I wanted to take a minute and thank my good friend, Ted Hutchins of Jackson, MS. Our friendship has resulted in an incresed opportunities for many Jackson area players, including but certainly not limited to 2011 WG Leantwan Luckett who rose to Top 60 in the country this year with the National Ranking Services & 2011 P Donovan Ross who is one tough hombre. Both of these players anchored the roster in this our inaugural season as the Mississippi D1 Ambassadors.
Coach Hutchins, like the rest of our organization’s leaders is a professional man who works his “real job” with the Federal Government’s Social Security Administration. He gives up his nights and weekends to work his passion, coaching basketball and mentoring young men. My hat’s off to him and his lovely wife, Camille for their commitment to the youth of Mississippi and to the D1 Nation!
Coach Max Ivany
The Mississippi D1 Ambassadors had a very successful run at the D1 Nationals in Orlando FL last week. They finished in the top 20 out of over 230 participating teams with a 6-3 record, losing in semifinal consolation bracket 50-49 to the Wave BBall team out of Connecticut.
The D1 Ambassadors placed 2nd in their pool with a 2-1 record; defeating the NJ Roadrunners 46-43 and Georgia Elite South 57-49, and losing to national powerhouse Boston Warriors 81-74. After losing the first game in Championship bracket play (NC Athletics 62-59), they went on a 4 game tear; beating teams such as the Queen City Prophets from Ohio 46-44, Team NLP from Illinois 59-44, NC Athletics East 56-44 and Georgia Stars 43-42.
LeAntwan Luckett led the Ambassadors in scoring with a 17 pt average, while Donovan Ross lead all rebounders with 13 per game! “Twon” had a great month of July traveling all over the United States participating in camps and tournaments such as the EYBL Nike Tournament. No one had a bigger breakout summer than Donovan Ross! He went from relatively unknown to receiving several offers from D1 colleges! He’s known as the “hardest working player in MS”, and that’s the biggest compliment you can get with this talent rich class of 2011. The Ambassadors picked up two young men who were MAJOR contributers to the team, Quentin Watkins, 6’1 pg from Lanier High (Jackson MS) and Joshua Swan, 6’2 pg/sg from Pace Academy in Atlanta GA. Both players have D1 written all over them as they showed great offensive and defensive skills throughout the tournament. Quentin played for the Jackson Celtics this season while Joshua played with the Future Elite from GA.
A pleasant surprise came from 6’4 wing Dexter Williams out of Hawaii and 5’7 pg Sean Hutchins from Ridgeland High. After arriving late due to school committments, Sean provided a defensive spark that carried the team to the brink of medaling. After 6 years of AAU competition, Sean should have a great senior season!
Additional Mississippi D1 Ambassadors prospects that played in the AAU National Tournament:
Jerrial Dawson, 6’1 guard from traditional powerhouse Murrah High, scored 24 pts against the Boston Warriors including 6 three pointers! He’s a pure shooter with range up to 25 feet.
Daniel Francis, 6’3 wing also from Murrah, a three year starter who will receive a lot of looks from the SWAC and LA schools. Very solid fundamentally with a nice baseline jumper.
2012 Corey Cox, 6’3 wing from Yazoo City High started 2 games in Nationals. Tremendous defender with nice stroke from 20 feet. Will be a MAJOR D1 recruit in the Class of 2012.
McDarion Abron, 6’10 center from Canton High, already receiving looks from UTEP, Arkansas State, Alabama State, Jackson State, Missouri State. Raw kid with HUGE upside! Can run the floor like most small forwards, good hands and lane clogger.
A J Wade, 6’3 pg from N E Lauderdale, one of the best man to man defenders in high school. Great job at ball denial, long arms make it impossible to shoot over him, and he is a good rebounder for his slim size! Receiving interest from regional D1 schools in MS and AL.
Additional Players To Watch:
Clayton Tate, 2012 6’3 guard from Terry High, terrific 3 pt shooter who has no fear of taking the big shot. Will also be a major factor next year on the AAU circuit.
Johnny Rucker, 2012 6’4 fwd from Yazoo City, plays like he’s 6-9, actually was the 2nd leading rebounder on team despite limited minutes. Has a knack for getting the tough rebounds, well coached in high school.
Justin Kinsey, 6’4 fwd from Yazoo City, didn’t get a lot of minutes due to foot injury suffered earlier this year, but will start for a LOADED Yazoo City team this year. Great leaper with high flying dunks.
Mississippi D1 Ambassadors