Sophomore Defensive Specialist

Although he's only a sophomore, Ridgeland High School power forward Jamal Hester is already a premiere high school shot-blocker.

"Jamal Hester is on pace to break our high school block shot record," said Ridgeland High School head basketball coach Roderick Davidson. "He had seven block shots the other night against Madison Central. When we get beat off the dribble at the guard position, we have him in the middle to protect the goal."

Hester was first noticed prior to his first year of high school.

"Going into my 8th grade year I attended the US Elite Basketball Camp in Texas," said Hester. "The (college) coaches said back then that I had a lot of upside because I was so young and I was already showing a little skill with my game. And they said I would get a lot better."

Hester takes great pride in his defensive style of play, something that is not very common among young basketball players.

"I'm really more of a defensive player who likes to block shots and protect the rim," said Hester.

But the 15-year-old doesn't want to be known as a one-dimensional player.

"I'm not much of an offensive threat right now but I can score," said Hester. "Right now, I'm trying to work on being a power, post player. When I get the ball I go up and dunk it and try to get the foul."

Despite not being that much of an offensive threat, college coaches appear to like what they see from the guy his coach calls "Big Hester".

"Florida State, Baylor, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Western Kentucky, Kentucky, LSU and some more smaller schools are interested," said Hester.

One of those schools has a slight lead over the others.

"My favorite right now would be Mississippi State," said the 6-8, 245-pounder. "I have always grown up liking Mississippi State."

Ridgeland vs Yazoo City video (December 8, 2009) -

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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