LaQuinton Ross Breaks His Silence

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.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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