Posted On: 01/14/20 4:16 PM
Being a student-athlete is a difficult task as it is a position that comes with many responsibilities. Too often overlooked are the academic accomplishments of high school athletes. Stars on the court have even more pressing things to accomplish at school. but somehow balance both. There are some high school basketball players that are able to star on the court while they also excel at school. Let’s take a look at some of those young men.
Luke Bille — Ponderosa
Luke Bille’s Ponderosa team has had a couple of rough patches to begin the season but has seemed to find a rhythm as they have now won two games straight including a solid win over Sand Creek last week in which he hit three 3-pointers and dished out nine assists as well. He is a true point guard that sees the floor well but also can play off-ball as he is one of the best knockdown shooters in the entire state. He is shooting 47% from beyond the arc so far and it is paying dividends for a Mustangs team that is looking to get in a zone as league play gets started. He is putting up 11.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists a game as well on a team that is knocking on the door and ready to make some noise. He has progressed tremendously in his senior season as he brings the intangibles and has the respect of his teammates which has him as the captain this season. He is a natural-born leader that excels in and outside of the classroom and he is a player that takes pride in having the highest gpa on the team at 3.8. Bille is headed to Business school but also hopes to play basketball as well. This is a player that you build around.
Elijah Mullet – Fort Lupton
Elijah Mullet is a player that jumped on our radars this past summer and is a student-athlete that will help a team at the next level as he is a capable scorer at a team-high 13.0 points per game but he is also a versatile guard that can get it done in other ways as well. He plays both on and off-ball and he is a player that remains aggressive. He is a downhill runner that gets inside of the defense and can finish in various ways. He finishes with either hand, has a floater or also can stop for a mid-range pull-up when he is not getting teammates involved. He also puts up just under three assists a game with 3.6 rebounds as well and was pivotal in Fort Lupton’s upset win over the undefeated at the time Jefferson Academy. Mullett is also a uber scholar that loves to be challenged off of the court as well. He has a 3.87 gpa in his senior year and said he understood the importance of education at an early age. Any school that gets him will be getting a gym rat that also loves to learn.
Isaiah Jamison – Rangeview
There seems to be a theme here with the Rangeview kids that you will see in the coming days as most of them not only excel on the hardwood but in the classroom as well. With Isaiah Jamison you are getting one of the state’s best perimeter defenders that refuses to get scored on or blown by, is elite at playing the passing lanes as well as using his body to create contact and stick with players and also provides energy the second that he gets on the court. He is a lead by example player that is willing to outwork every single player on the court and is one of the better motivating factors on a team that has won 29 straight games dating back to last season. He has grown immensely as a basketball player as a role player that has been used to close out games as well as the player that his head coach places on the primary ball-handler to slow them down. He is a crafty guard that can also get to the rim and shoot the ball a bit and he currently holds a 3.8 gpa as well. With a student-athlete like this, there is the understanding that there is life after basketball and he is enjoying the ride and seeing how far it can take him.
Zion Ruckard – Eaglecrest
It is hard to start any top players in the state list without mentioning Zion Ruckard as he has absolutely stepped up his game in his senior season and has entered the conversation for the top point guard in the entire state. He used a big summer where he participated in the NCAA College basketball academy with players such as Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O Neal’s sons, Zaire Wade and Shaqir O’Neal to also participating in the 2019 USA Basketball’s 3×3 U18 National Championship. He brought all of what he learned into a very important senior season and has been the state’s most improved player in my honest opinion as he is putting up an impressive 17.9 points and 5.9 assists a game on a top-3 team in the state. When he is not showcasing his elite talent on the basketball court he is thinking of also trying to impact the world in a different way. He is an AP scholar that is also the student class vice president and while all of those basketball accolades are cool and all the best thing going for him is his ability to do it all while also maintaining a 4.3 GPA. A team at the next level is getting a proven winner that has natural-born leadership qualities and his brilliance extends off of the hardwood as well. What is there not to love about Ruckard he is like the poster boy for excellence!
Christopher Speller – Rangeview
The accolades are everlasting for Christopher Speller who you could seriously go on all day about but let’s just take a look at the last year. He is a defending champion and 5A tournament MVP where he was also voted by USA Today Super 25 Top Star for his championship performance. He led his Raiders to a 19-game winning streak and won the championship and that has not stopped coming into this season as the top team in the state is the No.1 team with a perfect 11-0 record including winning the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas and he was named tourney MVP yet again. He’s a 6’5 point guard who ranks in our top-5 guards in the state that plays under control and can shoot or get to the rim, controls the pace and also is the leader of the bunch. As impressive as he is on the court the same applies in the classroom. Speller has a 3.4 gpa and with his abilities mixed with excellence inside of the classroom, there is plenty of low to mid-major Division I schools that should take interest soon.