G.W. Carver forward Joseph Struggs had no offers coming into the spring. Playing behind standout Jeremy Johnson, Struggs saw little court time last season, but that didn’t change his dream of playing college basketball.
The rising junior needed just one offer to make a decision. On June 11, Struggs became Mississippi State’s first class of 2015 commitment.
“He and his mom talked about it,” Carver basketball coach James “J.J.” Jackson said. “They spoke with the coach a lot, and he seems to like it. He said, ‘Coach, this is something I want to do, and it gives me something to work toward.’
“I think that was the best thing he could have ever said: ‘Something to work toward.’ As a kid, with his prize at the end of the road, I think he’s going to work even harder. Now he’s at that point where he knows he has to bring it this season to achieve that goal.”
Despite limited playing time at Carver, Struggs has showcased his talent on the AAU Alabama Dream, averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds per game, according to Dream coach Pierre Mayes.
“He can run the floor,” Jackson said. “He’s a high riser. He can do a lot of different good things with his size. He’s about 6-foot-8½, 210, 205 pounds, so he’s a great size now. By the time he gets out of here, hopefully, we’ll put more pounds on him. He might grow another inch or so. If he can get to 6-foot-9 and maybe 225, it’ll be a great size heading into college. We have to do our part to make sure he’s ready when it’s time.”
While the early decision certainly adds pressure, Jackson is confident Struggs will flourish in his final high school seasons.
“Hopefully, with him committing this early to Mississippi State, he understands that he’s got to step up some more … to really get himself together and make sure he’s on point,” Jackson said.
“He’s a tremendous player. He has the right size. He’s athletically inclined. He can do a whole lot of good things that the college coaches love. I think he’s going to be a tremendous asset to MSU once he gets there, but hopefully, he helps us out first.”