Callaway rising senior Daeshun Ruffin, considered one of the top guards in the country and the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Jackson Player of the Year, has narrowed his college choices to six SEC schools.
Ruffin posted on his twitter account Sunday night that he will choose between Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU.
“Daeshun has worked so hard to get to this point in his career,” Callaway coach David Sanders told Mississippi Scoreboard Monday. “To have six great schools as a possible place for him to further his education and basketball career is a testament to how great of a young man and athlete he has become.
“He has taken an official visit to Ole Miss and unofficial visits to Auburn, Alabama and LSU.”
The 5-foot-9 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. 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.
“I improved this year by making better decisions on my shot attempts and also understood the game and how to be effective on and off the ball,” Ruffin said. “Our state championship was an effort from every person on the roster. It started way back in August of last year. Everybody decided that we were going to do what it takes despite egos and everything. Team effort for sure.
“The atmosphere was really crazy in every out of state game and to be able to showcase my talent and my teammates talent and abilities was great.”
Sanders was in Ruffin’s shoes in the late 1990s at Provine. 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. Sanders went on to help Ole Miss to a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 finish and a No. 9 national ranking in 2001.
“Daeshun really matured as a player this year. He understood when to take shots and when to pass,” Sanders said. “He learned how to beat defenses and double teams and become an unstoppable force. Daeshun is on another level. He is on his way to being a McDonald’s All-American.”
Sanders compares Ruffin to two Jackson Public School greats, former McDonald’s All-American and NBA star Monta Ellis of Lanier, who many consider the greatest player to come out of JPS and Mississippi, and former two-time Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year Andre Stringer, Forest Hill’s career scoring leader. Ellis is the only player in JPS history to jump from high school to the NBA and Stringer went on to be a double figure scorer at LSU.
Ruffin has 2,177 career points with one year to go. That ranks him third in Callaway history behind Malik Newman (3,108) and Deville Smith (2,538). 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 last season. Ruffin didn’t start because it was Senior Night and played only two and half quarters.
“Daeshun’s lateral movement and quickness are the basketball’s version of Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Sanders said. “His ball-handling skills are like (All-NBA guard) Kyrie Irving and he’s as explosive as (former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook). I have seen Daeshun finish over 7-footers with ease. I have never seen anyone with the ability to consistently slow him down one-on-one. He was the second leading scorer on the 17-and-under EYBL circuit last year and was the only player on the whole circuit getting double teamed.”
Ruffin did all of this without having a home gym to practice and play games in. The Callaway gym, on the school’s campus on Beasley Road in Northeast Jackson, was being renovated during the basketball season. The Chargers practiced at Rowan Middle School and played their home games at Northwest Jackson Middle School, both schools about 10-12 miles from Callaway.