Posted On: 01/11/21 5:00 PM
Little Rock, Arkansas native Jalen RicksJalenRicks6'7" | SFOak Hill Academy | 2021State#149NationVA is thriving in his second year at Oak Hill. The blossoming 17-year-old wing, who is listed at 6-foot-7 190 pounds, is leading his team in scoring (17 PPG) and rebounding (11 RPG) through his team’s first 3 games at the St. James NIBC Invitational.
Before he arrived at Oak Hill last season, Ricks was a standout at Sylvan Hills High School, leading his team in most statistical categories as a freshman and sophomore. He got noticed playing with the Joe Johnson Hawks on the Adidas Gauntlet and thus made the transition to the Virginia powerhouse.
“I feel like basketball-wise Arkansas is underrated,” Ricks told Prep Hoops. “We really had to work hard to try to get out of there. Got noticed on the Adidas gauntlet.
Ricks arrived at Oak Hill listed at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds. He’s grown both physically and mentally since.
“On the court, it kind of opened my eyes to the competition out there. Playing against better people, D1 players every day in practice, it’s just eye-opening in itself,” he told Prep Hoops. “Off the court, we’re living by ourselves and away from our parents. So it helps me in that aspect getting ready for college.”
One of the things Ricks does well while on the court is communicate. He understands the value of mastering now because it will help him moving forward.
“Coach Smith makes it a key in practice to talk. I just know at the next level we’re going to have to communicate and talk all the time, so I’m just trying to make it a habit.”
Some of the things Ricks is working on are staying active on both ends and playing with consistent aggression. He’s also working on shooting the ball consistently well. Ricks has shot the ball well from the foul line this season, making 10 of 11 attempts (91%) through 3 games at the NIBC. It’s a small sample size, but potentially an encouraging indicator that he can become a dependable three-point shooter in the long-term.
Tulsa, TCU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Towson, Bowling Green, and Oklahoma State are among the programs currently recruiting Ricks. What is he looking for in a school?
“I just want to go somewhere where I can learn from the players up there and playing a good location.”