Callaway’s Ruffin Signs with Ole Miss
Callaway’s Daeshun Ruffin and Jackson Academy’s Parker Bracken – the reigning Mississippi Gatorade Players of the Year in boys basketball and volleyball respectively – made history Wednesday when they signed on National Early Signing Day.
Ruffin signed with Ole Miss, becoming the first Mississippi Player of the Year to sign with the Rebels in 23 years. Bracken with LSU, the first player from Mississippi to sign with the Lady Tigers’ beach volleyball program since it started in 2014.
Ruffin, a 5-foot-9 senior point guard, is ranked No.
He is the first Mississippi Player of the Year to sign with Ole Miss since his coach at Callaway, David Sanders, did in the fall of 1997 when Sanders was a senior at Provine. Sanders helped Ole Miss to a NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and a No. 9 final ranking in 2001. A 6-3 guard, Sanders was the 1998 Mississippi Player of the Year and led Provine to a 37-1 record, the 5A state title and a No. 25 ranking in the final USA Today national Top 25 poll as a senior.
Ruffin, the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Metro Jackson Player of the Year in 2019, picked Ole Miss over Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU. Ole Miss was Ruffin’s only official visit. He had taken unofficial visits to Alabama, Auburn and LSU.
“Getting the very best player in the state of Mississippi is always a priority for us,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis Jr. said. “Daeshun is a dynamic guard that scores at all three levels. He’s a proven winner, leading Callaway to a state championship in 2020. Daeshun plays for one of the very best coaches in our state, David Sanders, and comes from a fantastic family.”
“Daeshun has been the heart and soul of the team for the past three years,” Sanders said. “He has surpassed all of my expectations for him coming in as a freshman. I truly believe that he will be a professional basketball player in the near future. The sky is the limit for this young man.”
Ruffin averaged 26.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.9 steals and led Callaway to a 25-5 record – undefeated against Mississippi teams — and the Class 5A state championship, a No. 1 Mississippi and No. 38 national final ranking by MaxPreps, this past season. Ruffin shot 50 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range (averaging 2.2 per game), and 76.7 percent from the free throw line. He is rated the No. 21 best player in the country and No. 1 in Mississippi by ESPN and the No. 38 overall player and No. 4 point guard in the country and No. 1 player in Mississippi by 247 Sports.
Ruffin burst onto the high school basketball scene as a freshman. He averaged 19.6 points and led Callaway to a 25-6 record and the Class 5A state semifinals. As a sophomore, Ruffin averaged 26.4 points and led the Chargers to a 21-8 record and the 5A state quarterfinals. He took it to another level this past season. And so did Callaway, playing in showcase games across the country. Ruffin showed off his game as well. He averaged 30.1 points in eight games across the South. Ruffin had only one game below 27 points with highs of 37 points twice. Callaway had a 5-3 record against some of the best teams in the country and Ruffin going up against some of the best players in the country.
Ruffin has 2,177 career points with one year to go, third in Callaway history behind Malik Newman (3,108) and Deville Smith (2,538). Former Lanier All-American Monta Ellis scored a JPS high of 4,167 career points.
Ruffin scored a career-high 50 points, hitting 11 of 14 from 3-point range, in an 83-47 victory over Ridgeland as a sophomore. Ruffin didn’t start because it was Senior Night and played only two and half quarters.
Ruffin and Callaway open the season Dec. 19 at Jackson Public Schools rival Jim Hill. JPS didn’t play any sports this fall and had virtual learning class due to COVID-19.
The 5-10 Bracken led JA to MAIS state championships as a junior and a senior and won five state titles during her career. Bracken led JA to a 29-4 record as a senior and defeated Hartfield Academy for the second straight season for the title. As a junior, she led the Lady Raiders to a 43-3 record and won their last 18 matches, avenging her only loss in the state championship game. Hartfield defeated JA and Bracken for the state title as a sophomore, ending JA’s four-year state title run and four-year unbeaten streak against MAIS teams.
JA’s Bracken signs with LSU Volleyball
Bracken is ranked as the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 107 player in the national by prepvolleyball.com. She is Mississippi’s all-time leader with 2,494 kills.
“Parker has been a dominant presence both indoor and on the sand for years,” said LSU beach volleyball coach Russell Brock. “She has been impressing coaches, teammates and opponents for a long time. Her physicality is off the charts and her excellent decision making maximizes her ability. She has the skills to both block and defend effectively for our program, which brings flexibility as a player. Parker is a great student and a wonderful, joyful person, which makes her really valuable to our beach family.”
“Today is the day Parker’s been waiting for since she was 16,” JA volleyball coach Melissa Denson said. “She is so excited to be a Tiger and start her beach career with one of the top programs in the nation. Her impact goes for beyond the JA program. She’s a mentor to young players and really was one of the first volleyball players in the state to reach the level she did. She’s beyond talented and can play any position. That’s why I think pursuing a career at LSU in beach is perfect for her. I am so proud and honored to have been her coach.”
Bracken started playing beach volleyball when she was 14 years old. She has played in junior tournaments in Florida, Texas and Ohio and women’s events in Louisiana and Florida. Bracken has played in national tournaments in Southern California. She trains in Covington, La., and plays pick up beach volleyball in Brandon.
LSU has become a national power in beach volleyball even in the short time being a program. The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the nation this spring when the season was stopped due to COVID-19. LSU defeated defending national champion and then-No. 1 UCLA on consecutive weekends. The Tigers finished ranked No. 3 in 2019.
LSU has seven players – the most of any team in the country – named to the 2020 U.S. Beach Collegiate National Team earlier this year and Brock was named assistant coach.
The Tigers are likely to be ranked No. 1 in the country next spring when the preseason rankings come out.