Posted On: 01/19/18 11:51 AM

The high school basketball 2017-18 campaign is roughly halfway complete. With the release of our 2018 player rankings, here are five players who have shot up the list during their senior seasons.

13. Marlon Ruffin (Sun Prairie)

If Ruffin doesn’t pick up a Division 1 offer, it should be considered a criminal offence. Ruffin is making a case for being the top unsigned senior in the state.

Schools could be hesitant to pull the trigger because Ruffin is unique and it’s tough to project how he’ll fit into certain systems. Playing point guard for Sun Prairie, Ruffin has the mentality of a junkyard dog. Still, you can never have enough players who can play multiple positions, provide leadership, and give you a lock down defensive presence.

A relentless, two-way player, Ruffin impacts the game in so many ways on both ends. A strong, explosive slasher, Ruffin can live in the paint. He’s also greatly improved his drive and dish ability, showing the ability to draw defenders and thread the needle in traffic this season. Able to play in a variety of styles, Ruffin has value as an uptempo guard/wing who can orchestrate the transition break, but should also thrive in low scoring, grind-it-out affairs as he relishes defending for 30-plus seconds.

16. Gacoby Jones (Dominican)

Jones is playing his way into some potential Division 1 scholarships this season as a number of schools have started to inquire about his services.

Averaging 18 points and five assists per game, Jones has Dominican off to an 8-1 start. A deceptively explosive and fast lead guard, Jones has some tools that make him exciting. At 6-foot-1, Jones can play above the rim at times and displays tremendous body control at the rim, able to hang and finish in traffic. A pass-first guard, Jones has a strong understanding of when to take over a game and when to get his teammates involved. Late in games, Jones always seem to be able to do the heavy lifting.

Jones probably won’t live on the perimeter, but he’s reliable enough as a jump shooter that defenders have to respect it. Relying on speed and dribble penetration, Jones creates a lot of offense for his teammates as defenses have to cheat into the paint to slow him down.

Jones holds a few Division 2 offers at this time. He listed Milwaukee, Montana State, and Bradley as schools currently expressing interest.

18. Jay Gentry (Brown Deer)

A player that doesn’t shy away from the moment, Gentry always seems to play his best against the best.

Gentry is putting up huge numbers as a senior, averaging 27 points and five rebounds per outing. Built like a mac truck, the 6-foot-1 guard is an excellent pull-up jump shooter. He’s not fazed by a hand in his face and brushes off contact with ease as he’s creating his shot. A three-level scorer, Gentry takes contact to defenders. When he puts his head down and goes to the rim, Gentry is a threat to take it all the way or unexpectedly pull up on the go, able to knock down off-balance jumpers.

A lot of junior college attention is coming Gentry’s way as a senior as well as a mixture of Division 1 and 2 interest.

19. Jordan Dinsmore (Milwaukee Washington)

Often a good reflection of point guard play is the success of those around them. Leading a loaded Milwaukee Washington unit, Dinsmore is helping his teammates thrive.

A smooth ball handler, Dinsmore controls the tempo of the game and excels at getting into the teeth of the defense and making things happen. Dinsmore has been terrific in the open floor this season, shaking defenders in space or hitting his teammates in stride for easy buckets in transition. A high-IQ floor general, Dinsmore doesn’t waste many dribbles. He puts it on the deck with a purpose. A strong 3-point shooting presence, Dinsmore can play off the ball and let others create for him as well.

There are a handful of Division 1 programs expressing interest late. If Dinsmore goes the JUCO or prep route, he could really boost his stock over the next year or two.

29. Daishawn Dillard (Milwaukee Career & Tech Academy)

Dillard was a very pleasant surprise this season. He doesn’t play at one of the marquee Milwaukee programs, but it’s very easy to appreciate the way Dillard plays the game of basketball.

The senior point guard controls so many aspects of the game and everything runs through him. When Dillard takes the floor, he makes it known quickly who the alpha dog is. A dangerous pick n’ roll floor general, Dillard kills defenses by getting into the paint and dropping off no-look assists. As soon as he touches the ball, Dillard is looking to make something happen. He’s not afraid to go coast-to-coast and has the speed to blow by multiple defenders in the open floor.

Dillard’s speed commands respect. That’s when he hits you with stop and pop 3-pointers off the dribble. The 5-foot-8 guard is averaging just a shade under 20 points per game this season.