By Robert Wilson

       The coaches, players and fans at the prestigious Arby’s Classic in Bristol, Tenn., found out what everyone in Mississippi already knew – Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s Josh Hubbard is one of the most talented high school boys basketball players in the country.

       The 5-foot-11 senior guard and Ole Miss signee Hubbard averaged 27 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, made the all-tournament team and led MRA to a sixth-place finish in the 18-team event, which featured some of the best teams and players in the country.

       For his outstanding performance, Hubbard has been named the PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

       Hubbard – who 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 – had a game-high 37 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists in an 83-80 overtime victory over West Catholic Prep (Penn.) in MRA’s first game. He tied a tournament record with 18 free throws (in 19 attempts).

       He had a game-high 34 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot in a 71-70 overtime loss to Norcross (Ga.) High, which was ranked No. 23 in the nation by MaxPreps, in MRA’s second game. Hubbard outscored Norcross’ 6-6 senior guard and Georgia signee Lamariyon Jordan, ranked the No. 74 player in the country by ESPN who finished with 15 points and 18 rebounds. MRA led by 18 points in the third quarter.

       Hubbard had 21 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in a 71-59 victory over two-time defending Class 2A Tennessee state champion Greeneville School in MRA’s third game.

       He had 16 points in a 74-48 loss to Christ School (North Carolina) in MRA’s fourth game.

“Hubb had a great tournament against some of the best teams in the country,” said MRA coach Richard Duease, who is the second winningest active high school boys basketball coach in the country and the winningest high school boys basketball coach in Mississippi history, according to MaxPreps. “He is one of the best players in the country and he showed it by playing well. Hubb made 3s, drove the basket, made pull up jumpers and shot free throws well. He is a complete player. I was proud of him and our entire team in the tournament. Hubb is a special player who is going to play at a high level in college.”

       Hubbard is averaging 27.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists and has led MRA to an 18-6 record this season. He is shooting 57 percent from the field, 31 percent from 3-point range, and 82 percent from the free throw line.

Hubbard scored a career-high 47 points, including six 3-pointers, and 14 points in the fourth quarter, in an 83-81 loss to Clinton Christian Academy in December. His previous high was when he scored 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 has a MAIS record 3,888 points and has a shot of becoming the career leader in Mississippi history. Robert Woodard scored a Mississippi-record 4,272 points at Houlka from 1981-86. Monta Ellis is second with 4,167 points at 2001-05 at Lanier. Hubbard, who has started since the eighth grade, became the leading career scorer in MAIS history last season when he passed Ken Coghlan, who scored 3,168 points from 1977-1980 at East Rankin Academy.

Hubbard – last year’s PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Player of the Year – 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 signed with Ole Miss in November, choosing the Rebels over Mississippi State, Seton Hall, Southern Cal, Houston, and Xavier. In addition, Hubbard has Division I offers from Southern Miss, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, LSU, Georgetown, Kansas State and New Orleans.

        MRA’s next game is Saturday at Greenville Christian.