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Basketball talk with 2026 PG Deron Rippey

Deron Rippey Jr., a class of 2026 point guard hailing from Blair Academy in New Jersey & playing with the New Heights Lightning has garnered attention as one of the most intriguing lead guards in his recruiting class. With a four-star rating and a placement among the top 30 overall prospects, Rippey is recognized for his exceptional skill set and potential.

As an aggressive playmaker, his ability to access the court, dictate pace and tempo sets him apart as a floor general. Additionally, Rippey demonstrates an adeptness of feel for the game, allowing him to anticipate plays and make smart decisions under pressure.

We were able to catch up with Rippey at the UC All American Game in ATL and he talked with Make 5 about a variety of things.

Talk about your growth between last year and now?

Between last year and now, the difference in growth has been shown in my Jumpshot and Leadership. My jumpshot has been one of the things I prioritized working on which has grown in form as well as stats from 3 pt % and Free throw %. I also have been more vocal and patient as the point guard on my team as one of the leaders.

What we’re trying to achieve?

Some of my main goals have been maintaining my 4.0 GPA while focusing on winning a conference and state championship, making the USA U-17 Junior National team, having a winning AAU season while playing for a AAU championship, and grabbing the attention of High-Major Schools as well as dream schools of mine.

My developmental focus this season is to keep growing more as one of the leaders at all times. There is always room to grow as a leader and that’s something I’ve been focusing on as well as being a winner and competitor always. Using the feedback from USA, which was being the coach on the floor and a trustworthy point guard.

What’s something different about you than others?

Something people don’t know about me is that I played soccer and baseball in 7th and 8th grade and I love to watch anime series. Also last year during my freshman year I acted in shakespeare. What separates me from other players from my position is that I’m an athletic PG that can guard. I know how to pressure the ball and take teams out of their offense. I’m a very good transition player that sees the floor very well while rebounding and I know how to get my teammates involved. Not many guards are as athletic as me and can play both ends of the game and have an impact. My steals or force turnovers, rebounds, blocks, dunks and taking charges are what separates me from other PG.

What schools are on you the hardest?

Some schools that are on me the hardest are probably St.Johns, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, Washington, Arkansas, etc. Several schools have spoken with Coach Mantegna UNC, Rutgers, UConn, Kansas and Seton Hall.

Who is your favorite player?

My favorite player right now is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Who’s the toughest player you played against?

A lot of the guys I played at USA were tough but a guy I matched up with that was tough was Quincy Wadley. He’s nice.

What are you looking for in a program?

In a program, I honestly just want to hear the truth from the coaches during the recruiting process and I want to go to a winning program that lets their guards play and showcase their abilities on the court.

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NYC.

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