By Robert Wilson

​Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s Josh Hubbard – the all-time leading scorer in Mississippi history and one of the top point guards in the country in the Class of 2023 – is staying in Mississippi to play college basketball but he’s going to be wearing maroon and white instead of red and blue.

​Hubbard – who was given his release from his national letter of intent with Ole Miss after the Rebels announced coach Kermit Davis would not be coming back next season – announced Monday afternoon he is committing to Mississippi State. He will sign with the Bulldogs during the spring NCAA signing period in April.  

​The 5-foot-11 Hubbard – the 2022 Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Year – chose MSU over Ole Miss and Seton Hall Monday. He chose Ole Miss over MSU, Seton Hall, Southern Cal, Houston, and Xavier last September and signed with the Rebels in November during the NCAA early signing period.

Photo by Robert Smith

​Ole Miss – which dealt with multiple injuries to key players – didn’t have the season they were expecting and finished 12-21 overall and 13th and next to last in the SEC with a 3-15 record. Ole Miss announced on Feb. 24 it was parting ways with Davis, who was in his fifth season in Oxford, with four games to play in the regular season.

​Hubbard announced shortly after that he was opening back up his recruiting and didn’t rule out Ole Miss. Ole Miss released him from his national letter of intent so he could decide and sign with another school without having to sit out a year next season.

MSU, under first-year coach Chris Jans, had a successful season and made the NCAA Tournament Sunday. The Bulldogs play Pittsburgh in the First Four play-in game Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. in Dayton (televised by truTV). MSU had a great defense but finished next to last in scoring and 3-pointers made and last in 3-point percentage in the SEC this season. Hubbard shot 50.1 percent from the field, 35.1 percent from 3-point range, and 85.5 percent from the free throw line this season. Hemade 117 3-pointers this season and has incredible range.

​“I hate the news about Coach Davis and didn’t expect it, but my family and I decided to take a step back and regroup,” Hubbard said. “Mississippi State still gave me an opportunity and the relationship was still there. There is huge advantage to playing close to home where my family can watch and play for a school to represent my state.”

​“I’m a Bulldog and I’m happy he is going to Mississippi State, but I just wanted him to stay in state and go to either Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Southern Miss,” said MRA coach Richard Duease, the second winningest active boys basketball coach in the country and the winningest basketball coach in Mississippi history. “State needs help shooting, and Josh is a great shooter. He will be a great fit for their program.”

Photo by Robert Smith

The 5-foot-11 Hubbard – who scored 4,367 points his brilliant high school career – averaged 27.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.1 steals and led MRA to a 34-8 record, the MAIS Class 6A state championship and the Overall Tournament semifinals this season.

Hubbard is ranked as the No. 1 overall player in Mississippi and No. 69 overall player in country and the No. 17 point guard in the country on ESPN’s 2023 Top 100- broke a 37-year-old record when he passed Robert Woodard of Houlka’s mark in late February. Hubbard – who has been starting since the eighth grade – became the leading scorer in MAIS history last season when he passed Ken Coghlan, who scored 3,168 points from 1977-1980 at East Rankin Academy.