By Robert Wilson
Callaway senior guard Daeshun Ruffin started off his senior season like he finished his junior season, a prolific scorer.
The 5-foot-9 Ruffin – rated as the No. 1 player in Mississippi, No. 7 point guard in the country and No. 44 player in the country among seniors – scored 14 points in the first quarter, 25 in the first half and 32 for the game in Callaway’s 81-62 victory over Jackson Public Schools rival Lanier Saturday in Callaway’s season opener.
For his outstanding performance, Ruffin has been named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Week.
Ruffin, an Ole Miss signee, was the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Player of the Year, 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.
Ruffin started off the 2020-2021 season strong as well. He scored 11 of Callaway’s first 15 points, hitting five of his first seven shots from the field. Ruffin made 10 of 14 shots from the field in the first half for his 25 points and was on pace to match his career high of 50, but he suffered a thigh bruise in the third quarter and missed some minutes before returning. He had 30 points when he left the game with his bruise. In addition to his 32 points, Ruffin finished with three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“Daeshun makes scoring look easy on the high school level,” Callaway coach David Sanders said. “He has vastly improved his leadership and shot selection and this will bode well for him in college.”
Ruffin is the first Mississippi Player of the Year to sign with Ole Miss since his coach, 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 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.
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 entered his senior season with 2,177 career points, 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.
Callaway is scheduled to play its next game today against JPS rival Forest Hill 2:30 p.m. at Callaway in the JPS Holiday Classic.