By Robert Wilson
Madison-Ridgeland Academy junior guard Josh Hubbard – the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Year – has been ranked as the No. 69 overall player and the No. 17 point guard in the country on ESPN’s 2023 Top 100.
Hubbard, who plays with the AAU team from New Orleans (Team Thad), was impressive in a tournament in Orlando earlier this month where college coaches from across the country were there to look at some of the best high school players in the nation.
The 5-foot-11 Hubbard did well against the top-rated player in the country – 6-1 DJ Wagner of Camden, N.J., High and grandson of former NBA player and former All-American at Louisville Milt Wagner and son of former NBA player and former All-American at Memphis Dajuan Wagner. Wagner scored 28 points in 32 minutes while Hubbard had 20 points in 25 minutes. Hubbard was 8 of 10 from the field and 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
Hubbard also outscored 6-1 Edgerrin “Bronny” James, son of NBA star LeBron James, 15 points to 11 points in the tournament in Orlando. James is rated as the No. 56 player overall and No. 14 point guard on the ESPN 2023 Top 100.
Hubbard averaged 17.2 points in 22.7 minutes in four games in the tournament. He shot 53.4 percent from the field (23 of 43), 52.3 percent from 3-point range (11 of 21) and 80 percent from the free throw line (12 of 15).
He is in another tournament this weekend in Indianapolis.
Hubbard has been offered by Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, LSU, Georgetown, Kansas State and New Orleans.
Hubbard received his latest offer Saturday from Big East Conference power Seton Hall. Seton Hall’s new coach is Shaheen Holloway, who led St. Peter’s to an Elite Eight appearance this season. It was the first time a No. 15 seed had reached the Elite Eight in NCAA Tournament history.
Hubbard averaged 28.8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and led MRA to a 33-7 record, a MAIS Class 6A state runner-up finish and an Overall semifinal finish this past season. He broke a 42-year-old record when he became the MAIS career scoring leader, finishing the season with 3,233 career points.
Hubbard has scored in double figures in 70 consecutive games dating back to early in his sophomore season (he scored 7 points against Kirk Academy when he played only a quarter).
Hubbard scored a season-high 42 points and scored his team’s first 20 points against Adams County Christian School this past season. He scored 40 points, including a season-high eight 3-pointers, against Gulliver Prep, Fla., in the Junior Orange Bowl Classic in Miami during the Christmas holidays. Hubbard made 16 of 24 shots from the field, 8 of 13 from 3-point range.
Hubbard was named the MVP of the tournament and averaged 35 points and led MRA to three victories and the championship.
Hubbard, who has drawn comparisons to NBA stars Monta Ellis and Devin Booker from Mississippi by opposing coaches, scored a career high is 46 points against MHSAA Class 6A Gulfport as a freshman when he made nine 3-pointers, including two in the last 17 seconds to win the game.
Hubbard, who has started since the eighth grade, became the leading career scorer in MAIS history Feb. 23 when he passed Ken Coghlan, who scored 3,168 points from 1977-1980 at East Rankin Academy.
If Hubbard continues his pace next season, he could become Mississippi’s all-time career leading scorer. Robert Woodard has the record with 4,274 points from 1982-86 at Houlka High. Monta Ellis is second with 4,167 from 2001-2005 at Lanier High.
Hubbard has increased his scoring average every season,15.3 points in the eighth grade, 18.2 as a freshman, 24.3 as a sophomore and 28.8 as a junior this season. He made 108 3-pointers this season and 332 for his career.