a reported run and jump style athlete, he also displays a level headed focus regarding improvement, noting the need for a "more consistent jumpshot and getting stronger". Defensively Devonta believes himself solid, though he indicated "It never hurts" to improve in that area. Pollard's college decision is not imminent, as he's continuing to gather information. One thing's for sure; he has a better understanding of the Georgetown hoops program. October 14, 2010 Johnny O'Bryant Picks LSU by: Evan Daniels Scout.com Johnny O'Bryant, a top 25 prospect, had schools from coast-to-coast trailing his every move this past summer. But shortly after the evaluation period the 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward narrowed his list of schools and embarked on official visits to Mississippi, Maryland and LSU. Then late last week O’Bryant came up with a decision. However he didn’t make his commitment official until Thursday. O’Bryant, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound versatile power forward, told Scout.com he’s headed to play for Trent Johnson and the LSU Tigers. “Just the opportunity to be able to come in and play from the jump and make a big impact on the program [was a big factor],” O’Bryant said. “They’ve also had a lot of power forward go to the league so I liked that too.” Over the course of the recruiting process, O’Bryant, a five-star prospect, built a strong relationship with Johnson. “He’s cool,” O’Bryant said of Johnson. “He’s a funny guy to be around and he keeps you laughing. He made me feel really comfortable around him.” “Coach [Brent] Scott and I spent a lot of time talking about things,” the 2011 prospect added. “He’s on the phone a lot and he and I talk a lot.” According to O’Bryant his trip to Baton Rouge (La.) factored into his decision as well. The Tigers were the first of his three official visits. “When I went down for a visit it felt like home,” O’Bryant said. “I felt very comfortable. My mother and I talked and we just did what was best for us.” Known for his versatility and ability to play in the post and on the perimeter, O’Bryant is hoping to be used as a face up four-man. “As a four man, but as a four man they want me to step out and make a jump shot and I can take guys off the dribble from the high post and just create,” O’Bryant said. O’Bryant is LSU’s second verbal commitment in the 2011 class. He joins Leesville (La.) Pickering standout John Isaac to make up their current group. October 11, 2010 Hood has great UofL visit; Decision looming? by: Mike Hughes InsideTheVille.com Rodney Hood told InsideTheVille.com Sunday afternoon that he had a great visit to Louisville this weekend. Three schools have emerged atop Hood's list, and the 6-8 forward from Meridian, Miss., says he could announce his college decision in a 'few' days. Rodney Hood, one of Scout.com's Top 50 2011 prospects, had a great time on his official visit to Louisville this weekend. Hood, who had a tentative visit scheduled to Georgetown next week, told InsideTheVille.com Sunday that Florida State, Marquette and Louisville have emerged as his leaders and he could make a college decision in the next few days. “I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I'm going to try to have a decision in the next three or four days because I'm done with all my visits,” Hood said. “I'm going to give this visit two days to calm down because I don't want to go off of emotion, but I'm going to sit down and talk with my family and I should have a decision by the end of the week. I want to sit down and make a good decision for me, but right now I don't have a clear decision.” Hood arrived in Louisville Thursday night with his father, and his brother and sister drove up from Chattanooga, Tenn., this weekend to join their younger sibling on his official visit to Louisville. “They've got a real good shot,” Hood said when asked about Louisville's chances to land his services. “I've just got to think about it. I don't want to rush it, but I've got to make the best decision because it's going to...be the one I live with for the next four years.” Hood's official visit began Friday morning. While he was in town, Hood checked out Louisville's practice and living facilities, attended the Cardinals football contest against Memphis, and got to know Rick Pitino and the UofL players. “It went real good,” Hood said. “I got to see a lot of stuff and it was a great environment. I went to the football game and it was almost like we were at a basketball game...they are basketball crazy. I was surprised that the fans knew my name and stuff about me. You don't get that everywhere else. And I got to spend some time with Coach Pitino.” Spending time with Pitino was a key part of Hood's visit. “I really wanted to sit down and talk to him because it's not every day you get to talk to a hall of fame coach,” Hood said. “After talking to him, [I realized] he's a down to earth guy. He cares about what you do on the court and off the court he likes to clown and have fun just like everybody else.” Did Hood have some unanswered questions for Pitino? “I just wanted to get up there and see the campus,” Hood said. “Basketball-wise all the questions had been answered. I didn't just want to say I'm going to Louisville. I wanted to get up there and see where I'd be living and meet some of the people with the basketball program.” Hood came into his visit to Louisville to determine whether or not he'd be comfortable with Pitino and Louisville's players. There was an obvious comfort-level with Chane Behanan and Zach Price, two Louisville commits that were also in town who knew Hood from the AAU circuit. Hood said he also enjoyed hanging out with UofL's current players and coaches. “I felt a great comfort-level [there],” Hood said. “Me and Chane have known each other since last summer and we're pretty good friends. And me and Zach played together at LeBron. And the [players] were great, they had fun and they're down to earth guys even though they're on the big stage at Louisville. The coaching staff was great. I watched them practice and on the court they are serious and take care of business, but off the court they're friendly.” Hood also toured the KFC Yum Center and was blown away with what he saw inside Louisville's new 22,000 seat arena. “It's the best arena I ever saw,” Hood said. “I was kind of shocked. Coach Pitino told me when he came down to Meridian that I was going to be shocked, and I was like, 'nah, I'm going to be ready for it.' But when I saw it I was in awe. I've never seen anything close to that.” It's obvious Hood enjoyed his visit to Louisville. The big question: Did the visit do enough to move the Cardinals past Florida State and Marquette on his list? “Louisville has always been up top on my list,” Hood said. “They haven't been there for two years [recruiting] but I'm making a basketball decision. It helped [Louisville] a lot. I got to get acquainted with the players and basketball-wise I felt real comfortable. But I had to see everything else because I want to enjoy my college experience.” Now, Hood will sit back, let the Louisville visit subside, then sit down with his family to make a decision. FSU was the leader coming into this weekend's visit. We'll soon find out whether Hood's visit to Louisville convinced him to play for the Cardinals next season. “I want to go somewhere the coaches are going to push me to get better as a player and person,” Hood said. “I also want to go somewhere we're going to win. That's a big thing for me. I love to win and I hate to lose. And a place I'm going to have a chance to go pro. Eventually, that's what I want to do, but most importantly I want to win and enjoy college.” October 7, 2010 O'Bryant off Board by: Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Four-star prospect Johnny O'Bryant had a number of college options, and the physical 6-foot-9, 235-pounder will play in the SEC. O'Bryant, who is from Cleveland (Miss.) East Side High School, is leaving Mississippi to play his college basketball at LSU according to sources close to his recruitment. Besides Ole Miss and Mississippi State, O'Bryant also considered Alabama, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Miami. O'Bryant is the No. 38 ranked prospect in the Rivals150. September 30, 2010 Four-star O'Bryant Set for Final Official Visit by: Neal McCready RebelGrove.com Johnny O'Bryant doesn't have a firm date set to announce his college decision. However, the four-star power forward from Cleveland (East Side), Miss., said Thursday it will be "soon." How soon? O'Bryant, a 6-foot-9 standout who spent his summer playing overseas for the U.S. U17 national team, said his visit to Ole Miss this weekend will be his last. O'Bryant, ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 8 power forward and No. 38 overall prospect, said he wants to see the campus lifestyle in Oxford as well as some of the current Rebels' workouts. "Since I've been there, I just want to go have fun and listen to what they have to say," said O'Bryant, who will arrive in Oxford late Thursday and stay until sometime Saturday. "Me and (Ole Miss assistant) Coach Owen (Miller) and Coach (Andy) Kennedy have a great relationship. With them being from Mississippi and both being southern guys, it's a great relationship." "They're in good standing with him," East Side High School coach Leroy Cotton said earlier Thursday. "He's just looking to get around the players and interact with them a little bit. We've been over there so many times. We've pretty much seen what they have. He'll just get a chance to mingle with the coaches and players a little bit more during his visit." O'Bryant has already taken official visits to LSU and Maryland, Mississippi State and Miami are in the picture for O'Bryant, but more and more, the race for O'Bryant's signature appears to be a battle between the Rebels and Tigers. Both schools have advantages. Two of O'Bryant's former AAU teammates, Jalen Courtney and Andre Stringer, are on the LSU roster, and O'Bryant and Courtney are good friends. "With him and Andre being there, that's a plus and a positive for LSU," O'Bryant said. "I'll just try to do what's best for me." "He definitely likes LSU and is considering LSU," Cotton said. "Those guys (Stringer and Courtney) are guys he played with for years. They are down there, but that won't be an overwhelming factor when he makes his decision." O'Bryant is also friends with fellow Mississippians Dundrecous Nelson and DeMarco Cox, both of whom are set to begin their Ole Miss careers this fall, and current Rebel commitment Ladarius White. "It's going to be very difficult," O'Bryant said. "The schools I'm down to are great choices. I'm just going to try to take my time and make the right choice." Whatever choice he makes, Cotton said, the program adding O'Bryant to its roster is getting a winner. "They're going to get a high-energy guy who's going to work hard to become the best player he possibly can," Cotton said. "He's unselfish. He's going to contribute on the offensive and defensive end, and they're going to get a player who hasn't tapped into his full potential yet. He's going to be a better player for whatever college he goes to than he is for me. "He's going to be an instant-impact guy. He's played against high-level competition with the USA team and done very, very well. I expect that to continue as he progresses to his first year of college." The two years of international experience (O'Bryant also played on the U.S. U16 team in 2009) gave O'Bryant confidence and a constant barometer, Cotton said. "I think it helped his game quite a bit because he got a chance to see different styles of play and play against some very, very experienced and good players," Cotton said. "That has given him a chance to see where he needs to elevate his game to be the player he can be." None of the travels or the competition prepared him O'Bryant for the decision that looms, however. That fact has begun to dawn on his young star, Cotton said. "It's going to be pretty hard. Very hard," Cotton said. "We talked a little bit last night and some this morning. It's going to be a very tough decision for him. He's very careful about trying to make the right decision for him and his future." September 30, 2010 Four-star Gardner taking MSU Official Visit by: Logan Lowery BulldogBlitz.com D.J. Gardner's recruitment is heating up and winding down all at the same time. The four-star shooting guard has narrowed his list down to four schools and is in the process of taking his official visits to each of them this fall. Gardner's final four in no particular order include Auburn, Memphis, Mississippi State and UTEP. "The only school I've visited right now is Auburn," Gardner said. "Auburn showed me a good time down there. It was fun. I liked the atmosphere of their football game and the arena down there is amazing. Mostly I ate though. I just ate and walked around." The 6-foot-6, 195-pounder from Okolona, Miss., visited the plains last weekend and will make the short trip to Mississippi State this weekend. Gardner has visited the Starkville campus several times for football games and wants to see more of their basketball facilities on this trip. "I'm expecting more than Auburn to make me come," Gardner said. "They've got to do something better than what Auburn did." Gardner will wrap up his official visits with a trip to UTEP on Oct. 8 and trek to Memphis on Oct. 15. Of his offer list, Mississippi State and Ole Miss are the closest to home but Garnder mentioned that distance does not really matter to him. He is still uncertain when he would make his final decision or if he would be an early signee. Gardner has been preparing for his senior season for the Chieftains even while most of the country has their attention drawn to the gridiron. "Every Friday when the football game is going on I go to a little court behind our school by myself," Gardner said. "I go back there and shoot around by myself. I go back there and do a couple of drills and shoot by myself." Last season Gardner averaged 24.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.4 steals and one block per game. He made 48-percent of his shots from the floor and drained 38-percent behind the arc as well as 77-percent from the charity stripe. Okalona finished the 2009-10 season with a 25-6 record and made it to the Class 1A North State Semifinals before being put out 67-61 by Ingomar. Gardner scored 40 points and six rebounds in that final contest. "We've got a pretty good squad coming back," Gardner said. "We lost three seniors last year and I think we can make it down to the Big House (in Jackson) this time. This is my last year and probably my coach's last year. My teammates want to go out and get a ring too." Gardner is rated the No. 60 recruit in the country for 2011. September 28, 2010 Adams Remaining Busy This Fall by: Logan Lowery BulldogBlitz.com Four-star center and Duke commitment Tyler Adams has tried his best to keep busy this fall. With the summer schedule over with the 6-foot-8, 260-pounder from Brandon, Miss., has been preparing himself on and off the court for his senior campaign. "I've just been working out and trying to stay in shape," Adams said. "I'm just trying to get ready for our season. I'm working on my grades in the classroom and that's about all, just working hard." Adams did take a little time out of his busy schedule this weekend to enjoy one of his passions other than basketball. He made the trip up to Starkville to watch Mississippi State take on Georgia on the gridiron along with two of the other top hoops prospects in the Magnolia State. "It was a pretty good game," Adams said. "I like football and that's why I came up there. I was just up there hanging out with Deville Smith and Rodney Hood. We went up there for Bulldog Bash on Friday night and then just stayed for the football game." But don't let Adams' trip fool you. He fully intends to sign with the Blue Devils during the early signing period as planned. "Everything is still going good with Duke and I am still committed to them," Adams said. "They told me if I come in and work hard like I'm supposed to then I will be playing some minutes my freshman year. That's always good to go to a big school and be able to play minutes like that." Adams averaged 18 points and 16 rebounds as a junior last season at Brandon helping his team reach the third round of the Class 6A Playoffs with a 24-7 record. He is hoping for another strong year that includes a state championship as well as the coveted Mr. Basketball title for the state of Mississippi. "I think we are going to be pretty good," Adams said. "I think we are going to be good at the four and five spot and the wings. I think we are going to have another pretty good year or we should." The Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen member is considered the nation's No. 5 center the 54th best prospect overall for 2011. September 24, 2010 Hood sets Louisville visit by: Mike Hughes InsideTheVille.com Louisville still has work to do to secure a commitment from Rodney Hood, but Rick Pitino has convinced the Top 50 2011 prospect to make an official visit to the Cardinals campus next month. Hood, a versatile 6-foot-8 forward who possesses guard-like skills, will visit Louisville Oct. 8-9. Hood, who has already made official visits to Alabama and Florida State, was scheduled to visit Georgia Tech this weekend, but has canceled the trip and eliminated the Yellowjackets from consideration, according to his father, Ricky Hood. Hood also is scheduled to visit Georgetown October 15-16. “It all boiled down to what Rodney wanted to do,” Ricky Hood said of the decision to visit Louisville. “Once Louisville got involved, he said 'Dad, I have some interest and I want to see more.' He has some interest in getting to know the program and seeing if it's something he's interested in.” Rick Pitino and assistants Tim Fuller and Steve Masiello recently made an in-home visit with Hood. During the visit, Pitino pulled out the power-point, made his sales pitch and showed why Louisville would be a good fit for Hood. “The in-home visit went great. Rodney thought it went great, my wife thought it went great, I thought it went great.. we thought it went great,” said Hood. “I graduated from Murray State so I'm very familiar with Louisville and played in Freedom Hall. So I know the history. But I'm not being recruited. “It was important for Rodney to get a good feel for the university and they did a great job...[Pitino], Coach Fuller, and Coach Masiello did a great job showing him with the power-point and letting him see some of the things he needed to see. Basically, he showed Rodney his vision for him if he comes to Louisville. With Rodney being a perimeter player, [Pitino] said he was going to play him at all three perimeter spots, but primarily at the two.” Louisville got involved late in the recruiting process with Hood. Though Pitino's program didn't become serious with Hood until July, unlike Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State, and Marquette – schools that are also under consideration - that won't necessarily prevent the Cardinals from landing a commitment. “He's has the traditional schools that have been with him the two, two and half years and they built a tremendous relationship with Rodney,” Hood said. “That was important in the beginning, and it still is, but right now we're trying to find the right fit. The right fit is not because the coach is a good guy. We want to make sure of the coaches philosophy, and [that] his style of coaching fits Rodney's abilities and maximizes his opportunities.” While Louisville still has a chance to land a commitment from Hood, it's clear they'll have to overcome a few frontrunners in this recruitment. “Florida State [stands out] more so than anybody else, and Alabama, Marquette and Mississippi State are right there,” Hood said. “Louisville and [Georgetown] still have a little work to do. He needs to visit those schools. It's easy to fall in love with schools like Louisville and Georgetown because of the high-caliber of ball that they play. But I've told him to just focus on basketball, because all of them are going to have nice gyms, weight rooms, educational programs...the most important thing we need to focus on is the basketball and the head coach – his philosophy and how he deals with his players.” Hood is nearing the end of his recruiting process. He's going to make a couple more visits next month, but expects to sign during the early period, which begins in November. “We're getting pretty close to a commitment,” Hood added. “We're not going to Georgia Tech becuase it's not a fit right now. He really enjoyed his visit to Alabama and Florida State. They've been his top schools for the last year or so. “Alabama, Florida State and Marquette showed him everything he could ever want in a school. Georgetown is unique in the system they run and the history they have. Louisville is unique because they have one of the best coaches. All the coaches are good, but Coach Pitino brings something a little different in scheduling and facilities. Those things come into play when you talk about Louisville because its on a higher level.” Another thing that interested Hood is Pitino's coaching tree. Hood, who wants to go into coaching one day, is well aware that Pitino has produced coaches like Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith, and John Pelphrey. “It caught his attention,” Hood said. “Rodney was impressed with that. Coach Pitino brings something unique in that his guys are coaching at all different levels and that has somewhat of an impact. It got his attention when Coach Pitino got involved [in the recruiting process].” What factors will influence Hood when it's time to sit down to make his decision? “The basketball is what's going to lock Rodney in,” Hood said. “Then it's the team itself. It's important that he's on a team that has the same mindset and wants to win games. The team atmosphere is real important.” September 10, 2010 Reasons To Like Rodney by: ScoutHoops.com Sure, Rodney Hood is a talented basketball player. There's a reason why a litany of head coaches are lining up on the first day of the period to see him. Louisville's Rick Pitino was first on the scene, conducting a morning home visit. There are plenty of ways to measure your talent and ability. One can sample the rankings and see where they stand up. He can count his championships and scholarship offers or he can simply looked around and judge by the crowd he draws. On Thursday, 6-foot-7 Meridian (Miss.) High wing Rodney Hood is set to have a big time crowd. Expected in the gym are On Thursday, 6-foot-7 Meridian (Miss.) High wing Rodney Hood is set to have a big time crowd. Expected in the gym are Rick Pitino, Rick Stansbury, John Thompson and Leonard Hamilton. That, folks, is showing the love. Pitino, like UCLA’s Ben Howland, decided to invest time in Hood despite being late to the party. Hood’s main schools – Alabama, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Marquette – have been on him a long time. UCLA, Ohio State and Louisville just want a chance to sit at the table and snatch one of his two remaining official visits. Why is Hood so pivotal? Aside from his size, athletic ability and hoops IQ, he’s a guy who wants to be a coach and understands the value of college basketball from a team perspective. “He’s a glue guy, he plays whatever position he needs to play,” Ricky Hood, Rodney’s father told Scout.com. “That’s the true sign of a team player. He’s willing to do whatever it takes for the team to win. I’m a firm believer that you play for the team on the front of the jersey not the back.” Hood visited Mississippi State unofficially last weekend. He’s been to Marquette a few times. This coming weekend, Alabama hosts him on his initial official visit. Florida State is Sept. 18 and Georgia Tech the following weekend. Simple math tells us Hood has two official visits remaining. Mississippi State may not need one. Georgetown, Louisville and UCLA must have one to land him. “We’re holding onto the last two official visits to see how things transpire. He’s going to be an early signee and our goal is for him to sign in November.” Expect Hood to give a nod and wink to the schools that have been on him the longest and the ones he knows best. Four of them, including Marquette which he’s seem twice, have the inside edge. “Florida State, Alabama and Georgia Tech over the last two years have been schools that he really likes. What’s happened is that as his game expanded he wanted to take a look and see where the right fit is.” Ricky Hood played in college. So did his wife and they have an athletic family. This is not the Hood’s first rodeo but it is the one and only time Rodney gets to navigate the process. “I’m hoping somebody just blows him away but we don’t want to rush the process because the relationships are so important. We don’t want to prolong the process but Rodney gets a chance to do this once. You want to make sure you take your time and choose the right school. I think that’s why he’s been open to listening to a few of the schools that come on late. “Ultimately, he’s got to go to school. The best thing to do as parents is to get the information, put it in front of him and make sure he’s looking at the right things. It has to be the right fit for him.” Rodney Hood and his family “get it.” While the recruiting process ultimately is about him, the college experience is designed for most players to grow as people, get better and win. You get the sense that important to the Hood’s and their son. Rodney Hood is a great looking prospect. He’s ranked No. 49 in Scout.com’s rankings but at day’s end, if playing pro ball doesn’t work out, a place is already in place for his future. “The key part is Rodney wants to be a coach. He wants to coach and that’s ultimately what he wants to do.” Ultimately, if that’s what he wants to do, he will. September 9, 2010 Xavian Rimmer Chooses Tennessee-Chattanooga by: Lavel Johnson After taking his official visit over the weekend Xavian Rimmer, from Jackson, MS and The Piney Woods School cast his lot with the Moccasins of Tennessee-Chattanooga during an in home visit with Head Coach John Shulman on Thursday evening. Since the end of the summer evaluation period Coach Shulman has made the 6’2 guard a priority and the fact that he was in Jackson, MS on the first day that coaches could be out closed the deal. After playing his first two years in high school at Jackson Murrah, Rimmer moved to Piney Woods last year and had a breakout season, averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assist per game, making the Clarion Ledger’s All Metro Team and playing a big role in the South’s victory in the Junior All-star game this past summer. While Rimmer plays mostly the two for Piney Woods, Chattanooga plans to play him full time at the point where he can fully utilize his ability to break down the defense off the dribble, getting into the paint to draw and finish through contact while also hurting opponents with his outstanding long range jumper. Xavian chose Tennessee-Chattanooga over interest from Murray State, Middle Tennessee, Missouri State, Wichita State, LA-Monroe and Texas-San Antonio. August 29, 2010 Duke commit Adams Denies Rumors by: John Watson Brandon (Miss.) High School forward Tyler Adams said the rumors about him wavering in his commitment to Duke were “crazy” and “not true.” “I don’t know what’s been going on,” said Adams, a rising senior who committed to the reigning national champions in late-April. “I’m solid to Duke.” A Mississippi State fan site posted an article recently saying that the Bulldogs were still recruiting Adams, along with Georgetown. The article also quoted Adams as saying, “Mississippi State is still in the mix and still an option.” Adams said he “never said that.” “That’s just not true,” he said. “My friend told me about the article. I didn’t even know about it. The guy from that site called me and asked me a bunch of questions and I talked to him, but I didn’t say I was still looking at Mississippi State or anything like that. I could sort of tell that he was just trying to start stuff. I did tell him that those schools were still recruiting me.” When told that, though it happens, continuing to recruit a player who is already committed is frowned upon, Adams replied, “Yeah, well, I don’t know all the rules with this stuff … But it doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m going to Duke. That’s 100 percent. I’ll be at Duke next year.” August 21, 2010 Howard shines at Birmingham Future 150 Camp by: Rivals.com recruiting staff The Future 150 Camp began its 2nd year on tour and the first stop in the series was Birmingham on August 14 and 15. A lot of young talent was on display headlined by the number 15 player in the country Tymond Howard out of Pearl, MS. The top 20 All-Star game was extremely competitive with new young faces proving they can play. Here are the top performers from the camp: Tymond Howard-(2012-MBA Hoops) the 6-foot 6 inch SG showed good range on his jumper to go along with his solid frame. He finished well with contact and played with a high motor. Howard was one of the few high major prospects in the camp and showed that characteristic throughout. Howard has offers from Tennessee, Mississippi State and Baylor among others. James Sinclair-(2011-South GA Kings) 6-foot-3 inch WG scored in a variety of ways throughout the camp. He showed long range abilities, a solid mid-range game and the ability to finish at the rim. The long, athletic wing should be a hot target this fall from mid-major programs throughout the Southeast. Jacorey Williams-(2012-Birmingham Storm) the 6-foot-7 inch SF is a long rangy prospect showed improved ball handling skills. He has increased his range to the three point line. Williams proved he has gotten quicker on the defense and showed the ability to attack the rim off the dribble. He has received offers from East Carolina and Jacksonville while receiving a ton of interest from Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and Georgia among others. Devin McNeil-(2011-Team Alabama) the 6-foot PG has added 10 pounds of muscle to go along with his increase in quickness and athleticism. He was definitely one of the most consistent players at the camp. He can knock down the three point shot with regularity and finish as the rim with contact. McNeil currently has offers from Samford, Nebraska, High Point, and South Alabama and receiving interest from Auburn, Western Kentucky, Minnesota and Middle Tenn State. Louis Dabney-(2012-Louisiana Select) the 6-foot-3 inch SG showed the ability to score in bunches and from all 3 levels on the court. He possesses a great frame and showed great strength when finishing at the rim. He rebounded the ball well from the guard position. Dabney showed a strong mid range game. DeOntaye Curtis-(2013-Birmingham Stars) the 6-foot-7 inch combo forward is very skilled. He is blessed with good hands and feet. He sees the floor well in transition and the half court. Curtis rebounds the ball well on both ends of the floor. Curtis is receiving early interest from UAB and Auburn. Malik Ruffin-(2012-Alabama Lightning) the 6-foot-2 inch PG showed good strength when guarding both guard position on the floor. He sees the entire floor as he made some elite full court passes in transition. His mid range game was on display as made shots consistently and continued to show off the floater. Ruffin is good looking prospect. Jobe Dillard-(2013-Arkansas Stars) the 6-foot-3 inch SG proved he could attack the rim on the break and in the half court with the best of them. His overall strength and size for a young player clearly set him apart from the competition. He finished at the rim with his left hand better than his strong hand which was very impressive. Dillard was a tenacious defender and showed the speed to guard his man the full length of the floor. Look for big things from him in the coming years. Robert Watson-(2011-) the 6-foot-3 inch CG was extremely quick and had a high end motor which made it difficult for the man he was guarding. He has a long wings span and was really active rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor. He showed a nice mid range game which he made consistently. Watson is hearing from UTA and Houston. Hunter Leveau-(2012-Tennessee Ice) the 6-foot-5 inch SF is a long rangy player who showed good athleticism in the open floor. He proved he was a deadly three point shooter and shot it with the most consistency than anyone in the camp. DeMarc Richardson-(2012-Memphis Select) the 6-foot-2 inch SG might have been the most athletic player in the camp. His overall strength and quickness clearly showed that he might be top defenders in the 2012 class. He showed he can get to the rim and finish with either hand while taking contact. His improved ball handling allowed him to play both guard positions on the floor. Richardson is hearing from Belmont, Auburn, Florida State, Wake Forest and Memphis. Loren Hall-(2012-Hoop Planet) the 6-foot PG is a well built player who has added ten pounds muscle to his frame since last year's camp. He showed a good burst when attacking the rim of the dribble and proved that he sees the floor when he breaks down defenses. His improved three point shot making to go along with a nice mid range game has him setting up to be a nice mid major prospect. Seab Webster-(2013-Southeast Elite) the 6-foot-6 inch SF is a cerebral player who has great size and the ablility to play multiple position based upon who's guarding him. He showed much improvement in his mid range shot making ability while knocking down the 3 pt shot with regularity. He can also take you in the post where he showed multiple moves around the basket while finishing with contact. Webster is hearing from Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia among others. JJ Frasier-(2013-South Ga. Kings) the 5-foot-7 inch PG showed really good ball handling skills. He has a good tempo to his game and is more of a floor general. Fraiser also made the 3pt shot in bunches. As he gets stronger and quicker look for Fraiser to become more of a dominate scorer. He is definitely a DI prospect. JaQuez Motley-(2011-Atlanta Celtics) the 6-foot-1 inch PG showed good athleticism and improved strength which allowed him to finish with more regularity at the rim. A great first step allows him to create for others while also knocking down the mid range jumper. Motely has great court vision both in transition and as the game slows down. He has a top two of College of Charleston and Georgia. Tyler Gamble-(2011-Gainesville Wildcats) the 6-foot PG showed great court vision in transition and in the half court. He has good quickness which allowed him to create for his teammates. Gamble showed a nice mid range jumper and was able to finish with regularity on the break. Cody Farley-(2012-Birmingham Storm) the 6-foot-7 inch PF proved he can play both inside and out. He shot the ball really well from the three point line. If he adds muscle to his already nice frame he could develop into a nice face up power forward. Farley rebounded the ball on both ends of the floor and handled it well enough to start the break. Carson Brooks-(2012-Tennessee Ice) the 6-foot-5 inch PF was a beast around the basket. His big body allowed him to take contact and still finish at the rim. He handled the ball well for a man his size. His athleticism allowed him to have some of the best dunks in the camp. Jacob Lloyd-(2011-Mid State Ballers) the 6-foot PG showed great quickness and lateral movement when guarding the ball. He was probably the best on ball defender in the camp as he guarded both guard positions. His ability to score on all three levels makes him a solid prospect. Aaron Scott-(2013-South Ga. Kings) the 6-foot-3 inch SG was one of the best overall scorers in the camp. His athleticism and quickness allowed him get by defenders and score from mid range and at the rim. Scott was one of top three point shooters in the camp as well. With added strength, it looks like he can develop into a high major prospect. Calvin Walker-(2012-Tennessee Ice) the 6-foot PG is a hard nose kid who played extremely well both days. He shot the ball well from all three levels. Walker was one of the best on ball defenders in the camp. Justin McCleary-(2013-Arkansas Stars) the 6-foot-2 inch CG is a good looking young prospect who shoots the ball well. He showed he can play both guard positions on the floor. He shot the ball all weekend. One of the best prospects at the camp. McCleary has a chance to develop into a high major prospect. August 19, 2010 Life's Battles Off The Court Prepare Sidney For Play On The Court by: mstateathletics.com Meet Renardo Sidney, a sophomore forward for Mississippi State that has yet to play his first game for the Bulldogs. Recently, he sat down with mstateathletics.com and talked about the trials and tribulations of the past year, as well as the expectations he has for his future wearing the Maroon & White. 1. How would you describe your first year at Mississippi State and adjusting to life as a student-athlete and the demands that are required? Renardo Sidney: "It was very hard adjusting to college life and being away from home. You have to be on time for everything. Juggling class and playing basketball can be very hard until you learn how to manage your time." 2. How tough mentally was it for you having to sit out this past season and wait on the NCAA to make its ruling regarding your eligibility? RS: "It was very tough sitting on the sidelines knowing I could have been helping my team. Playing alongside Jarvis was going to be an honor. I never got to do that, and that was difficult. 3. What kind of support did you get from your teammates and coaches? RS: "A lot of support. They showed me real love. The days I was down, they all came and tried to cheer me up. They did a real good job of comforting me, especially when I learned the NCAA wasn't going to allow me to play." 4. Was there any life experience you learned from this process, and if so, how has it made you a better person? RS: "I think it made me more aware of my surroundings. Then, just being on your own as an adult was difficult, especially me being a momma's boy." 5. When you learned you wouldn't be able to play until the 2010-11 season, what was your first thought? RS: "I was hurt, because I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. It just killed me, because I really wanted to be on the floor helping my team win. Someone else was deciding my fate and it didn't feel fair. It was tough, and I experienced a lot of emotions. It was like a dream, but a bad one." 6. Were you able to get a feel for the atmosphere during games at the Hump, and what were your impressions? RS: "The atmosphere was great. I think we've got the best student section in college basketball. The fans just love basketball. I love basketball, and I love the atmosphere here." 7. Have you envisioned what it will be like to put on a Mississippi State uniform for the first time? RS: "I think I'll be very nervous, but I'll be excited to finally see Mississippi State on my chest. I'll be ready for the battles though and doing what it takes to help us win." 8. What can Bulldog fans expect from you this season? RS: "They can expect a leader, a player that will be exciting on the court and very energetic. They're going to see one of the best that's ever come through Mississippi State." 9. Since you weren't able to play, how did you prepare yourself mentally and physically to not lose an edge on the court? RS: "Coach (Richard) Akins. He's made sure I'm mentally and physically prepared. Trust me on that one." 10. Where do you feel your game is right now compared to where it was a year ago? RS: "I've slimmed down a lot. I'm quicker and faster. My jumping ability is a lot higher. Conditioning wise, it's coming along. I'll be ready in October." 11. What do you feel are your strengths, and what area do you need to improve upon the most? RS: "My strengths are being a leader. My weakness has been conditioning, but that's what I'm working on the most." 12. What's the biggest misconception about Renardo Sidney? RS: "Two things. I'm not a West Coast guy, and I'm quiet." 13. To take your mind away from basketball, what do you do? RS: "I love fishing. Anything with a rod, fishing pole and some bait, I'm out there. I'm the best fisherman on the team, and I hold the team record at Coach Stansbury's place for the most fish caught. By far. 14. Who's been your biggest influence? RS: "Elgin Bailey. I see real toughness in him. He got hurt last year and again four or five months ago, and now he's doing sprints and working so hard to get back to where he was. I look up to him a lot. Seeing the stuff he does and what pain he's endured makes me want to work just as hard. After watching him go through all he has, I'm not about to complain about anything I've experienced." 15. What's it going to take for this team to get to the NCAA Tournament this season? RS: "We've got to have chemistry and play and practice as a family. If we do that, we can go far. And that's why I came here. Because I know we can go farther than any team here ever has. That's how you've got to approach it." August 16, 2010 LaQuinton Ross Pops for Big Ten by: Brian Snow Special to Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting The Ohio State Buckeyes are working overtime to secure commitments in the 2011 class. Rarely does a team from the Big Ten go down to the Deep South to secure a prospect, but they did just that for talented wing LaQuinton Ross. At 6-foot-8 with a long wing span and unique perimeter skills, Ross has been one of the most talked about players in his class for some time. From seemingly the moment he entered high school Ross has been in the spotlight for his game. With that Ross garnered offers from Baylor, Memphis, West Virginia, Mississippi State, NC State, Syracuse and others, but in the end he decided to head north and play for the Ohio State Buckeyes. "It came down to Ohio State, West Virginia, and Baylor," said Ross of his decision. "I got real close with Coach Matta and the whole coaching staff up there," explained Ross. "I like what they did with Evan Turner, and that was a big reason why I committed." The way OSU uses wings like Turner who have length and skill is what put the Buckeyes over the top against Baylor and West Virginia. "Ohio State just has big guards," said Ross. "They have (David) Lighty this year and had Evan Turner last year. I just really liked their style of play." Though for most this commitment came out of nowhere, Ross says that the Buckeyes have been on him a long time. "I talked to Ohio State when I was real young, like when I was in eighth grade when I was at LeBron, and they got back on me about a year and a half ago, so they have been there for a while," said Ross. In fact even though he grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, Ross says he has followed Ohio State for a long time. "When I was young I was an Ohio State football fan, and as I got older I began watching the basketball program," said Ross. "I haven't taken a visit up there yet, but I will once my school year starts." Currently Ross is rated as the No. 60 prospect in the 2011 class, and is the No. 14 small forward. Ross joins four-star point guard Shannon Scott as a commitment for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is looking to add at least one or two more players to fill out their class. August 14, 2010 LaQuinton Ross Breaks His Silence by: Gene Swindoll Special to Scout.com LaQuinton Ross, ranked 15th in the nation by Scout.com, transferred from Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss. to Life Center Academy in Burlington, New Jersey three months ago. Up until now Ross has not talked about the move to the media. In an exclusive interview with Scout.com's Gene's Page, Ross talked about the reason behind the move, how it has worked out and how his recruitment is going. "The reason I moved up there is my high school situation wasn't working out for me back home (in Mississippi)," said LaQuinton Ross, who continues to play his AAU ball with the Jackson, Mississippi based MBA Hoops program. "We weren't playing the tough competition that they play at the bigger schools up north like Oak Hill, so I decided to go (to Life Center Academy)" And so far, so good. "It has been what I expected," said the 6-foot-9 Ross who is simply known as Q by most folks. "We have a lot of big schools on our schedule. We have played St. Anthony's twice, we've got St. Patrick twice and Oak Hill twice. And it's going to be even tougher next year". He feels the competition has already helped him improve his overall game. "It's really helped me to play against that type competition because most of the players on those teams are D-I players," said Ross. "Back home when you played a high school team they might have one or two of those type players." Not only a very talented player but also a very competitive one, Ross wanted to play that type competition year-round, not just in the summer when he played AAU ball. "AAU is only summertime ball and I want to play that type competition all year long because my high school ball is getting me ready for college ball," said Ross. However, for all the positives he's receiving from the move, there has been one negative, not being with his family. "Being away from my family has been the only downside," said Ross. "It was a little bit of an adjustment at first. The first month I was a little bit homesick but it has been all good since then. I had to grow up a little bit faster going up there." No matter where he is playing, whether it be for the MBA Hoops in Jackson, Mississippi or Life Center Academy in Burlington, New Jersey, college recruiters will be there. And a couple of them found him very early in the process. "My first two recruitments were Mississippi State and USC my 8th grade year," said Ross. "Mississippi State has been with me for awhile and USC has been with me awhile, too." But those two colleges are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recruiting attention. "Since I have gotten up to New Jersey, I have added West Virginia, Nova (Villanova) and Georgetown," said Ross. "I already had Florida, Maryland, Texas, Syracuse, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Baylor and a few more ... the list goes on." Although he obviously has a large number of suitors to choose from, Ross has a certain type basketball program he is looking for when it comes to choosing a college. "I like to run and get up and down the court; I'm not the type guy who likes to run a lot of set plays," said Ross. "A Duke wouldn't work for me. The schools that do that are Memphis, West Virginia, Syracuse, Baylor and Texas." He's also looking for a coach he can trust. "Coaches that come to me and tell me all the fake stuff that (they think) I want to hear, I don't like that," said Ross. "You can tell when you hear that. They are telling you everything you want to hear just to get you to their school. They aren't real." While he knows the style offense he's looking for and the type coach, he's not quite ready to name a final list of candidates for his signature, although there are two schools that will receive serious attention from him due to their location. "I'll probably narrow down to my top five by the end of the summer," said Ross, who spoke to me while playing in the MBA Hoops Big River Classic Tournament held at the MBA Hoops facility Saturday, April 10th. "I don't have a top anything right now but Mississippi State and Ole Miss are always going to be at the top of my list just because I am from here (Mississippi)." While his school of choice is still very much up in the air, there is no question about his talent level. MBA Hoops coach Omhar Carter has seen that talent first-hand for the past few years. "LaQuinton has grown to 6-foot-9 and his wingspan is 7-foot-4 so playing a guard position he is a matchup problem for anybody," said Carter. "If you put a big on him he goes by them. If you put a small on him he shoots over the top. His length and ability makes him a great defender and a great rebounder. He also blocks shots very well. "He has no weaknesses whatsoever." And there are probably about 40 or 50 college basketball coaches that would have no problem confirming that last statement. August 6, 2010 Class of 2012 Tymond Howard Update by: Gene Swindoll Special to Scout.com Pearl High School class of 2012 basketball player Tymond Howard talks about his strengths as a player, what he has worked on this summer, and where his recruitment stands. Before we get into the basketball portion of this article, I asked Twymond about football, more specially if he was going to play it again or give it up. "I am giving up football," he said. "It's really not in my mind right now, I'm just focusing on basketball. Basketball is my passion, the sport that I really love." He's seen quite a bit of improvement in his game this summer. "I really think my offensive and defensive awareness has improved, like my help side defensive," said the 6-6, 200-pounder. "I think my driving ability has improved and (the use of) my left hand has improved a lot." One aspect of his game still needs some work, though. "I still need to work on my ball-handling," said Tymond. College coaches not only like his talent level and skill set but also the way he plays the game. "The coaches have said they like the way I play, the passion and energy that I play with," said Tymond. He talked about the colleges that are currently showing interest in him. "I noticed that Mississippi State was on me pretty hard this summer," said Tymond. "They were at most of my games. Southeast Louisiana was at a lot of my games. And Tennessee, also." And several others have been sending him a steady stream of letters. "Missouri has sent me a bunch of letters. And Wake Forest has, too," said Tymond, who claims offers from Tennessee, Mississippi State and Baylor. A couple of schools have jumped to the top spot. "I really like Mississippi State and Tennessee," said Twymond. "I like watching other teams play but those are my two main schools." Four other schools are also of interest to him. "I like the way Missouri plays. I also like Baylor, Wake Forest and Florida State," said Twymond. August 5, 2010 Class of 2011 Mychal Ammons Update by: Gene Swindoll Special to Scout.com Vicksburg (MS) High School class of 2011 member Mychal Ammons, a 6-6, 223-pound forward, talks about his strengths as a basketball player, what he worked on this summer and where his recruitment stands. Mychal first talked about his strengths on the court. "My strengths are my size and my versatility," said the Scout.com three-star ranked foward. "If a guy is bigger than me I can bring him on the wing and if he is smaller I just post him up." Mychal isn't content with his overall game, though. And he's worked hard this summer working to improve several aspects of it. "I've tried to improve my footspeed, my ball-handling and I'm always working on my shot," noted the rising senior. "I've been trying to improve both parts of my game, really. " Several coaches have liked what they have seen from the youngster and are showing it recruitment-wise. "UTEP, South Carolina, Florida, Georgetown and Missouri are interested," said Mychal. "In-state, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Ole Miss are showing interest." As of now, he has five offers on the table. "I've received offers from Mississippi State, UTEP, South Carolina, Georgetown and Missouri," said Mychal, who is the 23rd ranked small forward in the nation by Scout.com. Three of those schools are currently at the top of his recruiting wish list. "I like UTEP, South Carolina and Missouri," said Mychal. He talked in detail why those three schools have made his final list. UTEP - "UTEP is a great situation because they are losing something like 12 players. And they have good coaches coming in, Tim Floyd. I talk to him and feel comfortable with him." South Carolina - "I really haven't talked to South Carolina's head coach because we are kind of playing phone tag with each other. But I have talked to (assistant) Coach (Neill) Berry. He's from Brandon (Mississippi). He and I got to talking and we just kind of clicked a little bit. So, I feel comfortable with him. He told me that I can come in and do my thing and start." Missouri - "Missouri's style of play really fits my game. And they have cool coaches. July 29, 2010 Hood Stands Out at AAU Nationals by: Brian Snow Special to Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting ORLANDO, Fla. - It is getting very late into the second July evaluation period, and that means that the players are beginning to get worn down. With that there is a lot of mediocre basketball, but Rodney Hood showed no signs of tailing off in his play and came up big on Wednesday. Hood shows off the skills MBA Hoops Elite is a team that has a chance to go a long way down in Orlando, and the play of wing Rodney Hood will probably determine how far they advance. Hood is a very skilled 6-foot-7 player who is unique and difficult to defend when he has it working. Hood did have it going on Wednesday for MBA Hoops Elite, and he carried them to a win in the second half. After a fairly quite first half, Hood decided to take over, and he did it using his mid-range game. A super smooth player, Hood is able to get by his defender, and from there he has a unique ability to score in the mid-range. In an era where the mid-range game is a lost art, Hood has a two dribble pull-up jumper that is absolutely pure. He hit several of those jumpers from 15-17 feet in the half, and just proved to be able to get where he wants whenever he wants on the basketball floor. Along with being able to knock down the mid-range shot, Hood also attacked the rim off the bounce, and used his athleticism and length to score inside. Mostly a perimeter player, Hood has a skill set that most prospects his size don't possess, and when it is all clicking for him he is one of the best in the country. Complementing Hood was Deville Smith and LaQuinton Ross. Smith is a jet of a point guard who really knows how to break his man down off the bounce. He didn't have his most productive game, but Smith is super quick, got into the lane, and then did a solid job of creating from there. His jumper could still use some work, but Smith did show that unique burst with the ball that not many prospects possess. When it comes to Ross, he is just so fluid at 6-foot-7. A super skilled prospect, Ross hit a few jumpers from the perimeter and also showed an ability to handle the basketball to help create for himself. Ross isn't an elite prospect because his motor is still lacking, but the skill level with his length and size is very interesting if he does indeed learn to bring it on every possession as he gets older. The MBA Hoops Elite wing tandem of LaQuinton Ross and Rodney Hood drew a nice crowd of coaches. Among those checking them out were Marquette's Buzz Williams, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech, John Thompson from Georgetown, Alabama's Anthony Grant and Arkansas' John Pelphrey. There were also assistants from Mississippi State, Ohio State and Louisville amongst the crowd. Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin was at the MBA game as well, but he was checking on under utilized big man Derrell Robertson. July 25, 2010 16-under Super Showcase: Pollard, Ware, and Thomas puts on a show Brian Snow by: Special to Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting ORLANDO, Fla. - Devonta Pollard - The book on Pollard has been that he is a freak athlete with limited skill, well that book might need to be re-written. During his team's loss, Pollard was hitting jumpers in the mid-range at will, and then got on the glass with his length and big time leaping ability. The combination of scoring with skill and using his athleticism led to a big game, and showed by so many schools are high on him. Gavin Ware - A big man with good hands and broad shoulders, there is good reason why Ware is considered one of the better big men in the south in the 2012 class. He has the ability to root out defenders with his strong lower half, but at the same time has enough explosion to throw down impressive ally-oop dunks above the rim. Ware didn't get too many touches with his back to the basket, but he can flat out get things done when given the opportunity. Fred Thomas - While Pollard and Ware get nearly all the attention on the team, Thomas also deserves some. He can hit shots off the dribble and off the catch well beyond the three point line, and also has the athleticism to be a good defender on the wing. His handle does need some attention, but his length and ability to flat out knock down shots makes him a high-major target going forward in the 2012 class. Fred Thomas is hearing from Alabama, Georgetown, and Mississippi State. June 24, 2010 Pistons Take Terrico White In NBA Draft by: University of Mississippi NEW YORK - Ole Miss star Terrico White, who declared for the draft after his sophomore season, was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the second round (36th overall pick) of the 2010 NBA Draft on Thursday night. The 6-foot-5, 213-pound athlete with tremendous leaping ability is the first Rebel to be drafted since 2004, when Justin Reed went in the second round (40th overall) to the Boston Celtics. "I'm just happy to be chosen," White said. "I'm going to come in and work extremely hard. I think I fit in good with (the Pistons)." In two seasons with the Rebels, the Memphis native scored 955 career points and averaged 14.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. In his debut season, he earned SEC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America honors when he took over point guard duties for the injured Chris Warren league play and posted 18.4 points per SEC game. This past season, White averaged 15.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and helped the Rebels win the Southeastern Conference Western Division title and advance to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden. White spent the summer of 2009 with Team USA, helping the Americans to a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand. He is the fourth-highest draft pick in Ole Miss history behind Gerald Glass (20th overall, 1990), John Stroud (27th, 1980) and Ansu Sesay (30th, 1998). Possessing a gift for scoring from outside and the athleticism to fly high to the rim, White ranks 10th in Ole Miss history with 123 career 3-pointers and boasted the best vertical jump (40 inches) of any player in last month's pre-draft combine. June 24, 2010 Miami Selects Varnado With 41st Pick In 2010 NBA Draft by: mstateathletics.com STARKVILLE, Miss. - Thursday night in front of a nationally-televised ESPN audience, Jarvis Varnado became the 23rd Mississippi State player in school history drafted by an NBA team when the Miami Heat selected the 6-foot-9 forward from Brownsville, Tenn., in the second round with the 41st overall pick. He's the first MSU player drafted since 2005 when Seattle took Lawrence Roberts with the 55th pick. Varnado is also the 5th Bulldog player drafted with Rick Stansbury at the helm. "It's a dream come true," said Varnado, who was in Jackson, Tenn., watching the draft with friends and family. "This is what you work hard for. Now, I've just got to go prove myself. I was a little nervous and stressed, but going to Miami is a great opportunity. They've had a lot of success and have some great players. Hopefully, I can go there and help them win a championship." This past year as a senior, Varnado became the 31st player in Mississippi State history to score 1,000 points en route to leading the Bulldogs to the Western Division crown and the finals of the SEC Tournament in Nashville for the second-straight year. He led MSU in scoring (13.8), was tops in the Southeastern Conference with 10.3 rebounds an outing and posted 18 double-doubles while garnering All-SEC honors. He was also tabbed the league's defensive player of the year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in SEC history to achieve that feat, and won the same honor numerous times on the national level. For his highly decorated career, Varnado finished 13th all-time with 1,403 points, while his 1,096 rebounds are second only to the 1,277 Bailey Howell grabbed from 1957-59. He also started a school-record 119 games. Yet, he'll be remembered most for his shot blocking ability. Against rival Alabama on Feb. 24 at Humphrey Coliseum, he became the NCAA's career leader, breaking the mark of 535 set by former Louisiana-Monroe standout Wojciech Myrda. He finished with 564 after swatting 170 this past season, which tied the SEC single-season record he set as a junior. And in doing so, he became the first player in the history of college basketball to score 1,000 points, total 1,000 rebounds and block 500 shots. "Congrats to Jarvis. Obviously, we're very proud of him," Stansbury said. "He's worked very hard to get to this level. It's quite an accomplishment for a young man to get to this point from where he came from, where he was basically unknown coming out of high school. To be able to play in the NBA is very special. He got selected by a great organization that's used to winning. Not only is Miami getting a great player, they're getting a great person too. He'll fit in well down there, and he'll be a great asset in the community. It will be a great city for Jarvis to live in." June 1, 2010 JSU 2010 Men's Basketball Camp by JSU Office of Athletic Media Relations The Jackson State men's basketball team will host a summer clinic and a camp this summer at the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center. The free clinic is set for Saturday, June 12 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. The 2010 JSU Basketball Camp is set for Monday, June 14 through Thursday, June 17. The cost for the camp is $100. Camp activities include: offensive and defensive drills, dribbling fundamentals, and offensive and defensive set plays. Campers will also receive prizes. For more information contact the JSU men's basketball secretary at (601) 979-2314, coach Wright Bushing at (601) 979-2421 or coach Julian Springer at (601) 979-2359. May 26, 2010 Mississippi Players Makes Rivals Top 150 by LeMond Roy msboyshoops.com Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer recently released the updated ranking for the class of 2011. I’ve been screaming that the Magnolia State class of 2011 was one the tops in the country. After the spring circuit, the Magnolia State has 7 kids ranked in the top 150 and at least 2 others that were close to cracking the ranking. Here’s how our Mississippians fared: #24 - Johnny O’Bryant Cleveland, MS (Eastside HS) #43 - LaQuinton Ross Burlington, NJ (Life Center Academy) #48 - Deville Smith Jackson, MS (Callaway HS) #49 - David Gardner Okolona, MS (Okolona HS) #67 - Tyler Adams Brandon, MS (Brandon HS) #72 - LeAntwan Luckett Ridgeland, MS (Ridgeland HS) #100 – Rodney Hood Meridian, MS (Meridian HS) May 24, 2010 Updated Basketball Signings List ...The NCAA's month-long spring signing period ended Wednesday. Here's an update on where Mississippi's top seniors are headed next season (listed alphabetically). (* — indicates C-L All-State pick) Class of 2010 *Daron Bell, Bay, 6-3 — undecided Antonnio Benton, Oak Grove, 6-7 — Southeastern Louisiana Lacoltan Bester, Kemper County, 6-3 — East Mississippi CC Brandon Blake, Oxford, 6-3 — Spring Hill Danny Bolden, Greenville-Weston, 6-3 — Mississsppi Delta CC Johnathan Brandon, New Hope, 6-1 — Shelton State (Ala.) CC Jimmie Broomfield, Scott Central, 6-1 — East Central CC Zach Carnell, Ingomar, 6-7 — Delta State Jurmond Cattenhead, Wingfield, 6-0 — undecided Nicholas Cook, Hattiesburg, 6-5 — Jacksonville State *Jalen Courtney, Provine, 6-7 — LSU *Demarco Cox, Yazoo City, 6-8 — Ole Miss Jeremiah Dunnings, Biloxi, 5-10 — Mississippi Gulf Coast CC D.J. Evans, Brandon, 5-8 — undecided Lakendrick Evans, O'Bannon, 6-5 — undecided Jermille Fluker, Long Beach, 6-0 — Dillard Josh Green, Pontotoc, 6-3 — Henderson State Marcelis Hansberry, Provine, 6-0 — Louisiana-Monroe Desmond Haymon, Williams-Sullivan — Stephen F. Austin Kelsey Howard, Vicksburg, 6-4 — Jackson State *Trency Jackson, Wingfield, 6-2 — Southern Miss DeMarcus Lewis, Canton, 6-3 — Holmes CC Patrick Lewis, McAdams, 5-8 — undecided LaVadius Lyles, Forest, 5-9 — Northwestern State, La. (football) Tevin Moore, Olive Branch, 6-3 — Northwest Mississippi CC *Dundrecous Nelson, Murrah, 5-11 — Ole Miss Jeverik Nelson, Callaway, 6-7 — Tennessee-Martin Kevin Nixon, Heidelberg, 6-3 — Jones JC Guy Payne, Biloxi, 6-5 — Alcorn State *Rashad Perkins, Starkville, 6-5 — Southern Miss Mopo Pierre, Piney Woods, 6-6 — Tennessee-Martin DeAngelo Priar, S.V. Marshall, 6-2 — Meridian CC Willie Readus, Morton, 6-6 — Marion Military JC, Ala. Jake Reed, Brookhaven Academy, 6-3 — Copiah-Lincoln CC Jeffery Simmons, Greenwood, 6-3 — Middle Tennessee State Keeslee Stewart, Hinds AHS, 5-8 — Jackson State Scottie Stirling, Provine, 5-10 — Jackson State *Andre Stringer, Forest Hill, 5-9 — LSU Trevis Thomas, Hinds AHS, 6-3 — Hinds CC *Edward Townsel, Starkville, 6-0 — Arkansas State Cord Walker, West Bolivar, 5-9 — undecided Darius Woods, Horn Lake, 5-7 — Northwest Mississippi CC May 7, 2010 Class of 2011 Takes Center Stage by Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst The Magnolia State hoops class of 2011 takes center stage this weekend with the playing of the Mississippi AAU 17 & under State Tournament at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood. Most of the top players in the class of 2011 will be in attendance as well as a number of 2012 studs. Play begins on Friday night and continues Saturday and Sunday. The 14 & under State Tournament is also being played along with the 17's this weekend at the same venue. Players expected to participate include: Class of 2011 Laquinton Ross(Jackson) 6'9" WF MBA Hoops Elite Rodney Hood (Meridian) 6'8" WF MBA Hoops Elite Deville Smith (Callaway) 5'11" PG MBA Hoops Elite Johnny O'Bryant (Cleveland Eastide) 6'8" PF Jackson Tigers Tyler Adams (Brandon) 6'9" C Jackson Tigers Michael Ammons (Vicksburg) 6'6" WF Jackson Tigers LeAntwan Luckett (Ridgeland) 6'4" WG MS D1 Ambassadors David Gardner(Okolona) 6'7" WF "Da House" Lighthouse Xavian Rimmer (Piney Woods) 6'2" PG Jackson Panthers Jarvis Summers (Provine) 6'2" PG Jackson Tigers Ladarius White (McComb) 6'5" WG Jackson Tigers Derrell Robertson (Mendenhall) 6'8" C MBA Hoops Elite Kentwan Smith (Piney Woods) 6'7" PF Jackson Panthers Davon Hayes (Greenville) 6'5" WG Jackson Panthers Acie Vance (Ripley) 6'2" PG "Da House" Lighthouse Octavious Brown (Brandon) 6'7" PF Jackson Tigers Sidney Coleman (Meridian) 6'6" PF MBA Hoops Elite Donovan Ross (Ridgeland) 6'6" PF MS D1 Ambassadors Quinton Watkins (Lanier) 6'0" PG Jackson Panthers Greg Riley (Murrah) 5'9" PG Jackson Panthers Darius Forest (Wingfield) 6'6" WF Jackson Tigers Deonta Ewing (Corinth) 6'1" WG "Da House" Lighthouse Devin Cherry (Meridian) 6'2" WG Southern Phenoms 17'S Fredrick Fairman (Brookhaven) 6'8" C Jackson Panthers Christian Robbins (Columbia Academy) 6'10" C MBA Hoops Elite Ernest Williams (Aberdeen) 6'6" PF "Da House" Lighthouse Sharod Smith(Meridian) 6'4" WF Southern Phenoms 17's Kevin Welch (Terry) 6'6" WF MBA Hoops Elite Alex Thompson(Lanier) 6'3" WG MBA Hoops Elite Daniel Francis (Murrah) 6'3" WF MS D1 Ambassadors Deonta Herman (Corinth) 5'11" PG "Da House" Lighthouse Jarren Mallory(Provine) 6'2" WG MS D1 Ambassadors Yvan Ngirabakunzi(Piney Woods) 6'9" PF Jackson Panthers Class of 2012 Devonta Pollard (Kemper County) 6'8" PF Southern Phenoms 16's Gavin Ware (Starkville) 6'8" C Southern Phenoms 16's Jacolby Mobley (Starkville) 5'11" PG Jackson Tigers Roger Woods (Provine) 6'4" WF Jackson Tigers Fred Thomas (Jim Hill) 6'4" WG Southern Phenoms 16's Quentarious Porter (Forest Hill) 6'5" WF MS D1 Ambassadors Raeford Worsham (Wayne County) 6'4" WF Southern Phenoms 16's Jordan Wyke(Marshall Academy) 5'10" WG "Da House" Lighthouse Chris Bilbo (Forest Hill) 6'1" PG Southern Phenoms 16's McDarion Abron (Canton) 6'9" C MS D1 Ambassadors Class of 2013 TreShawn Bolden(Callaway) 6'8" PF MBA Hoops Elite Derek Scott(Forest) 6'6" PF Jackson Tigers Pools and Schedule Pool A Jackson Tigers MBA Hoops Elite Monroe Tigers Pool B Jackson Panthers MS D1 Ambassadors Phenoms 16's Pool C Phenoms 17's "Da House" Lighthouse Mississippi Blues Friday 7:00 PM MS D1 Ambassadors vs Phenoms 16's 8:00 PM Jackson Tigers vs Monroe Tigers 10:00 PM Phenoms 17's vs "Da House" Lighthouse Saturday 9:00 AM Monroe Tigers vs MBA Hoops Elite 10:00 AM Jackson Panthers vs MS D1 Ambassadors 12:00 PM MBA Hoops Elite vs Jackson Tigers 1:00 PM "Da House" Lighthouse vs Mississippi Blues 3:00 PM Phenoms 16's vs Jackson Panthers 4:00 PM Mississippi Blues vs Phenoms 17's Single elimination Bracket play begins at 7:00 PM Saturday May 13, 2010 Gamecock Basketball Adds Cook To Signing Class JACKSONVILLE, AL – The Jacksonville State men’s basketball team has added Mississippi prep star Nicholas Cook to its 2010-11 roster, head coach James Green announced on Wednesday. Cook, a 6-foot-5 player from Hattiesburg High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Gamecocks earlier in the week, making him the fourth signee in the late period for Green. Cook joins prep signees Franki Baugher and Brian Williams and junior college guard Leke Lewu as the newest members of the Gamecock program. “We are excited to welcome Nick to our basketball family,” Green said. “We think he possesses the characteristics that we look for in our student-athletes, and adding him to our freshman class represents a strong foundation for Jacksonville State basketball.” Cook stood out as a senior for the Tigers as a senior in 2009-10. He led the team with 16 points and eight rebounds per game, while also blocking a team-best two shots per contest. He was a first team all-district player and was also ranked the No. 13 senior in the state of Mississippi by Scout.com. He scored in double figures in all but one game as a senior, including a season-high 31 points against Petal High School on Nov. 19, a game in which he also grabbed 12 boards. May 6, 2010 Nelson becomes seventh Skyhawk Men's Basketball Signee for 2010-11 MARTIN, Tenn. - Jeverik Nelson, a 6-8 210-pound forward out of Callaway High School in Jackson, Miss., has signed a National Letter of Intent to join The University of Tennessee at Martin men's basketball program, head coach Jason James has announced. ESPN.com has Nelson ranked as the 76th best power forward prospect in the nation (fourth best in the state of Mississippi), mentioning "athletically, he could play anywhere in America." Known as one of the Mississippi's most electrifying leapers, national college basketball recruiting guru Clark Francis has Nelson rated at No. 262 on his Hoop Scoop's ranking of the top high school seniors. As a senior at CHS, Nelson led the Chargers to a 23-11 record and final ranking of No. 5 in the state of Mississippi. Playing for head coach Wayne Brent, he was chosen to represent Mississippi in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game, scoring 10 points (on five dunks) and grabbing six rebounds in 18 minutes in a 112-88 victory. In that game, he played against fellow UT Martin Class of 2010 signee Terence Smith. This season, Nelson averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game while leading CHS to a 34-32 victory over Provine in the Class 5A state championship game. In the semifinals of the Grand Slam tournament against Forest, he put up a line of 22 points and seven rebounds to lead CHS advance to its third Grand Slam championship appearance in his four years there (winning back-to-back Gold Ball state championship trophies). Coach James on Nelson: "Jeverik is an exceptional basketball player. He can shoot the ball from the perimeter, and he can also drive it to score. He scores in the post and in transition and his athleticism allows him to be a great rebounder on both ends of the floor. He has all of the tools needed to be successful. Our offensive system requires guys who can play a number of different positions on the floor and Jeverik fits into this mold - he is very versatile. I think the thing that is most apparent with Jeverik is his effort - he plays hard every second he is on the floor. It is obvious that he wants to be a great player because he works hard at it. When you have someone with his physical gifts who has the desire to be good like he does, you have a special player. He has a chance to be a great player in this league." Nelson on UT Martin: "I'm very excited about becoming a part of the Skyhawk family. I chose UT Martin because I really felt at home with the players and coaching staff. Their style of play fits my skill set and the way I like to play. UT Martin has great equipment and facilities and they measure up to my career choice academically." "I'm very excited about becoming a part of the Skyhawk family. I chose UT Martin because I really felt at home with the players and coaching staff. Their style of play fits my skill set and the way I like to play. UT Martin has great equipment and facilities and they measure up to my career choice academically." Nelson joins a stellar 2010 signing class, as he is the seventh player to commit to the Skyhawk men's basketball program. Also signing earlier this month were Troy King (Gaithersburg, Md.), Chris Richardson (Birmingham, Ala.), Mike Liabo (Naples, Fla.), Omari Minor (Troy, Va.), Mopo Pierre (Pearl, Miss.) and Smith (Russellville, Ala.). April 30, 2010 Deville Smith Commits to Mississippi State by Logan Lowery BulldogBlitz.com Mississippi State picked up their first commitment of the coveted 2011 recruiting class out of the Magnolia State when Callaway four-star point guard Deville Smith announced his decision late Friday night. The 5-foot-10, 160-pounder averaged 23.1 points, 3.9 steals and 3.6 assists per game. He earned first team, All-State honors as well as a preseason Dandy Dozen selection by The Clarion Ledger. "I just committed to Mississippi State," Smith wrote in a text to BulldogBlitz.com at 10:51 p.m. Friday night. Smith chose the Bulldogs over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Memphis, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, USC and Wake Forest. Smith led the Chargers to the Class 5A State Championship this past season burying the game-winning shot with 1.2 seconds left on the clock from just inside the free-throw line lifting Callaway 34-32 over Provine for their second straight title. "I love those types of moments," Smith said. "I had a good look. I just love that feeling of making big shots and big plays. There was one second left and I stole the ball on the inbounds. It was special. Everyone thought we couldn't do it again." Smith has attended several Bulldog games this season and over the last few years and likes what he has seen from Rick Stansbury's squad. "I love Mississippi State," Smith said. "I love the atmosphere that they have and their environment." Smith is rated the No. 11 class as well as its No. 38 overall prospect. April 25, 2010 Adams Gives Verbal Pledge To ACC by Evans Daniels Scout.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Tyler Adams has been contemplating a decision for quite some time. After narrowing his list of schools he made his decision. Mike Krzyzewski and his staff at Duke have been looking for a bruising big guy to man the post. Late Sunday night the Blue Devils scored their guy. Tyler Adams, a 2011 standout at Brandon (Miss.) High, gave Duke a verbal commitment. "The reason I went with Duke is I feel like it's the best fit for me," Adams explained. "The last couple of months they've been recruiting me pretty hard. A program like this, not many people get a chance to go there. So I wanted to go ahead and go with Coach K." Adams, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound center, cited his relationship with the coaching staff, especially assistant Nate James as one of the main reasons he chose Duke. "Me and coach Nate James are pretty close and we've developed a pretty good relationship the past couple of months," Adams said. "I feel pretty comfortable with him. The main reason I feel comfortable because we've developed such a good relationship." Adams, who runs with the Jackson Tigers during summer ball, said he also considered Mississippi State, Alabama, Memphis and Clemson. "They have a lot of players that have made it to the next level," he said. "I've really liked them since they started recruiting and I like how coach K really develops his players." Adams is the second 2011 prospect to commit to Duke. He joins Richmond (Va.) Benedictine standout Michael Gbinije to make up their current 2011 class. April 23, 2010 Mississippi Basketball signings by LeMond Roy msboyshoops.com Basketball Analyst Division I signees (November) Rashad Perkins, 6-5, Starkville (Southern Miss) — According to Starkville coach Greg Carter, Perkins is attending Chipola Junior College in Florida in an effort to finish high school academic requirements so he can enroll at USM, where he's expected to sit out his first season beginning next fall. Trency Jackson, 6-2, Wingfield (USM) Dundrecous Nelson, 5-11, Murrah (Ole Miss) Andre Stringer, 5-9, Forest Hill (LSU) Jalen Courtney, 6-7, Provine (LSU) Demarco Cox, 6-8, Yazoo City (Ole Miss) Jeffery Simmons, 6-3, Greenwood (Middle Tennessee) Jordan Cornelius, 6-9, Lanier (Jacksonville State) Jeremy Campbell, 6-2, Oak Grove (Southeastern Louisiana) Keeslee Stewart, 5-8, Hinds AHS (Jackson State) Division I signees (April) Derrell Taylor, 6-4, Morton (JSU) Scottie Sterling, 5-10, Provine (JSU) Guy Payne, 6-5, Biloxi (Alcorn State) Mopo Pierre, 6-6, Piney Woods (Tennessee-Martin) Antonnio Benton, 6-7, Oak Grove (SE Louisiana) Desmond Haymon, 6-3, Williams-Sullivan (Stephen F. Austin) Other signees Danny Bolden, 6-2, Greenville-Weston — Miss. Delta CC Johnathan Brandon, 6-1, New Hope — Shelton State (Ala.) CC Nicholas Cook, 6-5, Hattiesburg — Marion Military (Ala.) Jeremiah Dunnings, 5-10, Biloxi — Miss. Gulf Coast CC Jermille Fluker, 6-0, Long Beach — Dillard Josh Green, 6-3, Pontotoc — Henderson State (Ark.) Kelsey Howard, 6-4, Vicksburg — Meridian CC DeMarcus Lewis, 6-3, Canton — Holmes LaVadius Lyles, 5-9, Forest — Northwestern State, La. (football) Tevin Moore, 6-3, Olive Branch — Northwest Miss. CC Kevin Nixon, 6-2, Heidelberg — Jones JC DeAngelo Priar, 6-2, S.V. Marshall — Holmes CC Willie Readus, 6-6, Morton — Marion Military (Ala.) Darius Woods, 5-7, Horn Lake — Northwest Miss. CC Edward Townsel, 6-0, Starkville — Has visited Louisiana Tech and also is getting interest from Tennessee-Chattanooga, Louisiana-Lafayette and Troy. Daron Bell, 6-3, Bay — Has heard from several lower-level Division I schools in Louisiana as well as a handful of NAIA programs. Could end up at Pearl River CC, which signed former St. Stanislaus star and Centenary freshman Pedro Maciel recently. April 17, 2010 Howard impresses at Real Deal in the Rock by Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst LITTE ROCK, Ark. - Rivals.com took a good look at the 16-Under action at The Real Deal on the Rock on Friday night. One of the standouts was Tymond Howard of MBA Hoops. Physical, aggressive, athletic and talented is the way to describe Howard. He literally did everything for MBA Hoops as he scored 24 points in a 57-52 win over the Alabama Celtics. Howard scored almost exclusively on bruising drives to the basket, finishing both at the rim and with pull up jumpers. He also relentlessly pursued the ball off the glass, and at 6 feet 5, 200 pounds, he displayed some nifty ball handling in the open court and at the point guard position in the half court. A potential five-star prospect in the 2012 class, Howard already has an offer from Tennessee and claims the Volunteers as his leader. He is also hearing from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Baylor and Auburn. Trey Bolden (MBA Hoops 2013)- A powerfully built 6-foot-7 post player, Bolden was also impressive. He battled on the inside with Howard, and he has a promising skill set. His foot work was solid in the post, and he was a threat in transition. Brice Rowe (MBA Hoops 2012)- A 6-foot-2 combo guard, Rowe handled the ball a great deal for MBA Hoops. He looked to be the next best perimeter prospect on the team behind Howard. March 22, 2010 Rebels land versatile guard for 2011 class by Neal McCready RebelSports.net Ole Miss continued its strong in-state recruiting efforts on Monday when the Rebels landed a commitment from McComb, Miss., shooting guard LaDarius White. White, a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder nicknamed "Snoop," chose the Rebels over Mississippi State after attending Ole Miss' second-round NIT win over Memphis Friday night in Oxford. "I loved it," White said. "I loved the environment. I loved how they play. That's my kind of ball." White is the Rebels' second commitment for the 2011 class, joining Hickory, N.C., forward Tyler Poole. He is the third prominent Mississippian to commit to the Rebels in the past year, joining 2010 signees Dundrecous Nelson and Demarco Cox. "(The Ole Miss staff) is very supportive," White said. "They'd be at my games. I'd look up and see Ole Miss. I just like them. I got to know them more and more." Hilton Harrell, White's High School coach, said White was leaning to Ole Miss going into his trip to Oxford last week. Once there, "he fell in love with it," Harrell said. "He loved the campus and he loved the environment. I think Coach (Andy) Kennedy has done a great job with the offense he runs. Lots of guards like it. They've been doing a good job with guard play and now they're getting the big guys like Demarco." White, who averaged 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists at McComb last season, is known for his versatility as well as his athleticism and his shooting range. He could grow into a small forward at the college level, and he has the ball skills to play point guard. "I think I can play all three (positions)," White said. "I can be a 1 or a 2 or a 3. It really doesn't matter." "I think he may grow into a (small forward)," Harrell said. "But he's a (shooting guard). He can also play the point. He can do it all. As good as he is, he has some upside to him. He can shoot from the outside, post up, dribble-drive. He's a good passer and a good team player. His work this spring, this summer and next year will determine how much he'll step in and help them." White might help Ole Miss long before he arrives in Oxford. His AAU teammate and close friend, five-star forward Johnny O'Bryant from Cleveland, Miss., is strongly considering Ole Miss along with Mississippi State, Memphis, California and others. "I'm planning on working him," White said, laughing. "It probably will work. I think it will." March 20, 2010 All-Star Coach Jay Ladner talks about Mississippi's players by Clarion Ledger ...Jay Ladner of St. Stanislaus spent the last few days coaching Mississippi's all-star boys team for the 20th annual game against Alabama, which Mississippi won Friday night in a 112-88 rout. We talked to Ladner a couple hours before tip off to get his evaluations on each of Mississippi's 12 players: Andre Stringer, Forest Hill, 5-8, guard (LSU signee) "We had a better feel for Andre because we played against him at St. Stanislaus. He’s as advertised. He’s certainly not big, but they say dynamite comes in small packages I love him. He plays hard and has a great feel for the game. A lot of people question his size, but I haven’t seen that come into play yet." Dundrecous Nelson, Murrah, 5-11, guard (Ole Miss signee) "I think Dundrecous has got great upside. He works at times, but I’d like to see him get a little more focused. I am saying that in a very positive way because his upside is really good. When he gets into the Ole Miss program and they begin to demand a lot of things from him on a daily basis, we’ll see that he’s a very talented player." Trency Jackson, Wingfield, 6-2, guard (USM signee) "I love the way Trency’s motor runs. I think Southern Miss got a steal — I really do. He’s always got a smile on his face, but he has worked his tail off every minute he’s been here. Very focused. He’s very, very quick with great leaping ability. He’s going to be a good one." Jalen Courtney, Provine, 6-7, forward (LSU signee) "Jalen's got a great attitude and works really, really hard. He’s already been coached. Coach (Luther) Riley has done a great job with him. He’s going to need to work on his face-up game for what he’s going to see in the SEC. But certainly he’s a very good player." Demarcus Lewis, Canton, 6-3, forward (unsigned) "DeMarcus made the team on the recommendation of some coaches in the Jackson area who had played against him. I think DeMarcus is a gamer. Fundamentals may not be his strong suit, but he certainly has good skill. I think he’s got great upside somewhere." Edward Townsel, Starkville, 6-0, guard (unsigned) "I love Ed. He’s not the biggest, but he’s a tough kid. I don’t think I’ve heard him say five words in the time he’s been here. But he’s always where he’s supposed to be and he gives tremendous effort. He’s another one who’s going to be a good player for somebody." Demarco Cox, Yazoo City, 6-8, center (Ole Miss signee) "I think he probably has the most upside of all the players here. He’s got great hands. He’s already a skilled player, but when he gets to Ole Miss and gets in a college weight training and conditioning program, the sky’s the limit. You’re going to see him play basketball for a long time." Jeverik Nelson, Callaway, 6-7, forward (unsigned) "I would hate to say a typical Jackson player, but Jeverik’s very fundamentally sound coming out of Wayne Brent’s program. He’s been very well coached already, defensively. Those kids coming out of Jackson just know how to play. I think he’s comparable to Jalen in that not only do they resemble one another in physical stature, I think Jeverik will also develop more of a face-up game when he gets to college ... whereas now he’s played more with his back to the basket." Jeremiah Dunnings, Biloxi, 5-10, guard (unsigned) "I think he’s been one of the surprises here. I had some experience with Jeremiah in terms of us playing against Biloxi. He’s one of the best spot shooters we have. He has great range and a great attitude. He’s a kid who works hard. I was talking to him the other day and he’s still undecided. He hasn’t gotten a lot of college looks, but he certainly can help some people." Rashad Perkins, Starkville, 6-5, forward (USM signee) "Rashad’s probably the most athletic kid here. His jumping ability is incredible. I’d like to see him develop his perimeter shot a little more. It’s a little unorthodox. He needs a little fundamental work there, but he’s a great, great athlete." Willie Readus, Morton, 6-6, forward/center (unsigned) "Willie’s a big body. He needs to get himself in better shape, but he’s shown some good signs this week. He’s another big player who’s got good hands and good skill. He needs to get his motor running a little more, but I think getting in the right program with some coaches who can motivate him … I think he’s got some upside, too." Kelsey Howard, Vicksburg, 6-4, guard (unsigned) "I love Kelsey Howard. I’d say behind Demarco, he’s probably got as much upside as anybody. He’s got a beautiful shooting touch. When he gets himself bigger and stronger, he’s going to be a heck of a player for somebody. I understand he’s going to Meridian (Community College), but there’s some Division I guys missing on him." March 18, 2010 Andre Stringer repeats as Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi Congrats to Forest Hill's Andre Stringer, who was named Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi. Stringer, a 5-foot-8 senior guard and LSU signee, is the first back-to-back winner in boys basketball since the award was initiated in 1986. The selection process for Gatorade Players of the Year is administered by ESPN RISE, the multimedia high school division of ESPN, in partnership with The Gatorade Company. All final selection decisions are the result of a collaborative effort between ESPN RISE and The Gatorade Company. March 9, 2010 Nike Announces Elite Youth Basketball League Schedule Beaverton, Oregon (March 4, 2010) – NIKE, Inc. has announced the launch of its inaugural EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) featuring it’s forty-two (42) elite travel team programs beginning this spring with four 17 & under events, culminating with the EYBL Finals at the NIKE Peach Jam in North Augusta, SC from July 12-15, 2010. One 17u team the Jackson Tigers will be the lone representative of the Magnolia State in the EYBL. The EYBL will tip-off at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, VA from April 9-11. The final two regular season events will be held at League America in Houston, TX on May 14-16 and in Los Angeles, CA over Memorial Day Weekend (May 29-31) at a to be determined location. The teams and schedule can be printed @ www.metroplexhoops.com In addition to the EYBL, the front-end of the summer is designed to help players through skill development. The nation’s best underclassmen tip-off the summer at the NIKE Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis from June 10-13. At the end of June, the elite high school players throughout the country are selected to attend a positional Skills Academy with Utah’s Deron Williams (point guards), Boston’s Paul Pierce (wings), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (wings) and Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire (forwards/centers) held separately over June 24-30 in Chicago, IL, followed by a culminating academy for all players with reigning MVP LeBron James at the University of Akron from July 5-7. All five Skills Academies will be closed to college coaches for the participants to focus on improving themselves in both an individual and team setting with special situation drills. “NIKE is committed to providing a platform for the top high school players to improve their game with an assist from the top players in the NBA and the best instructors in the game of basketball during our skills academies” said Mike Hackman, NIKE’s Elite Youth Director. “The addition of the EYBL provides an organized and exciting format for these elite athletes to consistently compete against the best players.” Following a successful first year, the King City Classic will return to Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio on July 8-9. The event is designed for the nation’s top 80 high school players to compete head-to-head in a national tournament. Hundreds of college coaches, scouts and media are expected to attend. March 8, 2010 Mississippi All-star boys basketball teams announced ........ by Clarion Ledger Players were chosen for the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game (March 19 at the Pelham Civic Complex in suburban Birmingham) and the Mississippi High School All-Star game (July 10 at Mississippi College in Clinton). Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game (Mississippi boys) Jalen Courtney, 6-7, Provine (LSU) Demarco Cox, 6-8, Yazoo City (Ole Miss) Jeremiah Dunnings, 5-10, Biloxi Kelsey Howard, 6-4, Vicksburg Trency Jackson, 6-2, Wingfield (USM) DeMarcus Lewis, 6-3, Canton Dundrecous Nelson, 5-11, Murrah (Ole Miss) Jeverik Nelson, 6-7, Callaway Rashad Perkins, 6-5, Starkville (USM) Willie Readus, 6-6, Morton Edward Townsel, 6-0, Starkville Andre Stringer, 5-8, Forest Hill (LSU) Coach: Jay Ladner, St. Stanislaus Assistant: Danny Grieves, St. Patrick Administrative coach: Luther Riley, Provine Mississippi High School All-Star game (North boys) Mychal Ammons, 6-6, Vicksburg Deontaye Ewing, 6-2, Tupelo David Gardner, 6-8, Okolona LeAntwan Luckett, 6-4, Ridgeland Jarren Mallory, 5-11, Provine Jaylen Moore, 6-6, Olive Branch Johnny O'Bryant, 6-9, East Side Donovan Ross, 6-5, Ridgeland Marquavius "Deville" Smith, 5-10, Callaway Jarvis Summers, 6-3, Provine Acie Vance, 6-0, Ripley Quentin Watkins, 6-0, Lanier Coaches: George Christian, O'Bannon; Roderick Davidson, Ridgeland (South boys) Tyler Adams, 6-9, Brandon Trey Brown, 6-6, Brandon Darius Forest, 6-6, Wingfield Daniel Grieves, 6-6, St. Patrick Rodney Hood, 6-8, Meridian Stanley Magee, 6-3, Pass Christian Xavian Rimmer, 6-1, Piney Woods A.J. Wade, 6-0, Northeast Lauderdale Hakeem Wesley, 6-3, Newton County LaDarius "Snoop" White, 6-4, McComb Bryan Williams, 6-5, Pascagoula Johnny Zuppardo, 6-8, St. Stanislaus Coaches: Darrin Gray, Scott Central; Buddy Kennedy, Pass Christ March 4, 2010 MHSAA State Tournament Finals Set by Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst With the close of semi-final action on Thursday night, the preliminaries are over and it's time for the main event, the championship games. The match-ups for the championship games are set and there are a number of interesting championship game match-ups. The schedule is as follows: On Thursday March 4th: 1:00 PM - 1A Girls Final - Myrtle vs McAdams 2:30 PM - 1A Boys Final - Ingomar vs McAdams 7:00 PM - 2A Girls Final - New Site vs Newton 8:30 PM - 2A Boys Final - Baldwyn vs West Bolivar On Friday March 5th: 1:00 PM - 3A Girls Final - Belmont vs Ripley 2: 30 PM - 3A Boys Final - Forest vs Kemper County 7:00 PM - 4A Girls Final - New Albany vs Raymond 8:30 PM - 4A Boys Final - St. Stanislaus vs Bay St. Louis On Saturday March 6th: 1:00 PM - 5A Girls Final - Wayne County vs West Jones 2:30 PM - 5A Boys Final - Provine vs Callaway 7:00 PM - 6A Girls Final - Horn Lake vs Greenville 8:30 PM - 6A Boys Final - Starkville vs Meridian Top semi-final perfomances: Boys Zack Carnell, 6-7 center, Ingomar - 32 points and 12 rebounds in Ingomar's 70-56 win over Durant. Lavadius Lyles, 5-9 guard, Forest - 29 points, six three point field goals, in Forest's 81-57 win over Holly Springs. Daron Bell, 6-3 guard, Bay St. Louis - 22 points, 5 three point field goals, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocks in Bay High's 59-54 overtime win over Center Hill. "Deville" Smith, 6-0 guard, Callaway - 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals in Callaway's 62-53 win over McComb. Rashard Perkins, 6-5 forward, Starkville - 21 points, 14 rebounds, 7 blocks, 5 steals and 4 assist in Starkville's 66-51 win over Biloxi. Girls Janairrika Bland, 6-3 center, Raymond - 19 points and 16 rebounds in Raymond's 71-64 win over Lafayette County. Jazmine Spears, 5-11 forward, New Albany - 26 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks in New Albany's 61-44 win over Northeast Lauderdale. Breanna Lewis, 5-8 guard, Greenville - 41 points, 8 three point field goals in Greenville's 60-55 win over Harrison Central. Jasbriell Swain, 5-10 guard, Horn Lake - 21 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 assist in Horn Lake's 56-39 win over Hattiesburg. Other Semi-Final Notes: The match-up between 6-9 Johnny O'Bryant of Cleveland Eastside and 6-7 Devonta Pollard of Kemper County did not disappoint. O'Bryant, a junior, had 19 points and 9 rebounds and led a Cleveland Eastside second half rally with 14 points and 8 rebounds in the second half. Pollard, a sophomore, had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks and was a model of consistency with 9 points and 4 rebounds in the first half and 8 points and 4 rebounds in the second half. O'Bryant is already the object of recruiting interest from high major schools all over the nation while Pollard is the top ranked sophomore in Mississippi and is fast becoming a target of numerous high major programs. Most Intriguing Championship Match-ups: 2A Girls- New Site vs Newton 4A Girls - Raymond vs New Albany 6A Boys - Meridian vs Starkville Check back next week for our wrap-up from the "Big House". We'll name our all state tournament team and give out our all state tournament awards. March 3, 2010 3rd Annual Mississippi Unsigned Senior Showcase The 3rd Annual Mississippi Unsigned Senior Showcase will be held April 10th, 2010 from 9 a.m. – until. Location has not been determined yet. College coaches and Recruiting Scouts will be in attendance. There will be the "SKILLS AND DRILLS" session, where each player is put through drills including shooting, passing and dribbling. Camp entry fee is $85.00 per player and the deadline to enter will be April 5th, 2010. Rising Seniors can also participate in this event!! For more information contact Ted Hutchins @ (601) 842-5178 or thutchi@hotmail.com February 25, 2010 Ex-Alcorn Hoops Coach chosen for college basketball Hall of Fame by The Clarion Ledger Former Alcorn State basketball coach Dave Whitney has been chosen for induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced today. Whitney, 80, posted 550-337 record in 31 years as a head coach, including a five-year stint at Texas Southern and two stops at Alcorn. He first coached the Braves from 1969-88, then returned from 1996-2002. Whitney’s Alcorn teams won 495 games and 12 Southwestern Athletic Conference titles. Two of Whitney’s biggest victories came in 1979, when the Braves beat Mississippi State at Starkville in a National Invitation Tournament game, and then in 1980, when Alcorn beat South Alabama 70-62 to become the first team from a historically black university to win an NCAA Tournament game. Whitney, who lives in Biloxi, will be inducted into the National College Basketball Hall of Fame during ceremonies scheduled for Nov. 21 in Kansas City. Other inductees announced today in this fifth class of the NCB Hall of Fame were former long-time coach Tex Winters and players of some reknown: Jerry West of West Virginia, Sidney Wicks of UCLA, David Thomas of North Carolina State and Christian Laettner of Duke. The NCB Hall of Fame is separate from the Nasmith Basketball Hall of Fame, the shrine that covers professional and college hoops. The NCB Hall of Fame opened five years ago. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches foundation, said the hall of was created to honor players and coaches who might not have won national championships but still made a significant impact on the game. “In Davey Whitney and Tex Winter we have two great coaches who contributed so much to the game,” said Krzyzewski. February 22, 2010 Former Murrah Star Jeremy Wise Update.... by The Clarion Ledger Former Murrah and Southern Miss standout Jeremy Wise is tearing it up as a rookie in the NBA Development League. Playing for the Bakersfield Jam, Wise had two recent games in which he scored 54 points abd dished out 17 assists, compared to only three turnovers. He's scoring 16 points a game, while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the line. Those are the kind of numbers that can get him to the next level, especially if he's defending. February 2, 2010 JUNIOR CLASS IS STILL LOADED IN MAGNOLIA STATE by Clark Francis, Editor & Publisher of the HOOP SCOOP It looks like history is repeating itself in the Magnolia State. First, there was 6'9 Renardo Sidney, who sat out his freshmen year at Piney Wood (H.S.) MS and then transferred to the West Coast, where he played his sophomore season at Artesia High School in Lakewood, CA and his junior and senior seasons at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, CA. And, after being courted strongly by both UCLA and USC, Sidney opted to return home and enroll at Mississippi State, where he is currently waiting for the NCAA to determine the status of his eligibility. And, now there is 6'8 Jr LaQuinton Ross, who started his high school career at Jackson (Callaway) MS, then played a year-and-a-half at Jackson (Murrah) MS, and now is at Burlington (Life Center) NJ, where he hopes to improve academically. And this is important, because either or both of these players might have been included on our First Team All-Time All-State Team, if they had stayed home and played their entire high school career in the state. However, before you start to feel too sorry for our Mississippi Editor Lavel Johnson, it's important to remember that Ross wasn't the state's only big time player in the Class of 2011. "The class is still potentially one of the best ever in the state," says Johnson. "It has a number of good inside players, athletic wings, and outstanding point guards. But it's depth that really makes this a special class. Normally there are two-to-four high Division I players in the state. However, before you start to feel too sorry for our Mississippi Editor Lavel Johnson, it's important to remember that Ross wasn't the state's only big time player in the Class of 2011. "The class is still potentially one of the best ever in the state," says Johnson. "It has a number of good inside players, athletic wings, and outstanding point guards. But it's depth that really makes this a special class. Normally there are two-to-four high Division I players in the state. But this year there are at least eight and maybe as many as 13 high major players in the state." Johnson is talking about 5'11 Jr Marquavius "Deville" Smith from Jackson (Callaway) MS, 6'7 Jr Rodney Hood from Meridian (H.S.) MS, 6'8 Jr Johnny O'Bryant from Cleveland (Eastside) MS, 6'9 Jr Tyler Adams from Brandon (H.S.) MS, 6'5 Jr Ladarius White from McComb (H.S.) MS, 6'6 Jr Mychal Ammons from Vicksburg (H.S.) MS, 6'8 Jr David Gardner from Okolona (H.S.) MS, 6'2 Jr Xavian Rimmer from Piney Woods (H.S.) MS, 6'3 Jr Jarvis Summers from Jackson (Provine) MS, 6'7 Jr Kentwan Smith from Piney Woods (H.S.) MS, 6'6 Jr Daniel Greives from Biloxi (St. Patrick) MS, 6'5 Jr LeAntwan Luckett from Ridgeland (H.S.) MS, and 6'9 Jr Durell Robinson from Mendenhall (H.S.) MS. The class also has plenty of star power, as Smith, Hood, O'Bryant, and Adams are all ranked among the top 50 juniors nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. "And they're all still available," says Johnson. "Smith is a scoring point with deceptive athleticism and jet-like speed and quickness. I think we've got him ranked #22 nationally, which makes him one of the best point guard prospects in the Class of 2011. Hood, White, and Gardner are all long athletic sharp shooting wing players. Adams and O'Bryant are both strong physical specimens inside. Ammons, Grieves, and Luckett are all scoring wings who rely more on power than finesse. Rimmer and Summers are point guards who both excel at getting into the lane. Smith and Robinson are inside guys who can rebound, block shots, and score in the paint. In contrast, the senior class is average at best. It does have four players - 5'9 Andre Stringer from Jackson (Forest Hill) MS to LSU,6'9 DeMarco Cox from Yazoo City (H.S.) MS to Ole Miss, 5'11 Dundrecous Nelson from Jackson (Murrah) MS to Ole Miss, and 6'7 Jalen Courtney from Jackson (Provine) MS to LSU - who have signed with high major schools. But it doesn't have the star power, as is evident by the fact that Stringer and Cox both can be found in the 75-100 range nationally and Nelson and Courtney are both ranked in the 101-200 range nationally. We also think 6'2 Trency Jackson from Jackson (Wingfield) MS and 6'5 Rashard Perkins from Starkville (H.S.) MS are good catches for Southern Miss and 6'0 Edward Townsel from Starkville (H.S.) MS and 6'4 Kesley Howard from Vicksburg (H.S.) MS are a pair of sleepers who are ideally suited for somebody in the Sun Belt and Missouri Valley Conferences. However, after that there is a big drop, as depth is clearly the big weakness of this class. The sophomore class in the state is still taking shape, but it already appears that this is going to be a fertile recruiting grown year-after-next for the stereotypical athlete that still can be found off the beaten path in the Deep South. The top three players - 6'8 Soph Devonta Pollard from Portersville (Kemper County) MS, 6'6 Soph Tymon Howard from Pearl (H.S.) MS, and 6'8 Soph Gavin Ware from Starkville (H.S.) MS - are all good enough to project among the top 50 players nationally. Pollard is a long athletic shot blocking power forward who scores around the rim. Howard is big time scoring wing who also knows how to use his strong body to get to the rim. Ware is a big bodied post player who does all of the dirty work inside. And as long as we're on this theme, also falling into the same mold at Ware is 6'8 Soph Jamal Hester from Ridgeland (H.S.) MS. Johnson also does a great job of looking back over the years and coming up with his First Team All-Time All-State Team, which features three locks in Chris Jackson, who played at LSU and later in the NBA; Monta Ellis, who went straight to the NBA after a stellar career at Jackson (Lanier) MS; and Othello Harrington, who dominated the high school scene during his time at Jackson (Murrah) MS. "The choices for the last two spots on the all-time teams go to two of the greatest scorers to ever come through the Magnolia State," says Johnson. "James Robinson averaged over 40 points per game during his senior year at Jackson Murrah and Purvis Short was a prolific scorer in the early 70's at Hattiesburg Blair before playing at Jackson State and later in the NBA. Just missing the cut for our First Team All-Time All-State Team were Al Jefferson from Prentiss High School and Antonio McDyess from Quitman High School." November 5, 2009 MagnoliaPreps Hoops Preview and Preseason Ranking MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst Lavel Johnson Hoops Preview & Preseason Ranking As the high school football season moves to the playoffs, high school basketball teams are approaching the tip off of their season. With the first games less than a week away it's time to take a look at how the upcoming season looks to shape up and take a look at our Magnoliapreps.com preseason Top 13 Hoop Rankings. This year begins a new era in Mississippi high school sports as the MHSAA moves to six classes instead of the previous five. Creating a new 5A Classification from the top 32 teams in the old 4A Classification and spreading out the remaining teams more evenly throughout 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A. The changes affected basketball even more because with the addition of a new classification the State Tournament changed its format. Whereas in the pass three teams advanced to the state tournament from the North and South State tournaments now only two teams will advance to the coliseum, doing away with the bye for the first place teams and creating a true "Final Four" for each class, and creating another elimination game in the North and South State semi-final games, giving teams one fewer opportunity to recover from a slip up. (So you better bring your "A-Game" every night now.) Our Preseason Rankings (Last season's final record in parentheses) 1) Jackson Provine (27-7) - After falling short of a third straight gold ball in last year's 5A final the Rams will battle this year for that same 5A crown but against a different group of teams and the Rams will go into battle with a new cast of players. The Rams welcome back only two experienced returnees from last years team in 6'7" Senior forward Jalen Courtney and 6'3" Junior guard Jarvis Summers. 6'0" Senior guard Marcellus Hansberry moves over from cross town rival Lanier to team up with Summers to give the Rams one of the best back-court s in the state. Sophomore forwards, 6'4" Roger Wood and 6'5" Raheem Logan will be expected to give quality production in the front-court, while defensive demon Scottie Sterling will provide depth in the back-court. 2) Jackson Callaway (33-6) - The defending 4A and Overall champions appear more than capable of taking home a second straight gold and silver ball. The Chargers will be led by 6'0" Junior guard "Deville" Smith and 6'7" Senior forward Jeverick Nelson. Defensive steward Jason Gibson is the third returning starter for the Chargers while Senior forwards 6'6" Cory Young and 6'4" Malcolm Sanders should give the Chargers solid production. 3) Brandon (28-5) - coming off of their third straight trip to the state tournament the Bulldogs look ready to make a run for a gold ball. The Bulldogs will be led by the outside-inside tandem of 5'9" Senior point guard D.J. Evans and 6'9" Junior center Tyler Adams. 6'2" Senior sharp shooter Caleb Jent, who is injured and will be out until late December, is the third returning starter for the Bulldogs. 6'7" Junior forward Tre Brown and 6'4" Sophomore forward Nelson Adams, Tyler's younger brother, will be counted on to provide interior support. 4) Starkville (23-5) - The Yellowjackets have been one of the winningest programs in the state for the last few years but are still searching for that first gold ball. The Yellowjackets will make a push for the first ever 6A crown behind the Senior duo of 6'4" forward Rashard Perkins and 6'0" point guard Edward Townsel. The seniors will be complimented by 6'8" Sophomore center Gavin Ware. 5) Jackson Wingfield (20-10) - after a strong season last year with a underclassman dominated team the Falcons appear ready to make a run at the 6A championship. Wingfield will be led by 6'2" Senior guard Trency Jackson, who appears poised for a breakout season. Other returning starters are 6'0" Senior guard Jurmond Cottenhead and 6'3" Junior wing JaMichael Hawkins. The Falcons welcome in 6'6" Junior forward Darius Forest, who should give the Falcons front-court more pop. 6) Biloxi (30-3) - Defending 5A champion Indians will be led in their quest for the first ever 6A crown by 6'0" Senior guard Jeremiah Dunnings, one of the state's best shooters. Dunnings will be complimented by the Senior duo of 6'6" center Guy Payne and 6'5" forward Tyler Jones while 6'1" Senior guard Shakelle Borel, 6'1" Junior forward Corey Jackson and 6'6" Junior forward Victor Vertison will be counted on for support. 7) Jackson Lanier (15-10) - The Bulldogs appear poised for a bounce back season. 6'9" Senior center Jordan Cornelius and 6'3" Senior forward Obacus Taylor lead the Bulldogs, they should be complimented by 6'3" Junior guard Alex Thompson, 6'5" Junior forward Kadarilias Kemp and 5'9" Junior guard Greg Lee. 8) Cleveland Eastside (22-12) - Lead by 6'9" Junior center Johnny O'Bryant and 6'0" Senior point guard Ramone Wesley, the Trojans look to carry the torch for the smaller classes. O'Bryant and Wesley will be supported by 6'4" Senior forward Cataviuos Vaughn and 6'5" Senior forward Laquavius Cotton. 9) Meridian (25-5) - Top Players: Rodney Hood 6'7" Jr., Devin Cherry 6'2" Jr., Sidney Coleman 6'6" Jr., Zac Cacapit 6'0" Sr. 10) Ridgeland (26-8) - Top Players: LeAntwan Luckett 6'5" Jr., Donovan Ross 6'5" Jr, Calvin Johnson 6'3" Sr., Jamal Hester 6'8" soph. 11) Vicksburg (22-11) - Top Players: Kesley Howard 6'3" Sr., Michael Ammons 6'6" Jr. 12) McComb (23-10) - Top Players: Ladarrius White 6'5" Soph., Rodrick Bland 6'7" Sr. 13) Forest Hill (29-6) - Top Players: Andre Stringer 5'9" Sr., Richard Deans 6'2" Sr. 6A teams to watch: North 6A looks to be quite interesting with a number of teams appearing capable of making a run for the "Big House", Olive Branch (30-4), Greenville Weston (25-8), Tupelo (21-7) and Jackson Murrah (14-12) all warrant keeping an eye on. In the South, Jackson Jim Hill (18-12), Pascagoula (16-14), Gulfport (19-9) and Harrison Central (11-16) all have promise. 5A teams to watch: New Hope (25-6), Yazoo City (18-14), Wayne County (28-4), Moss Point (23-8) and Long Beach (13-18) appear to be the teams outside the top 13 with the potential to make some noise. 4A Greenwood (19-11) appears to be the class of North 4A but Pontotoc (20-11) and Rosa Fort (29-5) both have enough back to past them up. Bay St. Louis (19-12) looks strong down South but Raymond (24-9) and St. Stanislaus (30-5) appear capable of strong runs also. 3A Aberdeen (19-11) appears to be Eastside's biggest challenger in the North but never count out Ripley (23-5) or Tchula Marshall (24-7) and Jackson Bailey (9-17) promises to be battle tested; In the South, Kemper County (25-11) and Morton (22-7) seem to be the cream of the crop but Perry Central (16-12) , Forest (14-10) and Heidelberg (14-10) all appear capable of making some noise. 2A Defending champion Hinds AHS (33-3) leads a strong pack of South contenders as Newton (24-8), Richton (25-4), Loyd Star (25-4) and Piney Woods (10-18) all appear capable of making a run to the "Big House"; West Bolivar (24-7) looks to be the class of the North while Baldwyn (25-4), Calhoun City (22-13), William Sullivan (25-7), and Hickory Flat (22-12) all look capable of making some noise. 1A Okolona (22-11) and Myrtle (26-13) appear to be the top contenders in the North, but don't count out Ingomar (19-17) or Shaw (23-4); McAdams (21-13) and Durant (25-6) continue to be the class of South 1A but Dexter (22-8) and Sabastapol (19-5) always puts up a challenge. MAIS Madison-Ridgeland Academy (36-4), Jackson Academy (29-7) and Brookhaven Academy (30-10) appear to be the cream of the Independent school ranks. 2009-2010 Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen List Tyler Adams, Brandon, 6-9, Jr. Jalen Courtney, Provine, 6-7, Sr. Demarco Cox, Yazoo City, 6-8, Sr. Rodney Hood, Meridian, 6-8, Jr, Trency Jackson, Wingfield, 6-2, Sr. Dundrecous Nelson, Murrah, 5-10, Sr. Johnny O'Bryant, East Side, 6-9, Jr. Rashad Perkins, Starkville, 6-5, Sr. LaQuinton Ross, Murrah, 6-8. Jr. Marquavius "Deville" Smith, Callaway, 5-10, Jr. Andre Stringer, Forest Hill, 5-8, Sr. LaDarius "Snoop" White, McComb, 6-4, Jr. October 26, 2009 Jackson makes decision BigGoldNation.com Although he was lightly recruited for most of his junior year and during this past summer, when it came down to it Wingfield (Jackson, Miss.) High guard Trency Jackson had plenty of options. With offers from programs like Indiana, Marquette, Missouri, Southern Cal and others, he could have gone pretty much anywhere and played in any league. But, at the end of the day home is where the heart is, and he'll be spending his basketball playing days in Hattiesburg, at Southern Miss. At a press conference at Wingfield High earlier today he announced that he has committed to and plans to sign with Southern Miss next month in the early signing period. "It really came down to USC and USM," Jackson told BigGoldNation.com. Southern Miss and USC seemed to be the leaders of the pack a couple of weeks back when a prior media conference was canceled after Jackson had some factors to reconsider. There was no canceling this time as he announced that he would stay at home and play for Coach Larry Eustachy and the Golden Eagles. Jackson becomes Southern Miss' second commitment of the 2010 class along with Starkville (Miss.) High forward Rashad Perkins. If Jackson and Perkins hold to their commitments and sign with the Eagles, it's a major statement for Larry Eustachy's program. It means the Golden Eagles are finally back, willing and able to compete for the best basketball players the Magnolia State has to offer. October 9, 2009 Perkins Commits to Southern Miss BigGoldNation.com Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy got some good news earlier in the week when Starkville (Miss.) High F/G Rashad Perkins informed the Golden Eagle staff that he would be spending his college years in Hattiesburg. The talented 6-foot-5, 200-pounder has been a fixture in the Starkville line-up since his freshman year. Last year as a junior he averaged 19 ppg, 10 rpg and helped the Yellow Jackets to a 21-5 record making it to the North State Tournament. He told the Starkville Daily News that proximity to home was a big factor in his decision to commit to Southern Miss. "I'm happy that Southern Miss wanted me," Perkins said. "Southern Miss, the way I was looking at it, it's far away but not too far from home. This way, my dad can come see me and I won't have to travel too far to come back home." In addition to Southern Miss, Perkins held offers from Alabama, Missouri and UAB. October 5, 2009 Andre Stringer commits to LSU Jerry Meyer, Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst The No. 1 player in Mississippi's Hoop class of 2010 made his choice today where he would spend the next four years. Andre Stringer, the 5-foot-9 point guard from Jackson Forest Hill High School, and Mississippi's reigning Mr. Basketball, announced that he would be attending LSU on next year at an afternoon press conference at Forest Hill. "I felt like Trent Johnson had my best interest at heart." Stringer said. "At the end of the day I felt like he wanted me the most and I felt like LSU was be the place for me." Ranked No. 1 in our Mississippi class of 2010 rankings, Stringer is the 93rd ranked player in the country in the Rivals.com rankings and is the 22nd ranked point guard. He average 25 points, 7 assists and 3 steals while leading Forest Hill to a 29-6 record and the finals of the 4A State Championship Tournament. Stringer who is already qualified says that he choose LSU over offers from Alabama, Tennessee, Marquette and Southern Cal. August 4, 2009 Cox to hoop in SEC Jerry Meyer, Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Both a high major prospect in football and basketball, Demarco Cox wants to focus on the hardcourt in college, and he has found a court in the SEC that he wants to play on. Cox, a 6-foot-8, 285-pound center from Yazoo City (Miss.) High School might have better future upside in football, but basketball is what he plans to play at Ole Miss. "For right now his focus is on basketball, but you never say never," Yazoo City assistant coach Joffre Washington told Rivals.com while Cox was practicing football with his high school team. "If an opportunity presents itself to transition into football, then he is open to it." Also considering offers from Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee, Cox has found the perfect fit with his home state team. "We went up to team camp during the summer, and he'd been to elite camp the past two years," said Washington. "He met and talked with Coach Kennedy, and they developed a good relationship. He liked the campus and the academics, and with it being a state school, his family and friends won't have to travel too far to watch him play." Cox, who is ranked the No. 62 prospect in the Rivals150, had a strong summer playing for the MBA Hoops team. He is quick off his feet for a player his size and has a nice scoring touch in the lane. July 6, 2009 Courtney Still Solid Jerry Meyer, Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jackson (Miss.) Provine power forward Jalen Courtney is the Tigers' lone commit from the Class of 2010. As such, he has received plenty of attention from the LSU coaching staff as the weeks and months have gone by. Since the three-star prospect committed to the Tigers in early March he has stayed busy, mostly with workouts and drills designed to better prepare him for what he will see in the SEC more than a year from now. "I'm just working out every day in the gym as much as possible," Courtney told TigerBait.com. "I'm in the weight room a lot, too. For the most part I'm working on my ball handling. "I'm really just doing a lot of two-ball stuff. My coach is a NIKE instructor and he showed me a lot of stuff they did at the NIKE All-American game. That includes stuff like handling the ball with tennis balls thrown at you. Stuff like that. That's what I really needed to focus on. I've made a whole lot of progress. "I've always had the jumper. My ball handling was what needed to improve and that's getting where it needs to be." Courtney, who said he is now up to 6-foot-8 and 212-pounds, said he has kept in regular contact with the LSU coaching staff. "I talk to them a lot. I talk to the assistant coaches and coach (Trent) Johnson. I try to talk to them as much as possible. Because of the July thing they haven't been able to do to much, but it's been good. They basically wanted me to work on my perimeter game. They knew I was gonna do that anyways, but they stressed it. Based on the type of position I'm gonna play for them that's what they wanted." Courtney will be attending the Reebok All-American game on Tuesday. He will return from that on July 10, and will leave the next day for the Mississippi North-South All-Star game. After that he will be attending the Peach Jam in Augusta, Georgia. He said LSU coaches would be attending the Reebok and Peach Jam events. The coaches have also been keeping Courtney up to speed on what their other recruiting efforts are consisting of these days. "Actually, they're recruiting one of my best friends. I'm sure you know Andre (Stringer). They tell me about the recruiting progress they're making with everybody. Basically right now we're just waiting on guys to make decisions. "I'm close to a lot of guys on the team, too. Tasmin (Mitchell), Chris (Johnson) ... of them. I've met with them and talked to them about the programs. I asked about their likes and dislikes and it's all positive." Courtney's official visit to Baton Rouge is scheduled for September 12. While he isn't entirely ruling out a change of heart, Courtney said he remains solid in his decision and that it would take a big shake up to steer him away from LSU. "There are some schools that respect my commitment but some others are still thinking there's time for them to slide in," he laughed. "Alabama, Tennessee and Marquette are still coming. Oklahoma, too, but they kind of fell back a little. I'm solid for the most part. The only thing that might change it would be if the coaching staff changed. Something would have to happen with coach Johnson. Other than that I can't think of anything." June 17, 2009 O’Bryant wrapped in Red, White and Blue Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst Cleveland (Miss.) Eastside big man Johnny O'Bryant will take the court tonight in Mendoza, Argentina as a member of the inaugural USA U16 National team. O'Bryant has been in Colorado Springs, Colo. since June 6 preparing to represent his country. After participating in three days of trials which whittled the roster down from 18 to 12, O'Bryant has spent the last week practicing with the team in preparation for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men. The eight-team tournament will feature U16 national teams from the FIBA Americas Zone, which includes North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. Preliminary round-robin play will take place June 17-19, with the top two teams from each preliminary group advancing to the June 20 semifinals. The gold and bronze medal games will be contested June 21. The USA has been placed in Group A along with Brazil, Puerto Rico and Venezuela; while Group B consists of host Argentina, Bahamas, Canada and Mexico. Opening against Brazil on June 17 (5:00 p.m. EDT), the U.S. will face Venezuela on June 18 (1:00 p.m. EDT) and will close out preliminary round play against Puerto Rico on June 19 (5:00 p.m. EDT). A 6-foot-10 bundle of energy, O'Bryant is one of the top ranked players in the class of 2011, ranking no. 9 in the Rival class of 2011 rankings. A hard worker on the glass, O'Bryant has worked to be more than just a rebounder and defender recently displaying impressive moves off the dribble and a nice turnaround jumper inside. After returning from participating for his country O'Bryant will be rejoining his Jackson Tigers AAU team for trips to North Augusta, South Carolina for the NIKE Peach Jam and Orlando, Florida for the AAU National Championships. June 5, 2009 AAU State Hoops Tourney Wrap-Up Lavel Johnson MagnoliaPreps.com Basketball Analyst AAU state tourney action concluded a few weeks ago with champions being crowned for 2009 in age groups for 12 & under thru 17 & under. While the 16 & under and 17 & under tourneys came down to a battle between two veteran AAU clubs which are old rivals the 14 & under and 15 & under tourneys saw a fresh new face flex its muscle. 17 & Under Tourney For the fourth straight year the Jackson Panthers and the Jackson Tigers met in the finals of this age group with the Panthers taking home the Gold the last two years. The first quarter saw the two teams attempt to feel each other out with the Tigers holding a slight 15-13 lead at the end of the stanza. The first big moment of the game arose in the first minutes of the second quarter. Already minus the services of swingman Kelvin Nixon, who was injured in Saturday pool play action, the Panthers leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson picked up his second foul of the game, sending him to the bench for the remainder of the first half. With Nelson out of the game the Panthers struggled to score and keep pace with the bigger and deeper Tigers, falling behind 41-32 at the half. Nelson's return at the start of the third quarter seemed to recharge the Panthers as they came charging back, taking a 53-52 lead into the fourth. The Panthers held a 57-56 lead with just over 5 minutes left when the Tigers went on a 7-0 run to take a 63-57 lead with 2:29 left and seemed to have the game pretty much in hand when Nelson fouled out about 30 seconds later. The Panthers, however, had one more push in them, cutting the deficit to 3 with 49 seconds left, but 4 free throws and a Rashard Perkins slam proved to be too much for the Panthers to overcome as the Jackson Tigers took home the title by a final score of 72-66. The Tigers were led by the backcourt duo of Andre Stringer and Edward Townsel with 20 and 13 points respectively, but as mentioned earlier one of the Tigers' strengths is their depth and this was displayed in the rest of their scoring as Rashard Perkins scored 11, Johnny O'Bryant scored 8, Tyler Adams scored 6 and Trency Jackson scored 7. For the Panthers, Dundrecus Nelson poured in a game high 30 points followed by Desmond Haymon with 14. In the consolation game the Mississippi Ballers captured third with an 83-69 win over the North Mississippi Wildcats. The Ballers were led by LeAntwan Luckett with 22 points as they blew open a close game in the second half. Supporting Luckett were Trey Felder with 15, Dantonio Evans with 10 and Demarcus Lewis with 10. The Wildcats were led by Brandon Blake with 13 points. Semi-Final Scores Jackson Panthers 71 North Mississippi Wildcats 54 Leading scorers: Panthers: Nelson 20, Haymon 22, Cook 13 Wildcats: Green 19, Blake 14, Harrelson 11 Jackson Tigers 84 Mississippi Ballers 74 Leading Scorers Tigers: Jackson 23, Perkins 17, Adams 15, Stringer 13 Ballers: Childs 16, Evans 14, Luckett 12 16 & Under Tourney The Jackson Tigers and Jackson Panthers hooked up in this final also and The Jackson Tigers made it a clean sweep of the older age groups with a 68-55 win as the Panthers succumbed to the Tigers size in the second half after playing them even in the first half. The Southern Phenoms took home third when Da House forfeited the consolation game. This was one of three high finishes for the "new kid on the block" Southern Phenoms organization, which was competing in its first years of AAU competition. In the semis the Jackson Tigers held off the Southern Phenoms by a score of 53-49 while the Jackson Panthers defeated Da House 64-42 in a double overtime thriller. 15 & Under Tourney The Southern Phenoms captured their first state championship by way of a tie-breaker over The Jackson Tigers and the Byram Ballers. With only five entries, the teams were all just placed in a single pool with the intent being that the first thru third place finishes would be awarded based on how the teams finished in pool play, but after the games had been played the three teams listed above all finished with a 3-1 record, resulting in the champion being named by a tie-breaker based on the point differential in the games played between the three teams. The Jackson Tigers were awarded second while The Byram Ballers finished third. 14 & Under Tourney Champion: Southern Phenoms Runner-up: Jackson Tigers Third: Byram Ballers Championship: Southern Phenoms 55 Jackson Tigers 50 Consolation: Byram Ballers 61 Louisiana Ball Stars Elite 58 in OT 13 & Under Tourney Champion: Desoto County Wildcats Runner-up: Northeast MS Ballers Championship: Desoto County Wildcats 54 Northeast MS Ballers 43 12 & Under Tourney Champion: MBA Hoops Runner-up: New Orleans Storm Third: Northeast MS Ballers May 19, 2009 Nelson to SEC By Jerry Meyer, Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Rivals150 prospect Dundrecous Nelson, who is on his way back to 100 percent from injuries suffered in an automobile injury, has found his future home in the SEC. Nelson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound athletic combo guard from Jackson (Miss.) Murrah High School will stay in-state and play for Ole Miss. “Dundrecous wanted to play in the SEC, which we consider the Mecca of conferences right now,” said Nelson’s travel team coach Lemond Roy of the Jackson Panthers. “They have been recruiting him for two years, and he really enjoyed his visit there.” Nelson, who was also recruited by Alabama, Mississippi State, Arkansas and UAB, hopes to take over where Chris Warren leaves off. “Chris Warren will be a senior when Dundreceous gets there, and it’s such a big transition, it will be a great situation for Dundrecous to play the back up role,” said Roy. “He will learn a lot from Chris and also get some minutes as a freshman. Then the plan is for Chris to pass the torch off to Dundreceous.” After averaging 17 points per game as a junior, Nelson found his stride this past weekend when he scored 30 points in an AAU state final loss to the Jackson Tigers. Highly ranked Murrah guard casts lot with Ole Miss TODD KELLY • TKELLY@CLARIONLEDGER.COM • MAY 20, 2009 Ole Miss has been making the biggest recruiting push for Murrah basketball star Dundrecous Nelson. That effort paid off Tuesday night when Nelson verbally committed to the Rebels. Nelson, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, plans to make his choice official during the early signing period in November. A preseason Dandy Dozen pick last fall, Nelson averaged 17.2 points, 3.4 assists and 3 steals en route to third-team All-Metro honors for the Mustangs. He also attracted interest from Mississippi State, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas State, UAB and USC. "Ole Miss recruited me the hardest," Nelson said. "Coach (Andy) Kennedy has a lot of energy. I like their style of play. I think I'll be able to adapt to it." A spectacular leaper with tremendous quickness, Nelson is ranked as the nation's No. 110 prospect in the Class of 2010 by HoopScoopOnline.com, a recruiting site based in Louisville, Ky. Nelson was also considered a Division I prospect as a wide receiver/defensive back before giving up football last season. Nelson's commitment is a breakthrough of sorts for Kennedy, who'll be entering his fourth season in Oxford next fall. "Dundrecous liked the coaches at Ole Miss and wanted to stay in Mississippi, so he decided to go on and get it out of the way," said LeMond Roy, Nelson's summer-circuit coach with the Jackson Panthers. "He wanted to be the first Mississippi player to sign with Ole Miss since Coach Kennedy's been there. Maybe he can open up an avenue for more Mississippi players to go to Ole Miss." Nelson's junior season ended after he sustained a skull fracture in a one-vehicle accident Jan. 23 near Murrah's campus. Nelson, who's back playing basketball, said Tuesday he's "about 90 percent" recovered. Nelson's teammate, Chris Ulmer, died in the accident but no charges are expected to be filed against Nelson, who was driving the SUV. Nelson is the second junior in Mississippi to commit, following Provine forward Jalen Courtney (LSU). March 6, 2009 CenterCourt Basketball Senior/JUCO Showcase The 2nd Annual CenterCourt Basketball Senior/JUCO showcase will be held April 10th and 11th at the Wesley Seminary College in Florence MS. Wesley College is located on Highway 49 South (if you are coming from the Tennessee area) and North (from the Louisiana area), 11 miles south of Jackson MS. A map will be provided. Coaches from the southern and midwest regions will be in attendance. April 10th will be the "SKILLS AND DRILLS" session, where each player is put through drills including shooting, passing and dribbling. This session will begin at 6:00 p.m. April 11th players will be assigned to teams of 8 man rosters with a minimum of 3 games. Time permitting; there will be an all-star selection and two 10 man roster teams who will play in a 20 minute game. Entry fee is $70.00 which includes two days of camp exposure and a T-Shirt. Please complete the application (name, address, height, weight, school, GPA, classification "senior or JUCO") and submit a $35.00 deposit for your pre-registration fee. Deadline for entry is April 3rd, 2009. We are only accepting 55 players for this camp so sign up early!! For more information contact Ted Hutchins (601) 842-5178 or thutchi@hotmail.com or www.centerbasketball.com March 4, 2009 Mississippi High School All-Star Basketball Game (boys roster) Rosters were chosen Wednesday for the annual game, which is slated for July 11 at Mississippi College. North Boys — Jordan Cornelius, 6-9, Lanier; Jalen Courtney, 6-7, Provine; DeMarco Cox, 6-7, Yazoo City; Ife Eke, 6-5, Northwest Rankin; Desmond Haymon, 6-4, Williams-Sullivan; Kelsey Howard, 6-3, Vicksburg; Dundrecous Nelson, 5-10, Murrah; Jeverik Nelson, 6-7, Callaway; Rashad Perkins, 6-5, Starkville; Jeffery Simmons, 6-1, Greenwood; Edward Townsel 6-0, Starkville; Ramone Wesley, 6-0, Cleveland East Side. Coaches — Greg Carter, Starkville; Leroy Cotton, Cleveland East Side. South Boys — T.J. Amos, 6-4, Richton; Antonio Benton, 6-6, Oak Grove; Reshad Bickham, 6-6, Jim Hill; Dwayne Bingham, 6-4, Newton; Jeremiah Dunnings, 6-0, Biloxi; Trency Jackson, 6-2, Wingfield; Caleb Jett, 6-2, Brandon; Marcus McGee, 6-6, Brookhaven; Kevin Nixon, 6-3, Heidelberg; Keeslee Stewart, 5-8, Hinds AHS; Andre Stringer, 5-8, Forest Hill; Michael Young, 6-2, McLaurin. Coaches — Ron Norman, Wayne County; Crandal Porter, Newton.

February 3, 2009 Ex-Murrah Star Trey Johnson is headed to the NBA The Cleveland Cavaliers are scheduled to sign former Murrah and Jackson State star Trey Johnson to a 10-day contract today. Johnson, a 6-6 guard and an All-Metro pick for the Mustangs in 2002, had been averaging more than 20 points per game for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA's Developmental League. Once he takes the floor for the Cavs, Johnson will be the 18th alumnus of Jackson Public Schools to play in an NBA regular-season game. Here's the list (courtesy of basketball-reference.com) in reverse chronological order from when the players began their careers in the league: Monta Ellis, Lanier (no college): 2006-current Justin Reed, Provine (Ole Miss): 2005-07 Maurice Williams, Murrah (Alabama): 2004-current Maurice Carter, Forest Hill (LSU): 2004 Tang Hamilton, Lanier (Mississippi State): 2002 Othella Harrington, Murrah (Georgetown): 1997-08 Ryan Lorthridge, Murrah (Jackson State): 1995 Lindsey Hunter, Murrah (Jackson State): 1994-current James Robinson, Murrah (Alabama): 1994-2001 Joe Courtney, Callaway (Southern Miss): 1993-97 Lancaster Gordon, Jim Hil (Louisville)l: 1985-88 Audie Norris, Jim Hill (Jackson State): 1983-85 Sylvester Norris, Jim Hill (Jackson State): 1980 Harvey Catchings, Jim Hill (Hardin-Simmons): 1975-85 Cornell Warner, Lanier (Jackson State): 1971-77 A.W. Holt, Brinkley (Jackson State): 1971 Plummer Lott, Jim Hill (Seattle University): 1967-69 December 25, 2008 Texas Tech sign's ICC's Jenkins MagnoliaPreps.com Theron Jenkins, a 6-foot-6, 211-pound forward from Itawamba Community College, was one of Texas Tech's four basketball signees during the NCAA early signing period. "I just felt that Texas Tech was the place for me to go," said Jenkins, who has started each of the first 12 games of this season for the Indians. "I liked everything I saw at Texas Tech and I really like the style of basketball under Coach (Pat) Knight." The former NW Rankin High School standout is averaging 15 points, six rebounds and three assists for head coach Marty Cooper's club, who has won six straight and is 9-3 this season. A role player behind a sophomore laden starting lineup, Jenkins averaged seven points and four rebounds per game as a freshman for the 30-4 ICC Indians, who captured the division, state and regional championships. "This is really a big deal for Theron and our program," said Cooper, who said he has a great deal of respect for Coach Knight's program at Texas Tech."Playing in the Big 12, Theron will get a chance to compete against some of the nation's best players and programs. And this is yet another example we'll show our recruits of an ICC player signing with and competing in one of the NCAA's elite conferences.

October 14, 2008 Nelson drawing offers Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst The state of Mississippi is loaded with talented underclassmen. One of those prospects is 2010 point guard Dundrecous Nelson who has offers from five regional schools. At this point Alabama, Arkansas, UAB, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have offered the ultra athletic 5-foot-11, 180-pound guard from Jackson (Miss.) Murrah High School. According to his travel team coach LeMond Roy of the Jackson Panthers, Alabama, Ole Miss and UAB were the first to make their way to Murrah High School this fall, and it just so happens that these three schools are at the top of Nelson's school list. Mississippi State, Arkansas, Kansas State and USC round out Nelson's school list. Both Mississippi State and USC checked in on Nelson last week. Although small in stature, Nelson's athleticism and scoring ability allow him to play both guard positions. "I haven't seen a kid be able to stay in front of Dundrecous," said Coach Roy. "If he wants to get to the basket he gets to the basket. He shoots it well enough right now where defenders can't just play off him, but I expect his shot to continue to get better." Nelson is the No. 119 ranked prospect in the Rivals150. September 29, 2008 Isiah Canaan Chooses Murray State After a weekend visit to the Murray State campus 6'0" Biloxi (Miss.) HS PG Isiah Canaan has decided to become a Racer. A quality floor general who possesses a strong handle, a quick first step and a solid jumper with three point range, Canaan should garner floor time quickly with the Racers. "I really connected with the coaches and players." said Canaan "The character of the coaches really stood out to me and how that character runs throughout the program. I like how the community and city rally around the school." A Biloxi Sun-Herald All-South Mississippi pick last season, Canaan averaged 18 points and 6 assist per game while leading Biloxi High School to a 25-7 record and a state tournament appearance. Canaan chose the Racers over Tulane, Arkansas State, New Orleans and South Alabama. He previously took visits to Arkansas State and Tulane. September 24, 2008 Shaunessy Smith Decides on Bulldogs "I just committed 2 Mississippi State-Shaunessy Smith" read the text received last night. After watching as Smith took a visit to Southern Cal a couple of weekends ago the Bulldog staff moved swiftly to lock up their top instate priority. Besides USC Smith was also recruited by Baylor and Clemson. "Probably the biggest factor in Shaun's decision was the fact that Mississippi State is close to home and he wanted to keep a close relationship with his family." Said Noxubee County head coach T. J. Billups, a former Mississippi State player. "He's very comfortable with the coaches and players up there. Mississippi State has been recruiting him the longest but they never pressured him to commit early, they just let him decide at his on pace." A smooth athletic wing scorer, who can beat you shooting the three or attacking the rim, Smith averaging 25.1 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg and 2 spg last season for a 22-11 team, but missed much of the spring/summer circuit with a hip injury. Smith is Mississippi State's first commitment in the 2009 recruiting class.
September 8, 2008 Middle Tennessee snares 2nd Magnolia commitment Following a weekend visit to the Blue Raiders' Murfreesboro, Tennessee campus 6-foot-7 PF Jontaveous Sulton of Yazoo City decided to cast his lot with the Sun Belt program. "Jontaveous really felt comfortable with the whole situation." said Yazoo City assistant coach Jodfrey Washington, "He got a chance to interact with the staff and players and he just felt really at home there." Sulton who averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game last year is an athletic 4 man who could eventually play facing the goal. A strong rebounder who finishes well around the rim, Sulton also received interest from Tulane, Murray State, Jacksonville State, UAB and South Alabama. Sulton becomes the Blue Raiders third commitment for the class of 2009 and the second from Mississippi, joining 6'2" SG John David Little of Olive Branch, who committed about a month ago.
August 7, 2008 Magnolia Teams Impress from Coast to Coast With the conclusion of the AAU 17 and Under nationals last week in Orlando, quite possibly the most successful summer travel team season ever for our Magnolia State teams came to a close. Magnolia State teams placed in three separate divisions at AAU Nationals, with two others making finals appearances in the Classic (consolation) tournament. The top story coming out of AAU Nationals is the Jackson Panthers' medal finish at the 17 and Under AAU National Tournament. For the tournament the Panthers posted a 7-2 record advancing all the way to the eighth place medal game where they fell by two to finish thirteenth, AAU awards medals to the top fourteen place finishers at nationals. What made the Panthers' finish such a big deal is that, by this writers recollection, the Panthers' medal finish is the first ever medal finish in the 17 and under division for a Magnolia State team. With the 17 and Under Tournament being the last one to be played out of the 15, 16 and 17 year old age groups The Panthers' finish served to cap off Mississippi's best year ever on the AAU National scene. At the AAU 16 and Under National Tournament the Madison County based Mississippi Ballers placed twelfth. The Ballers, posting a 7-2 record for the tournament, advanced all the way to the eighth place medal game but had to settle for twelfth after having to depart early to catch their flight. While the Ballers were holding it down in the National Tourney the Jackson Panthers Select were making a run in the 16 and Under Classic. Five straight wins in the Classic put the Panthers in the Classic championship game where they finally ran out of gas finishing second with a final record of 6-3 for the Tournament. The AAU 15 and Under National Tournament presented similar but better results, as one Magnolia Squad placed while another had a strong performance in the Classic. The Jackson Tigers stared the summer portion of the travel team season off for the Magnolia State teams with a fifth place finish at the AAU 15 and Under Nationals. The Tigers posted a 7-1 record for the tournament with their only loss being a close call to the eventual national champion Memphis Stallions in the quarterfinals. The Tigers regrouped following that slip to reel of two more wins to secure their fifth place finish. Also finishing strong in the 15 and under division was the Northeast Mississippi based "Da House Lighthouse" squad who captured the championship of the Classic Tournament. After a disappointing 1-2 finish in pool play the "House" caught fire in the Classic running off five straight wins to take the championship. Congratulations go out to each of the players and coaches for each of the teams. Great job guys! An outstanding year on the AAU national scene it was. Others teams participating in AAU Nationals were Jackson Gators (13), Meridian Elite (14), Jackson Tigers (16) & (17)
July 14, 2008 Battle at the Bluff: day one Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst MEMPHIS- Many of the first day games were lopsided affairs at the Battle at the Bluff, with the intriguing match ups slated for day two. The most entertaining game of day one came in the 16-under bracket when the Jackson Panthers Select defeated Memphis Select. In a game marked by athleticism no player stood out more than Panthers' guard Dundrecous Nelson who shook up the house with a couple thunderous dunks in traffic. Nelson also mixed in a three-pointer and dropped off several nice assist passes on the break. He finished with 15 points. Nelson does need to tighten his handle and refine his shot, but he has the upside to work his way into four-star status in the 2010 class. He already claims offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss and UAB and is getting interest from Oklahoma and Clemson. Arkansas presently sits at the top of his list. Four-star point guard Andre Stringer, who normally runs with the Jackson Tigers but is with the Panthers at this tournament, might not have the athletic upside of Nelson, but when it comes to making plays right now, Stringer gets it done. He gets great elevation on his confident jumper and has the upper body strength to make plays in the lane. He scored 12 points in the win and made a number of impressive interior passes on the drive. Stringer is getting the heaviest interest from Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Florida State. Holding down the middle for the Panthers is power forward Jalen Courtney, who scored 13 points. Courtney has a top four of Arkansas (offer), Missouri, Ole Miss and Oklahoma. He favors Missouri because of the speed and intensity of their style of play. Leading the Panthers in scoring was left handed shooting guard Desmond Haymon who fired in 21 points with four three-pointers and some crafty drives to the basket. For Memphis Select 2011 prospect Cedrick McAfee is a prospect to keep an eye on. A strong athlete who can also shoot the ball, McAfee dropped in 17 points. Go West Young Man Most of the state's top summer programs focus on AAU nationals but others prefer to travel the non-AAU travel team circuit This is the route that MBA Hoops choose to travel. While the rest of the Magnolia state teams were trying to win an AAU National Championship MBA Hoops traveled out west to participate in more exposure oriented tournaments. MBA participated in the Adidas 64 Tournament in Las Vegas, posting a 3-1 tournament record, and in the Duel in the Desert Tournament in Phoenix(3-2 record), and while MBA didn't win any championships they did garner a lot of exposure for their stable of talented underclassmen.
Class of 2011 strength on display The strong finishes for the two 15 and under teams, who finished one and two in the AAU 15 and Under State Tournament, served as a strong example of the strength of the Class of 2011 in Mississippi. Further reinforcing that strength is that while these two teams were Playing at AAU Nationals two more 15 and under Magnolia squads were in Memphis at the "Battle at the Bluff" facing off in the semifinals of the 15 and under bracket of that tournament. MBA Hoops and the Jackson Panthers were both among the five Mississippi teams that qualified for AAU nationals, the Jackson Celtics being the fifth, but decided to take the shorter less expensive trip just up the road to Memphis. MBA Hoops captured a four point win over the Jackson Panthers and went on to finish second, with a 5-1 overall record, to a strong Memphis YOMCA squad. The Panthers finished 3-2 with the two losses being to the two finalists by four and two points. With the close of summer activity its time to revisit our player rankings. Keep watch for an updated list soon. Hoops Preview & Preseason Rankings By Lavel Johnson 10-29-07 Balls are bouncing in gyms around the state as teams prepare for the season ahead, and with the start of that season upon us it’s time to take a look at how it is shaping up. Come inside as we release our Magnoliapreps.com top 13 preseason rankings and take a look at the teams to beat in each class. As usual the 5A and 4A divisions boast an array of talented teams. 5A boast a strong group of teams at the top but only has a handful of teams which are truly championship contenders. 4A on the other hand is the deepest division with more quality teams and championship contenders than any other division, that is even more so the case this year as former 5A contenders Moss Point and Forest Hill move to the 4A ranks. Our preseason Rankings Last season’s final record in parentheses 1. Provine(26-10); Coach Luther Riley’s defending 5A State Champion Rams hold down the top spot in our rankings and are loaded for another championship run. The Rams welcome back a talented group of players led by 6’4” Sr. Scottie Haralson, 6’6” Jr. Emory Kelly and 6’7” Soph. Jalen Courtney. Coach Riley added to that group of returnees bringing in 6’2” Jr. Carl Blair, a talented transfer from Houston, Texas, in what shaped up as essentially a late summer trade for Soph. forward Stephon Smith, who moved to Texas. 2. New Hope(32-6); Last year’s 4A State Tournament runner-ups, the Trojans actually finished ranked ahead of the Rams in last season’s final rankings. New Hope is led by the senior foursome of 6’9” Rashanti Harris, 6’2” Dale Hughes, 6’0 Ray Knight and 6’4” Kendrick Bush. The foursome will be entering their third season together as starters and are seeking a third straight appearance in the Big House where they will seek to take home that elusive 4A state championship. 3. Lanier(39-3); Anyone that knows anything about high school hoops in this state knows that the route to a No. 1 ranking in this state goes through the Bulldogs of Lanier, the defending 4A State Tournament and Grand Slam champions. Despite losing last year’s player of the year, R.L. Horton, as well as two more starters, Lanier brings back more than enough firepower to challenge for a title. Lanier will be led this year by a trio of returning seniors starters, 6’5” Lamar Williams, 6’5” Thurley Love and 6’3” Terry Church (I know that adds up to six starters but so what, sue me.). Added to this group is talented 6’0” sophomore Marcellus Hansberry, a transfer from Terry as the Bulldogs look for their 4th straight 4A state championship. 4. Forest Hill(26-11); The Rebels look to build off of their 5A State Tournament runner-up finish of last year as they drop to 4A this season. Top players: Terrell Kennedy 6’5” Sr.; Andre Stringer 5’10” Soph.; Joshua Moore 6’2” Sr. 5. Starkville(30-3); Top Players: Latavious Williams 6’8” Sr.; Chris Brand 6’8” Jr.; Jonathan Harris 6’3” Sr. 6. Oxford(29-8); Top Players: Justin Gilliard 6’4” Sr; Dan Hicks 6’6” Jr;Kenny Mullins 6’4” Sr; Keith Searcy 6’4” Jr. 7. Picayune(30-6); Top Players: Chris Dees 6’5” Sr.; Brandon Fortenberry 6’2” Sr.; Ben Daly 6’5” Sr 8. Moss Point(17-9); Top Players: Travis Rasco 6’5” Sr.; Travis Jackson 6’7” Sr.; Rod Little 6’1” Sr; Avery Ingram 6’2” Sr. 9. St. Stanislaus(29-9); Top Players: Pedro Maciel 6’0” Jr.; Thomas Camargo 6’6” Jr. 10. Madison Central(21-13); Top Players: Jeremy Adams 6’2” Jr.; Sylvester Collins 6’8” Sr; Jacoby Pittman 6’9” Sr. 11. Humphreys County(28-9); Top Players: Brandon Mitchell 6’2” Sr.; Michael Starks 6’7” Jr.; Lonnie Contrell 6’5” Jr. 12. Meridian(20-10); Top Players: Anthony Scott 6’4” Sr.; Deshun Carter 6’5” Jr. 13. Wingfield(26-10); Top Players: Chris Wallace 6’2” Sr.; Ananza Richardson 6’3” Sr. 5A teams to watch: Brandon(26-10), Gulfport(26-9), Murrah(16-16) and Olive Branch(29-1) 4A teams to watch: Northeast Lauderdale(25-10), Callaway(8-19), Yazoo City(22-12), Canton(23-9), Vicksburg(19-12), Nouxbee County(17-13), McComb(27-7), Mendenhall(25-7), Greenwood(24-8) 3A Humphreys County gives 3A a quality representative in the top 13 rankings and right behind them is Pass Christian(28-7) which comes down from the 4A ranks. Others to watch are: Jefferson County(25-7), Nettleton(21-8), Columbia(25-8) and Cleveland Eastside(16-17) 2A Along with 4A 2A year in and year has a deep, competitive field of teams. Last year was a great example of this as the 2A state tournament was by far the most exciting tournament of the 5 played, with every game going to the wire. Defending champion Scott Central(26-12) returns with a solid cast to again challenge for the gold ball. Hinds AHS(29-5) comes off of a strong season that fell short of the Big House, at the hands of Scott Central, but again is one of the favorites. Defending 3A champion Forest(32-5) drops to 2A this season and has to be considered in the mix also. Others to watch are: Piney Woods(21-4), Taylorsville(23-10, Newton(24-10), Tchula Marshall(28-9), and Hollandale Simmons(25-7) 1A Myrtle(33-7) looks to finish unfinished business after falling in the 1A state championship game last season. Their biggest challenges looks to come from Shelby Broadstreet(32-6), which moved down from the 2A ranks, in the north and Mount Olive(20-10) in the south.


Former Mississippi high school players (post-season collegiate awards):

Trey Johnson, 6’5”, Guard, Jackson State, Murrah H.S., Jackson, MS  
Player of the Year, 1st Team All-SWAC 

Charles Rhodes, 6’8”, Forward, Mississippi State, Lanier H.S., Jackson, MS 
2nd Team All-SEC  

Jeremy Wise, 6’2”, Guard, Southern Miss, Murrah H.S., Jackson, MS 
Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, 2nd Team All-Conference USA,
1st Team Conference USA ALL Freshman Team

Stanford Speech, 6’2”, Guard, Mississippi Valley State, 
Jim Hill H.S., Jackson, MS. – 1st Team All-SWAC
  
Isaac Wells, 6’8”, Forward, Arkansas State, Lanier H.S., Jackson, MS
2nd Team All-Sun Belt

Courtney Bradley, 6’5”, Forward, Jacksonville State, Raymond H.S., Utica, MS 
1st Team All-Ohio Valley Conference

William Byrd, 6’7”, Forward, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, West Tallahatchie H.S., Webb, MS. 
1st Team All-SWAC 

Delvin Thompson, 6’2”, Guard, Alcorn State, Jefferson County H.S., Fayette, 
MS 2nd Team All-SWAC

Lamar Sanders, 6’6”, Forward, Lamar, Hickory Flat H.S., Hickory, MS
Newcomer of the Year, 2nd Team All-Southland

Kevin Sims, 5’10”, Guard, Tulane, Forest Hill H.S., Jackson, MS 
1st Team Conference USA ALL Freshman Team

Congratulations go out to all these young men for a job well done.

State Tournament Notes - 02/28/07 
Jackson Public Schools sent an astonishing nine teams (six boys and three girls) to the Coliseum. 
Now comes the hard part...taking home some hardware.>

Starkville and New Hope held up well for Northeast Mississippi last week, as each, playing at 
home, took a win over a ranked JPS opponent to win the North 5A and 4A state tournaments respectively. 
Now the question is can they do it again in the “Big House”?

Shelby Broad Street has defeated Coahoma County three times in four games this season but 
with all the marbles on the line can the Jaguars deny the Red Panthers their third straight state
championship.

The 3A tournament promises to be an exciting event with a number of evenly matched teams
participating and the season for 3A went much the same. But despite the competitiveness of the 
division no team has stepped up to rise into the rankings. The question is can one team step up 
to put itself in the conversation of top teams in the state.

R.L. Horton and Ravern Johnson both have a lot on the line. Not only is each seeking a third
straight state crown but how each performs in the “Big House” could go a long way in helping decide
who wins this year’s Mr. Basketball award.

Just as Horton and Johnson are posied to state their case for this year’s Mr. Basketball a number 
of Juniors have center stage to start their campaign for next years Mr. Basketball. Keep an eye on 
6’4” WG Scottie Haralson of Provine, 6’7” F/C Latavious Williams of Starkville and 6’9” F/C Rashanti
Harris of New Hope

Notes by Lavel Johnson

Recruiting Updates as of 03/13/07

6’8” WF Brandon Crooks of Genesis One has committed to Southern Mississippi.

6’6” WF Jenirro Bush of East Okitbbeha H.S. has committed to Arkansas.

6’0” WG Cord Jones of Hernando has committed to Jackson State.

6'7" Forward Wesley Jones from Pearl River Community College committed to Ole Miss.

6'1" PG/WG John Sexton from West Union H.S. committed to William & Mary.

Mississippi Early Period Signees....

Raven Johnson 6'7" WF Coahoma County H.S. - Clarksdale
Mississippi State University

Maurice Bolden 6'9" PF Wingfield H.S. - Jackson
University of Southern Mississippi

Robin Sykes 6'8" PF Saint Martin H.S. - Biloxi
North Carolina Wilmington

Darryl Arnold 6'5" WF Piney Woods H.S.
Southeastern Louisiana University

Xavier Ruth 6'3" WG Shannon H.S. - Shannon
Delta State University

Horace McGloster 6'7" WF Genesis One Prep - Mendenhall
University of Houston

Javon Moses 6'8" PF Genesis One Prep - Mendenhall
Duquesene

October 14, 2008 Nelson drawing offers Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst The state of Mississippi is loaded with talented underclassmen. One of those prospects is 2010 point guard Dundrecous Nelson who has offers from five regional schools. At this point Alabama, Arkansas, UAB, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have offered the ultra athletic 5-foot-11, 180-pound guard from Jackson (Miss.) Murrah High School. According to his travel team coach LeMond Roy of the Jackson Panthers, Alabama, Ole Miss and UAB were the first to make their way to Murrah High School this fall, and it just so happens that these three schools are at the top of Nelson's school list. Mississippi State, Arkansas, Kansas State and USC round out Nelson's school list. Both Mississippi State and USC checked in on Nelson last week. Although small in stature, Nelson's athleticism and scoring ability allow him to play both guard positions. "I haven't seen a kid be able to stay in front of Dundrecous," said Coach Roy. "If he wants to get to the basket he gets to the basket. He shoots it well enough right now where defenders can't just play off him, but I expect his shot to continue to get better." Nelson is the No. 119 ranked prospect in the Rivals150. September 29, 2008 Isiah Canaan Chooses Murray State After a weekend visit to the Murray State campus 6'0" Biloxi (Miss.) HS PG Isiah Canaan has decided to become a Racer. A quality floor general who possesses a strong handle, a quick first step and a solid jumper with three point range, Canaan should garner floor time quickly with the Racers. "I really connected with the coaches and players." said Canaan "The character of the coaches really stood out to me and how that character runs throughout the program. I like how the community and city rally around the school." A Biloxi Sun-Herald All-South Mississippi pick last season, Canaan averaged 18 points and 6 assist per game while leading Biloxi High School to a 25-7 record and a state tournament appearance. Canaan chose the Racers over Tulane, Arkansas State, New Orleans and South Alabama. He previously took visits to Arkansas State and Tulane. September 24, 2008 Shaunessy Smith Decides on Bulldogs "I just committed 2 Mississippi State-Shaunessy Smith" read the text received last night. After watching as Smith took a visit to Southern Cal a couple of weekends ago the Bulldog staff moved swiftly to lock up their top instate priority. Besides USC Smith was also recruited by Baylor and Clemson. "Probably the biggest factor in Shaun's decision was the fact that Mississippi State is close to home and he wanted to keep a close relationship with his family." Said Noxubee County head coach T. J. Billups, a former Mississippi State player. "He's very comfortable with the coaches and players up there. Mississippi State has been recruiting him the longest but they never pressured him to commit early, they just let him decide at his on pace." A smooth athletic wing scorer, who can beat you shooting the three or attacking the rim, Smith averaging 25.1 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg and 2 spg last season for a 22-11 team, but missed much of the spring/summer circuit with a hip injury. Smith is Mississippi State's first commitment in the 2009 recruiting class.
September 8, 2008 Middle Tennessee snares 2nd Magnolia commitment Following a weekend visit to the Blue Raiders' Murfreesboro, Tennessee campus 6-foot-7 PF Jontaveous Sulton of Yazoo City decided to cast his lot with the Sun Belt program. "Jontaveous really felt comfortable with the whole situation." said Yazoo City assistant coach Jodfrey Washington, "He got a chance to interact with the staff and players and he just felt really at home there." Sulton who averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game last year is an athletic 4 man who could eventually play facing the goal. A strong rebounder who finishes well around the rim, Sulton also received interest from Tulane, Murray State, Jacksonville State, UAB and South Alabama. Sulton becomes the Blue Raiders third commitment for the class of 2009 and the second from Mississippi, joining 6'2" SG John David Little of Olive Branch, who committed about a month ago.
August 7, 2008 Magnolia Teams Impress from Coast to Coast With the conclusion of the AAU 17 and Under nationals last week in Orlando, quite possibly the most successful summer travel team season ever for our Magnolia State teams came to a close. Magnolia State teams placed in three separate divisions at AAU Nationals, with two others making finals appearances in the Classic (consolation) tournament. The top story coming out of AAU Nationals is the Jackson Panthers' medal finish at the 17 and Under AAU National Tournament. For the tournament the Panthers posted a 7-2 record advancing all the way to the eighth place medal game where they fell by two to finish thirteenth, AAU awards medals to the top fourteen place finishers at nationals. What made the Panthers' finish such a big deal is that, by this writers recollection, the Panthers' medal finish is the first ever medal finish in the 17 and under division for a Magnolia State team. With the 17 and Under Tournament being the last one to be played out of the 15, 16 and 17 year old age groups The Panthers' finish served to cap off Mississippi's best year ever on the AAU National scene. At the AAU 16 and Under National Tournament the Madison County based Mississippi Ballers placed twelfth. The Ballers, posting a 7-2 record for the tournament, advanced all the way to the eighth place medal game but had to settle for twelfth after having to depart early to catch their flight. While the Ballers were holding it down in the National Tourney the Jackson Panthers Select were making a run in the 16 and Under Classic. Five straight wins in the Classic put the Panthers in the Classic championship game where they finally ran out of gas finishing second with a final record of 6-3 for the Tournament. The AAU 15 and Under National Tournament presented similar but better results, as one Magnolia Squad placed while another had a strong performance in the Classic. The Jackson Tigers stared the summer portion of the travel team season off for the Magnolia State teams with a fifth place finish at the AAU 15 and Under Nationals. The Tigers posted a 7-1 record for the tournament with their only loss being a close call to the eventual national champion Memphis Stallions in the quarterfinals. The Tigers regrouped following that slip to reel of two more wins to secure their fifth place finish. Also finishing strong in the 15 and under division was the Northeast Mississippi based "Da House Lighthouse" squad who captured the championship of the Classic Tournament. After a disappointing 1-2 finish in pool play the "House" caught fire in the Classic running off five straight wins to take the championship. Congratulations go out to each of the players and coaches for each of the teams. Great job guys! An outstanding year on the AAU national scene it was. Others teams participating in AAU Nationals were Jackson Gators (13), Meridian Elite (14), Jackson Tigers (16) & (17)
July 14, 2008 Battle at the Bluff: day one Jerry Meyer Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst MEMPHIS- Many of the first day games were lopsided affairs at the Battle at the Bluff, with the intriguing match ups slated for day two. The most entertaining game of day one came in the 16-under bracket when the Jackson Panthers Select defeated Memphis Select. In a game marked by athleticism no player stood out more than Panthers' guard Dundrecous Nelson who shook up the house with a couple thunderous dunks in traffic. Nelson also mixed in a three-pointer and dropped off several nice assist passes on the break. He finished with 15 points. Nelson does need to tighten his handle and refine his shot, but he has the upside to work his way into four-star status in the 2010 class. He already claims offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss and UAB and is getting interest from Oklahoma and Clemson. Arkansas presently sits at the top of his list. Four-star point guard Andre Stringer, who normally runs with the Jackson Tigers but is with the Panthers at this tournament, might not have the athletic upside of Nelson, but when it comes to making plays right now, Stringer gets it done. He gets great elevation on his confident jumper and has the upper body strength to make plays in the lane. He scored 12 points in the win and made a number of impressive interior passes on the drive. Stringer is getting the heaviest interest from Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Florida State. Holding down the middle for the Panthers is power forward Jalen Courtney, who scored 13 points. Courtney has a top four of Arkansas (offer), Missouri, Ole Miss and Oklahoma. He favors Missouri because of the speed and intensity of their style of play. Leading the Panthers in scoring was left handed shooting guard Desmond Haymon who fired in 21 points with four three-pointers and some crafty drives to the basket. For Memphis Select 2011 prospect Cedrick McAfee is a prospect to keep an eye on. A strong athlete who can also shoot the ball, McAfee dropped in 17 points. Go West Young Man Most of the state's top summer programs focus on AAU nationals but others prefer to travel the non-AAU travel team circuit This is the route that MBA Hoops choose to travel. While the rest of the Magnolia state teams were trying to win an AAU National Championship MBA Hoops traveled out west to participate in more exposure oriented tournaments. MBA participated in the Adidas 64 Tournament in Las Vegas, posting a 3-1 tournament record, and in the Duel in the Desert Tournament in Phoenix(3-2 record), and while MBA didn't win any championships they did garner a lot of exposure for their stable of talented underclassmen.
Class of 2011 strength on display The strong finishes for the two 15 and under teams, who finished one and two in the AAU 15 and Under State Tournament, served as a strong example of the strength of the Class of 2011 in Mississippi. Further reinforcing that strength is that while these two teams were Playing at AAU Nationals two more 15 and under Magnolia squads were in Memphis at the "Battle at the Bluff" facing off in the semifinals of the 15 and under bracket of that tournament. MBA Hoops and the Jackson Panthers were both among the five Mississippi teams that qualified for AAU nationals, the Jackson Celtics being the fifth, but decided to take the shorter less expensive trip just up the road to Memphis. MBA Hoops captured a four point win over the Jackson Panthers and went on to finish second, with a 5-1 overall record, to a strong Memphis YOMCA squad. The Panthers finished 3-2 with the two losses being to the two finalists by four and two points. With the close of summer activity its time to revisit our player rankings. Keep watch for an updated list soon. Hoops Preview & Preseason Rankings By Lavel Johnson 10-29-07 Balls are bouncing in gyms around the state as teams prepare for the season ahead, and with the start of that season upon us it’s time to take a look at how it is shaping up. Come inside as we release our Magnoliapreps.com top 13 preseason rankings and take a look at the teams to beat in each class. As usual the 5A and 4A divisions boast an array of talented teams. 5A boast a strong group of teams at the top but only has a handful of teams which are truly championship contenders. 4A on the other hand is the deepest division with more quality teams and championship contenders than any other division, that is even more so the case this year as former 5A contenders Moss Point and Forest Hill move to the 4A ranks. Our preseason Rankings Last season’s final record in parentheses 1. Provine(26-10); Coach Luther Riley’s defending 5A State Champion Rams hold down the top spot in our rankings and are loaded for another championship run. The Rams welcome back a talented group of players led by 6’4” Sr. Scottie Haralson, 6’6” Jr. Emory Kelly and 6’7” Soph. Jalen Courtney. Coach Riley added to that group of returnees bringing in 6’2” Jr. Carl Blair, a talented transfer from Houston, Texas, in what shaped up as essentially a late summer trade for Soph. forward Stephon Smith, who moved to Texas. 2. New Hope(32-6); Last year’s 4A State Tournament runner-ups, the Trojans actually finished ranked ahead of the Rams in last season’s final rankings. New Hope is led by the senior foursome of 6’9” Rashanti Harris, 6’2” Dale Hughes, 6’0 Ray Knight and 6’4” Kendrick Bush. The foursome will be entering their third season together as starters and are seeking a third straight appearance in the Big House where they will seek to take home that elusive 4A state championship. 3. Lanier(39-3); Anyone that knows anything about high school hoops in this state knows that the route to a No. 1 ranking in this state goes through the Bulldogs of Lanier, the defending 4A State Tournament and Grand Slam champions. Despite losing last year’s player of the year, R.L. Horton, as well as two more starters, Lanier brings back more than enough firepower to challenge for a title. Lanier will be led this year by a trio of returning seniors starters, 6’5” Lamar Williams, 6’5” Thurley Love and 6’3” Terry Church (I know that adds up to six starters but so what, sue me.). Added to this group is talented 6’0” sophomore Marcellus Hansberry, a transfer from Terry as the Bulldogs look for their 4th straight 4A state championship. 4. Forest Hill(26-11); The Rebels look to build off of their 5A State Tournament runner-up finish of last year as they drop to 4A this season. Top players: Terrell Kennedy 6’5” Sr.; Andre Stringer 5’10” Soph.; Joshua Moore 6’2” Sr. 5. Starkville(30-3); Top Players: Latavious Williams 6’8” Sr.; Chris Brand 6’8” Jr.; Jonathan Harris 6’3” Sr. 6. Oxford(29-8); Top Players: Justin Gilliard 6’4” Sr; Dan Hicks 6’6” Jr;Kenny Mullins 6’4” Sr; Keith Searcy 6’4” Jr. 7. Picayune(30-6); Top Players: Chris Dees 6’5” Sr.; Brandon Fortenberry 6’2” Sr.; Ben Daly 6’5” Sr 8. Moss Point(17-9); Top Players: Travis Rasco 6’5” Sr.; Travis Jackson 6’7” Sr.; Rod Little 6’1” Sr; Avery Ingram 6’2” Sr. 9. St. Stanislaus(29-9); Top Players: Pedro Maciel 6’0” Jr.; Thomas Camargo 6’6” Jr. 10. Madison Central(21-13); Top Players: Jeremy Adams 6’2” Jr.; Sylvester Collins 6’8” Sr; Jacoby Pittman 6’9” Sr. 11. Humphreys County(28-9); Top Players: Brandon Mitchell 6’2” Sr.; Michael Starks 6’7” Jr.; Lonnie Contrell 6’5” Jr. 12. Meridian(20-10); Top Players: Anthony Scott 6’4” Sr.; Deshun Carter 6’5” Jr. 13. Wingfield(26-10); Top Players: Chris Wallace 6’2” Sr.; Ananza Richardson 6’3” Sr. 5A teams to watch: Brandon(26-10), Gulfport(26-9), Murrah(16-16) and Olive Branch(29-1) 4A teams to watch: Northeast Lauderdale(25-10), Callaway(8-19), Yazoo City(22-12), Canton(23-9), Vicksburg(19-12), Nouxbee County(17-13), McComb(27-7), Mendenhall(25-7), Greenwood(24-8) 3A Humphreys County gives 3A a quality representative in the top 13 rankings and right behind them is Pass Christian(28-7) which comes down from the 4A ranks. Others to watch are: Jefferson County(25-7), Nettleton(21-8), Columbia(25-8) and Cleveland Eastside(16-17) 2A Along with 4A 2A year in and year has a deep, competitive field of teams. Last year was a great example of this as the 2A state tournament was by far the most exciting tournament of the 5 played, with every game going to the wire. Defending champion Scott Central(26-12) returns with a solid cast to again challenge for the gold ball. Hinds AHS(29-5) comes off of a strong season that fell short of the Big House, at the hands of Scott Central, but again is one of the favorites. Defending 3A champion Forest(32-5) drops to 2A this season and has to be considered in the mix also. Others to watch are: Piney Woods(21-4), Taylorsville(23-10, Newton(24-10), Tchula Marshall(28-9), and Hollandale Simmons(25-7) 1A Myrtle(33-7) looks to finish unfinished business after falling in the 1A state championship game last season. Their biggest challenges looks to come from Shelby Broadstreet(32-6), which moved down from the 2A ranks, in the north and Mount Olive(20-10) in the south.

Former Mississippi high school players (post-season collegiate awards):

Trey Johnson, 6’5”, Guard, Jackson State, Murrah H.S., Jackson, MS  
Player of the Year, 1st Team All-SWAC 

Charles Rhodes, 6’8”, Forward, Mississippi State, Lanier H.S., Jackson, MS 
2nd Team All-SEC  

Jeremy Wise, 6’2”, Guard, Southern Miss, Murrah H.S., Jackson, MS 
Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, 2nd Team All-Conference USA,
1st Team Conference USA ALL Freshman Team

Stanford Speech, 6’2”, Guard, Mississippi Valley State, 
Jim Hill H.S., Jackson, MS. – 1st Team All-SWAC
  
Isaac Wells, 6’8”, Forward, Arkansas State, Lanier H.S., Jackson, MS
2nd Team All-Sun Belt

Courtney Bradley, 6’5”, Forward, Jacksonville State, Raymond H.S., Utica, MS 
1st Team All-Ohio Valley Conference

William Byrd, 6’7”, Forward, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, West Tallahatchie H.S., Webb, MS. 
1st Team All-SWAC 

Delvin Thompson, 6’2”, Guard, Alcorn State, Jefferson County H.S., Fayette, 
MS 2nd Team All-SWAC

Lamar Sanders, 6’6”, Forward, Lamar, Hickory Flat H.S., Hickory, MS
Newcomer of the Year, 2nd Team All-Southland

Kevin Sims, 5’10”, Guard, Tulane, Forest Hill H.S., Jackson, MS 
1st Team Conference USA ALL Freshman Team

Congratulations go out to all these young men for a job well done.

State Tournament Notes - 02/28/07 
Jackson Public Schools sent an astonishing nine teams (six boys and three girls) to the Coliseum. 
Now comes the hard part...taking home some hardware.>

Starkville and New Hope held up well for Northeast Mississippi last week, as each, playing at 
home, took a win over a ranked JPS opponent to win the North 5A and 4A state tournaments respectively. 
Now the question is can they do it again in the “Big House”?

Shelby Broad Street has defeated Coahoma County three times in four games this season but 
with all the marbles on the line can the Jaguars deny the Red Panthers their third straight state
championship.

The 3A tournament promises to be an exciting event with a number of evenly matched teams
participating and the season for 3A went much the same. But despite the competitiveness of the 
division no team has stepped up to rise into the rankings. The question is can one team step up 
to put itself in the conversation of top teams in the state.

R.L. Horton and Ravern Johnson both have a lot on the line. Not only is each seeking a third
straight state crown but how each performs in the “Big House” could go a long way in helping decide
who wins this year’s Mr. Basketball award.

Just as Horton and Johnson are posied to state their case for this year’s Mr. Basketball a number 
of Juniors have center stage to start their campaign for next years Mr. Basketball. Keep an eye on 
6’4” WG Scottie Haralson of Provine, 6’7” F/C Latavious Williams of Starkville and 6’9” F/C Rashanti
Harris of New Hope

Notes by Lavel Johnson

Recruiting Updates as of 03/13/07

6’8” WF Brandon Crooks of Genesis One has committed to Southern Mississippi.

6’6” WF Jenirro Bush of East Okitbbeha H.S. has committed to Arkansas.

6’0” WG Cord Jones of Hernando has committed to Jackson State.

6'7" Forward Wesley Jones from Pearl River Community College committed to Ole Miss.

6'1" PG/WG John Sexton from West Union H.S. committed to William & Mary.

Mississippi Early Period Signees....

Raven Johnson 6'7" WF Coahoma County H.S. - Clarksdale
Mississippi State University

Maurice Bolden 6'9" PF Wingfield H.S. - Jackson
University of Southern Mississippi

Robin Sykes 6'8" PF Saint Martin H.S. - Biloxi
North Carolina Wilmington

Darryl Arnold 6'5" WF Piney Woods H.S.
Southeastern Louisiana University

Xavier Ruth 6'3" WG Shannon H.S. - Shannon
Delta State University

Horace McGloster 6'7" WF Genesis One Prep - Mendenhall
University of Houston

Javon Moses 6'8" PF Genesis One Prep - Mendenhall
Duquesene