Oak Hill SG Jalen Ricks’ Star is on the Rise

Jason Jordan

Last spring Jalen Ricks had the same mentality of every high school basketball player looking to up their profile with college coaches by way of dominance on the spring and summer circuit.

“I felt like it was gonna be a breakout summer for me,” Ricks said. “When COVID cancelled everything, I had to regroup.”

But with what Ricks referred to as “no committable offers,” he focused on his high school finale year as the stage for his emergence.

“My mindset was to come out here and just kill,” Ricks said.

Jalen Ricks
Jalen Ricks has emerged as a star on Oak Hill's loaded roster. (Photo: St. James)

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Eleven games into the season, Ricks is pumping in 15 points and eight rebounds a game for the No. 6 Warriors (11-0). In the Oak Hill’s last four wins, two of which were over top 10 teams at the St. James NIBC Invitational, Ricks is averaging 18 points a game.

“I was at Oak Hill last year, but I had a slow year,” Ricks said. “I just focused on getting better all summer and working on every part of my game. I knew that this had to be the year for me, and there was no way I wasn’t gonna put in work.”

It’s paid off.

Arkansas, Murray State, Tulsa, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Bowling Green, Towson and TCU, among others, are all vying to land Ricks. He quickly shut down rumors about him being a lock to the Razorbacks. Ricks hails from Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas.

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“I’m not favoring anyone,” he said. “I just want to go to the best school that fits me.”

At 6-foot-5, Ricks has optimal size for the position paired with an unrelenting motor. He’s adept at draining shots from the perimeter but keeps the defense off balance with his ability to drive and knockdown the mid-range shot as well. His length and athleticism enable him to thrive as a rebounder and guard multiple positions, all attributes that are making him a hot commodity with college coaches.

Better late than never.

“I play with a lot of confidence because I know what I can do,” Ricks said. “We play at a high level with a lot of talent so I’m comfortable playing with other talented players. In college, I want to be in a motion offense where there’s freedom, but also a school that emphasizes defense. I just want to be in the best situation.”