Robert Wilson spent 23 years at The Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News as a sportswriter with more than half of those years covering high school sports, mostly in the Metro Jackson area. He helped chose the Dandy Dozen in various sports for more than a decade. Wilson rebirthed a similar team last year with PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Preseason Elite Eleven Boys Basketball Team based on our All-Metro team selections from last season and information from high school and college coaches. This is the second annual team. Wilson selected the best players from Hinds, Madison, and Rankin Counties from their performances last season. The players below are in alphabetical order. The girls team was published Monday.

Harrison Alexander, Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 6-6, Senior, Guard

Alexander averaged 14.7 points and helped MRA to a 33-7 record, the MAIS Class 6A runner-up and the Overall Tournament semifinals last year as a junior.

Alexander scored his 1,000th career point at MRA against Greenville St. Joseph in the Overall quarterfinals last season. He scored a career-high 31 points in the Junior Orange Bowl championship game last season. Alexander averaged 25.3 points in the tournament in Miami.

Alexander averaged 11.7 points and helped MRA to the Overall championship two years ago as a sophomore after transferring from Germantown High.

Alexander has offers from Southern Miss, Jackson State, Navy, Florida International, Kennesaw State, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and Jones County Junior College.

“Harrison has gotten more aggressive and gets to the rim more instead of settling for a jump shot,” MRA coach Richard Duease said. “He has improved his game in many areas over the past few years. Harrison is athletic, he can run and jump. Harrison was the state high jump champion and set a school high jump record (6 feet, 7.25 inches) this past year. He can really shoot the ball. I’m looking forward to Harrison having an outstanding senior season.”

MRA opens the season against MHSAA Class 3A Southeast Lauderdale Saturday at Newton High.

Trey Alexander, Clinton Christian Academy, 6-foot, Junior, Forward

Alexander averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals and helped CCA to a 23-8 record last season as a sophomore.  He had a triple double (16 points,14 rebounds, 10 assists) in a 79-78, triple overtime victory over MRA last season.

Alexander averaged 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists and helped CCA to a 29-6 record, the MAIS Class 3A state championship and the Overall Tournament semifinals two years ago as a freshman.

He has offers from Tuskegee and Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“Trey is a leader on and off the court,” CCA coach Josh Zeitz said. “He is an excellent student and a member of the National Honor Society. Trey played his best in big games, such as his triple double in our victory over MRA. He has a great mid-range game and attacks the rim well. Trey is now playing above the rim.”

CCA opens the season against MRA Tuesday at MRA in Madison.

Marcel Bridges, Brandon, 6-5, Senior, Guard

Bridges averaged 11.6 points and 5.7 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field to help Brandon to a 26-7 record and the semifinals in the MHSAA Class 6A state tournament last season as a junior.

He has offers from East Central CC, East Mississippi CC, Jones County JC, Itawamba CC, and Southwest Mississippi CC.

“Marcel is a very versatile player who can play inside and outside,” Brandon coach Fred Barnes said. “He is a hard worker with a great attitude. Marcel is the perfect leader for our team.”

Brandon opens the season against Harrison Central Saturday at Jones County JC in Ellisville.

Sam Funches, Germantown, 6-9 1/2, Freshman, Forward

Funches, a transfer from Madison-Ridgeland Academy, is one of the top players in the country in his class.

He recently participated in the USA Basketball Junior National Team Minicamp in Colorado Springs, Col. Funches was one of 12 players from across the country in the Class of 2026 to be invited.

He has Division I offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley, Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M, Georgetown, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Creighton, Kennasaw State and Troy.

He was the second leading scorer and leading rebounder on MRA’s ninth grade team last season and played some on MRA’s varsity.

Funches was named to the first team Class of 2026 at the Southwest Elite Scouts, a national middle school combine, this past year. 

“For the short time I have known Sam, he is a wonderful kid and has a great family that supports him,” said first-year Germantown coach Chris Love, who won one state championship and had two state runner-up finishes in his five years at Velma Jackson before coming to Germantown. “I think Sam has the ability to play this game for a long time if he continues to work. You don’t find many players his age with that size that can do the things he can do on the court. Sam is going to bring a lot to the team this year even though he is a freshman. We aren’t going to bring him along slowly. Mississippi high school basketball fans remember Jonathan Bender (of Picayune, who went straight to the NBA out of high school and was fifth pick overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. The 6-11 Bender played eight seasons in the NBA but was slowed by knee injuries and retired in 2010). Sam might compare to Jonathan in size and build.”

Funches’ father, also named Sam, was an All-State player at long time MHSAA powerhouse Murrah in the 1990s. He was a freshman when All-American Othello Harrington was a senior at Murrah. The 6-8 Funches was rated as the ninth best power forward in the country and one of the top 50 players in the country as a senior. He signed with Connecticut and played there two years and then two years at North Texas. Funches’ mom, Keisha, played basketball at Callaway High and Jackson State.

Funchess had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in Germantown’s 63-49 loss over Vicksburg Thursday in the season opener at Vicksburg.

Josh Hubbard, MRA, 5-11, Senior, Guard

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 was the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Player of the Year last season. Hubbard broke a 42-year-old record when he became the MAIS career scoring leader, finishing the season with 3,233 career points.

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.

He committed to Ole Miss in September, 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.

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).

He scored a season-high 42 points and scored his team’s first 20 points against Adams County Christian School this past season. Hubbard 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. He 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 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.

“Hubb averaged close to 30 points a game despite having all kinds of defenses thrown at him trying to stop him,” said MRA coach Richard Duease, the winningest active high school boys basketball coach in the country and the winningest high school basketball coach in Mississippi history. “He had to carry us most of last year. Hubb is a special player who is going to play at a high level in college. He was really too unselfish last year and should have taken more shots. Hubb’s shot selection was better last year. His ability to get to the rim was better last season. In a one-on-one situation, Hubb is hard to stop. We are looking for Hubb to have an even better season this year and help us win a championship.”

MRA opens the season against MHSAA Class 3A Southeast Lauderdale Saturday at Newton High.

Levionne Lindsey, Northwest Rankin, 6-3, Senior, Forward

Lindsey averaged 16 points per game and led Northwest Rankin to a 22-8 record and the MHSAA Class 6A state quarterfinals. He was fourth team All-Metro Jackson last season. Lindsey scored a career-high 35 points against Provine last year.

Lindsey has offers from Copiah-Lincoln CC, East Central CC and Southwest Mississippi CC.

“Levionne is a strong kid with a high IQ and an understanding of the game,” Northwest Rankin coach Joshua Luckett said. “He takes what the defense gives him. Levionne goes as his own pace. He is unselfish and gets his teammates involved, but when he makes his mind up, he can get his own. He’s coachable.”

Lindsey scored 18 points in Northwest Rankin’s 73-58 loss to Meridian Thursday in the season opener at Meridian.

Javarian Mallard, Callaway, 6-foot, Sophomore, Guard

Mallard averaged 14 points, 4 assists and 3 steals and helped Callaway to a 17-14 record last season a freshman. He had a career-high 23 points in the John Wall’s Christmas Holiday tournament in Raleigh, N.C. Mallard had a career-high eight assists against JPS foe Jim Hill.

“Javarian is a player with maturity beyond his age,” Callaway coach Timothy Speech said. “He brings a calmness to this team as his demeanor stays at an even keel et he plays so hard and intense. I’m definitely glad he’s on my side. I don’t know how I would game plan against him. He’s a great student athlete.”

 Callaway opens the season against Yazoo City Tuesday at Yazoo.

Carter Mullins, Florence, 6-3, Senior, Guard

Mullins averaged 27 points and six assists and led Florence to a 27-3 record and the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 4A state tournament. He was fourth team All-Metro Jackson last season. Mullins had a career-high 42 points against Natchez last season.

Mullins has offers from Copiah-Lincoln CC, East Mississippi CC, Hinds CC, Northeast Mississippi CC and Southwest Mississippi CC.

“Carter is a gym rat,” Florence coach Darrin Chancellor said. “He will spend the night in the gym if he could. Carter is definitely one of the best players I’ve ever had.”

Eric Paymon, Jr., Raymond, 6-9, Junior, Forward

Paymon averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 blocks and helped Raymond to a 29-6 record and the MHSAA Class 4A state championship last year as a sophomore.

He is rated as the No. 1 recruit in Mississippi in the Class of 2024 by ESPN.

Paymon has Division I offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas Christian University and New Mexico State.

He played at First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Pa., two years ago as a freshman, but his parents live in Raymond and wanted him to be at home this next season. Paymon went to Jackson Academy before going to First Love.

“EJ (his nickname) is the ultimate team player,” Raymond coach Tony Tadlock said. “He is one of the most coachable kids that I’ve coached. EJ is going to do all the things it takes to win. He is 6-foot-9, 228 pounds, left-handed and has a 7-foot-4 wingspan. EJ is a great listener. He soaks up what you tell him like a sponge.”

Raymond opens the season against Murrah Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Ranger Round-Up Classic at Raymond.

Courterius Scott, Murrah, 6-1, Senior, Guard

Scott averaged 19.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and helped Murrah to a 20-10 record last season as a junior. He scored a career-high 29 points against Horn Lake last season.

Scott has offers from Mississippi Valley, Mississippi College, Itawamba Community College, and Pearl River CC.

“Courterius’ ability to score at an elite level, as well as facilitate and defend at a high level is the reason he is the best player in the city of Jackson and one of the best in the state,” Murrah coach J Washington said. “He is the key cog that makes our team go. Courterius is the only player that I’ve had that has played all four years for me. He has been a model of consistency in his work ethic and play, which is evident in his growth and development as a player each year.”

Murrah opens the season against defending MHSAA Class 4A state champion Raymond Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the Ranger Round-Up Classic at Raymond.

KJ Sykes, Clinton Christian, 5-7, Senior, Guard

Sykes averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals and helped Clinton Christian to a 23-8 record last season as a junior. He made third team All-Metro last year. Sykes scored a career-high 40 points against St. Aloysius and had 38 points in 79-78, triple overtime upset over then defending MAIS Overall Tournament champion MRA. A starter since the seventh grade, Sykes has scored 2,300 career points.

He has offers from Tuskegee and Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“KJ is a scoring point guard with a deadly mid-range game,” CCA coach Josh Zeitz said. “He rebounds well for a guard and has worked to improve his 3-point range. KJ excels on the court and in the classroom and is in the National Honor Society.”

CCA opens the season against MRA Tuesday at MRA in Madison.