Hidden Gem: Jordan Ratliffe

The great state of North Carolina is filled to the brim with talented middle and high school basketball players. So much so that it often proves difficult to go out and see at least half of them. What makes it almost impossible is when players are waaaaaaay out in the county. However, those are usually where you can find the hidden gems. These are the ones who are just as good and play just as hard as the “city boys,” but with less recognition.

Ratliffe pulling up for the contested jump shot

In Laurinburg, North Carolina, Scotland High School has obtained one of those hidden gems in Jordan Ratliffe. The 6’0, C/O 2016 point guard is as smooth as they come. He has a cool, calm and collected demeanor that affords him the opportunity to play at his own pace and dictate the flow of the game. He is that cold-blooded player that doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but it’s easily recognized that Ratliffe is invested and giving everything he’s got. He’s a silky player that stays leveled headed throughout the course of a game. You would never be able to tell if his team is up or down by looking at him. His style of play is what a team needs from their floor general so they can weather any storm. Ratliffe is poised and in control at all times, which translates into sound decision making and great leadership.

From an offensive perspective, he does a good job making sure his team runs their sets. He moves well without the ball, screening away after making the initial pass to keep the defense moving. Ratliffe is also a sharp shooter, both spotting up and off the dribble. He does an exceptional job running off screens, squaring up and getting his feet set with his hands up, readying himself for the catch and shoot. When the ball swings to him, he can hit the shot with spot on accuracy. Ratliffe has nice elevation and a fluid release that usually results in a knockdown jumper. He is deceivingly quick, using “change of speed” to catch the defense off guard, freeing himself by stopping on the dime for the pull-up jumper. That’s just one of his moves! When driving to the basket, Ratliffe is relentless. Making good use of his unassuming quickness, he knows how to knife into the lane under control and finish strong. He also has sneaky bounce, helping him raise over defenders to convert contested layups.

Ratliffe driving to the lane!

Defensively, Ratliffe is a fundamentally sound with light feet and good lateral movement. He does a good job staying in front of his man or getting back in front of him if he’s beat down the court. He’s extremely active, and somewhat antagonizing, constantly looking to utilize his savvy to outthink the man he’s defending. Ratliffe makes sure to stay low and up under his man. He shows flashes of being a solid help defender, using his quickness to jump in the passing lane for steals or providing weak side help keeping the ball away from big men. As he progresses Ratliffe will need to add more strength and muscle. Putting on additional body mass will aid him offensively and defensively. Ultimately, allowing Ratliffe to be ready for the next level as he transitions from high school to college basketball.

With an overall dynamic and scoring efficiency, Ratliffe grants himself the opportunity to be productive in scenarios where there seems to be none. His style of play reminds you of Dallas Mavericks guard, Monta Ellis – an attack-minded player who picks and chooses his attempts. Per MaxPrep, Ratliffe averaged 16.9 ppg, 3.4 apg, and 6.9 rpg for the 2014-2015 season, earning him a selection to the SEC All-Conference Team and Co-Player of the Year honors. Mark my words, it won’t be too long before this gem is uncovered and gains some attention from college coaches. Ratliffe will spend his summer on the AAU circuit with Big Shots Elite, so be on the lookout!

Check Out This Video of Jordan Ratliffe:

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