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Rams close the book on first Rising Stars Basketball Camp

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The Reidsville basketball program wrapped up three days of action at the first Rising Stars Basketball Camp at the high school gymnasium Friday afternoon.

The Rams coaching staff, current JV and varsity players, as well as alumni, provided daily instruction for boys and girls ranging from grades second through eighth looking to get a leg up on the competition due to the quality instruction at one of the hottest tickets in town.

“The turnout has been more than we expected. It’s been a blessing. We have more than 70 kids in camp and they are from all over the Triad area — from Reidsville, Greensboro, Bethany, Madison, Eden and Stokesdale — so we have a variety of kids from different schools and it’s been a great outpouring of support from the community,” Reidsville head basketball coach Jason Ross said.

The coach said having the opportunity to see the program’s girls and boys high school players step into the role of teacher and mentor to the next generation was rewarding.

“It’s been great to see,” Ross said. “I think sometimes high school kids don’t realize how much younger kids look up to them and admire and watch them in the community, so to have my guys and the support of the varsity girls be there and support this camp has been outstanding for us.”

Expectations are high for the Reidsville boys team in particular for the 2022-23 season. In addition to a pair of rising freshmen sensations poised to make an impact in true point guard Dionte Neal and premiere big man Kendre Harrison (6-7), the Rams have tremendous balance with the returning veterans from last season’s team. Reidsville’s post players, including Al Lee (6-4) and Landon Denny (6-5), give the Rams a formidable size advantage in the post with the addition of Harrison.

Last year’s MVP Amari Baggett will be back for his senior season, and the Rams will get an added boost from Jerrell Wilson, who suffered a devastating season-ending leg injury in the first game of the season against North Forsyth which forced him to miss the entire 2021-2022 season. He’s back on his feet, up to full strength and expected to make an impact as a senior.

In addition, Reidsville has Tamir Johnson back from an injury as well as veterans Vince Messan, Aiden Mansfield and Que’Shyne Flipppen.

“I think at the high school level, all teams play from the inside-out. We are going to run our offense from the inside and feed off of that. I think this year, unlike other seasons, we will be a two-level squad where teams are going to have to focus on the inside and that will open up our guards because right now our guards are going to lead us. Amari Baggett is a four-year varsity player and when you add him out there with all the other players, we should be a formidable team,” Ross said.

After finishing the 2021-22 season with a rare 11-11 record and getting knocked out of the first round of the playoffs on the road at Salisbury, the coach said he and his guys expect nothing less than rebounding and bringing home another Mid-State 2A Conference title.

“We had a really great summer,” Ross said. “I think we have done a lot on and off the court to form a team bond. This is Reidsville, so we are expecting nothing less than a conference championship. I think we have put ourselves into a position that now we have a program that year-in and year-out we can contend for championships, and that is what we are excited about.

“I think the guys returning from last year have a bad taste in their mouths about how that season went. They just want to show the community that Reidsville basketball will always be on top.”

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