The Crossroads of the South Exposure Camp took place at Ridgeland High School on Saturday. The annual Adidas/Marc Rowe event featured around 60 Mississippi players, with the majority from the 2016-19 classes. Some notes and observations below.
- St. Martin has the potential to be very good again this season. Senior 6-foot-1 guard Stacee St. Julian was athletic in transition and distributed the ball well. Most noticeably, his handle has improved greatly during the offseason. The key is the plastic bag drill. “I was watching a YouTube video and I just go out there and do drills if I can’t get to the gym,” St. Julian said. “I put plastic bags over the ball and dribble down the street. It drives my neighbors crazy. It messes with the grip so when I’m dribbling, I can dribble without a grip or with a grip.” Southeastern Louisiana and Austin Peay have inquired recently about the guard.
- Julian’s teammate Daetren Bivens is going to be special. The 2017 shooting guard moved well up and down the floor and showed an ability to knock down mid-range shots.
- St. Andrews’ 2016 combo guard Parker Prater has had a good showing in various exposure camps over the last few weeks. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder played long and moved well with speed from one end of the floor to the other. He followed up on a solid showing at a Future150 exposure camp in Houston by being pickier with his shot selection and moving the ball effectively by getting his teammates involved. “I want to make smart decision with my shots,” Prater said. “I would stop and pull up from 3-point and I wanted to start focusing on my mid-range and getting my teammates open. Last year I only averaged maybe 1.5 assists. I want to get that up to at least four this season.” Prater said Colorado, Southern Miss and Southeastern Louisiana have expressed interest and are waiting to receive his ACT score.
- Forest Hill’s Ladarius Marshall was one of the bigger names in attendance. The 6-foot-6, 210 pound small forward moves around the floor well and attacks the basket with ferocious fervor. His bounce allows him to get leverage on other players and play above the rim where he’s most comfortable. Every time you see him, Marshall appears to be more athletic and have a better understanding of the game. The expectations for his sophomore season are high. Mississippi State has already watched him workout this fall and Baylor, Ole Miss and Ohio State have inquired about the top 2018 prospect’s talents.
- Crystal Springs 2018 power forward Rod Smith looks like a Division I tight end. At 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, the sophomore big man has the potential to be a monster post player. He needs to play the game with a little more aggression but has good upside. He’s not comfortable as a shooter but moves well with the ball down low and is working to become a more athletic defender. Smith is one of the more intriguing players in the surrounding areas and is definitely someone to keep your eye on this season.
- Callaway 2018 guard Tanorrio Ransburgh may be the most consistent 3-point shooter in the Jackson Metro Area. The 6-foot-2 shooter showcased that ability during the Chargers’ historic 2014-15 run and followed up during the offseason by adding a pick and roll to his game. Ransburgh was one of the best shooters at the Adidas event and transitions well from the point to playing shooting guard.
- Several Ridgeland players made their presence known on their home court. Trae Thompson looked good from the 1 and 2 and knocked down his open looks. Another athletic guard with a good outing was Jonah Simpson. The 5-foot-11 senior isn’t afraid to draw contact and drive to the rim. Simpson’s floor vision is very strong and is the key to getting his teammates involved.
- Provine lost a lot from last season, but Enriques Milton is a solid talent for the Rams. The 6-foot-2 guard is showing improvement developing an outside game.
- He’s a good 2.5 years away from high school but Mason Manning will be a star someday. The 6th grader hang tough playing alongside the older competition and moves the ball really well. He doesn’t get rattled on the floor and has a handle that’s well beyond his years. It’s not off base to say he’ll be one of the better players in the state when he becomes of age. His work ethic and ability to take coaching makes him special.
Official practices begin on Oct. 19. The 2015-16 MHSAA high school basketball season begins on Nov. 12. The Clarion-Ledger’s preseason basketball coverage, including the boys and girls’ Dandy Dozen, will be released the last week of October.