Top-40 sophomore Deron Rippey Jr. talks interest from 'dream schools' UNC and UConn, updates recruitment | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 18.
  • Top-40 sophomore Deron Rippey Jr. talks interest from ‘dream schools’ UNC and UConn, updates recruitment

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    ROSELLE, N.J. — Deron Rippey Jr., a top-40 sophomore and one of the best underclassmen at the prep level, continues to attract high major offers and interest as he has led Blair Academy (NJ.) to a 9-0 start this season.

    The 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard has received interest from his two “dream schools,” North Carolina and UConn, and has offers from Syracuse, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M and St. John’s, among others.

    “UNC and UConn are my two dream schools,” he told ZAGSBLOG at Friday’s NJ Hoop Recruit Classic. “It’s pretty interesting to hear from them and really exciting as well.”

    Kentucky, Arkansas and Rutgers have reached out as well.

    Rippey has taken over the starting point guard role at Blair this season under legendary high school coach Joe Mantegna, who will be coaching the 2024 Olympics.

    “He’s adjusting really well, and every week, he seems to be improving,” Mantegna said. “He’s growing up, maturing and playing with a lot of poise.”

    “He’s exactly the guard you want right now,” Mantegna continued. “He can score, he makes some of those dime cross-court passes. Those are passes that sophomores in college are learning to make. He’s a dog on defense and that’s what travels [to the next level].”

    The young guard has cherished the opportunity to play in Mantegna’s college-like system.

    “We definitely have a college-ready system,” Rippey said. “Our practices are college-like, are school is college-like, so it’s preparing me. That’s what I love about Blair.”

    Rippey broke down some of his recent recruitment to ZAGSBLOG:

    St. John’s (Nov. 25 game and practice): “Seeing the similarities between Blair and St. John’s practice is pretty exciting because I know that’s what I’m preparing for, and I’m getting at such a young age.”

    Kentucky: “Kentucky is a school I’d want to go to. Most of their guards are pro-ready. They let their guards play, and a lot of them went to the NBA, so it’s definitely a spot I want to keep in mind.

    Syracuse: “They just had a coaching change, so it’s pretty interesting to see how their system is changing. It’s definitely a school I’d like to go to because it is a high major, but just seeing how they change the playstyle is what I want to keep in mind.”

    Rutgers: “Playing in New Jersey is pretty interesting. It’s definitely a spot I’d like to look at more, and I just want to stay in contact with them.”

    Rippey, Mantegna and Blair Academy will be back in action on Dec. 29 at the HoopHall East in Delaware.

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