The State of Mississippi (HS Basketball) – Part 1

icon-mhsaaI lived in Jackson, MS for almost 10 years after moving there from Chicago during my senior year of HS. I ended up going to Lanier HS which is coached by Thomas Billups, a legend in Mississippi HS hoops. At that time, Jerry Nichols was a top 100 player in the nation who ended up signing with Georgetown and played for Coach John Thompson and alongside Allen Iverson. The other top player in the state was Jerod Ward who some ranked as being the #1 player that year and he ended up going to Michigan. I’ve been immersed in the basketball scene there ever since. There have been numerous top ranked players to come out of the “Magnolia State” that have played D1 basketball and some even went on to the NBA. Mississippi has been a hoops hotbed for a very long time.

A good friend of mine who is an AAU coach in Jackson, MS who also played HS basketball there keeps me up to date on the happenings of the hoops scene. If you follow HS basketball at all, you’ve probably heard of a certain “phenom” from Jackson by the name of LaQuinton Ross. He’s been ranked by some as the #1 player in the class of 2011. Some have said that “Q” could be one of the best ever out of the state. But there have also been whispers that the downfall of Q will be his handler, Omhar Carter. More on him later…

Before I get into all that, let me give you a little background on HS sports in MS. It all begins and ends with Dr. Ennis Proctor, executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA). He has the final say on everything dealing with HS sports in Mississippi; it begins and ends with him. Lately, he’s taken a great interest in the HS basketball scene in Jackson. A few years ago when Renardo Sidney of Fairfax HS in Los Angeles was an 8th grader on his way to HS, he was “IT” in the Magnolia State. At 6’9″ and 220lbs (then) he was and still is the #1 ranked prospect in the class of 2009 (Google him, Youtube him, just see what I’m talking about). Proctor basically forced Sidney to take his game and his ranking West to California. Why you ask? Well, because of where his family lived Renardo was supposed to go to Forest Hill HS after 8th grade (according to many, Proctor is “unofficially” affiliated with the school). Sidney however preferred to go to The Piney Woods School which was then coached by former Ole Miss assistant Wayne Brent (who is a Mississippi coaching legend in his own right). Piney Woods is a boarding school about 40 miles south of Jackson that participates in the MHSAA. Proctor declared him ineligible to play there because his family’s home was more than 20 miles outside of the district. Never mind the fact that about 90% of the students who attend school there, live more than 20 miles outside of the district (like Maryland, Illinois, Georgia, etc). It was widely speculated that Proctor ruled Renardo ineligible because of his refusal to play for Forest Hill. So Sidney was forced to sit out his freshman year and could only play AAU basketball in the summer. Frustrated, Sidney and his family moved West.

To Be Continued…

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4 Responses

  1. THAT’S A REAL SORDID VIEW YOU HAVE ABOUT SOME OF MY FELLOW MISSISSIPPIANS. I THINK THAT YOUR PIECE IS HIGHLY BIASED. ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT YOU’VD ADMITTED THAT YOU HAVE SOME WHAT OF AN INFORMANT ON THE AAU CIRCUIT HERE. I HAVE TO ADMIT I AM CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR REMAINING THOUGHTS ON OMHAR CARTER. FOLLOW UP WITH PART TWO REAL SOON. I MAY JUST LET YOU IN ON SOME REAL SH*T. TTFN

  2. I along with many others are also waiting on Part 2. I also am curious about your thoughts on Omhar Carter…After a few years of dealing with him, I also have lots of major S#@& to add to this story. LMAO!

  3. Sidney should have stayed at Forest Hill and let Andre Stringer get him the basketball.

  4. I don’t think this is correct. I was also living in Mississippi at that time. Ward and Nickols were not the best players in the state at that time. I don’t know why, but whomever tracks who the top players are need to atleast looked other places than Jackson. What about the players like Michael Davis and Terry Houzah of Rolling Fork that year. They beat both of these teams and a host of other “legendary” teams that same year, under the coaching ofBernie Miller. Or Ronnie Lane of Greenville. Randy bolden of Forest Hill. Eric Lee of Gentry.

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