LAURINBURG — Jordan Ratliffe is already ready for the next basketball season to start.
“Next year is going to be a great year,” Ratliffe said.
This past year wasn’t so bad either, and Ratliffe’s season was capped off by being named to the Southeastern All-Conference team. Ratliffe played point guard and led Scotland in scoring with 13.5 points per game. He also contributed 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as the team’s point guard.
This was the first season that Ratliffe, a sophomore, played on the varsity team. As the point guard he played a large role in running first-year head coach Michael Malpass’ offense, which Ratliffe said was a lot more varied than anything he had run before.
Malpass said Ratliffe, like the other Scots, were willing and eager to learn and improve their game.
“His best attributes are his desire to get better, be a great teammate, and listen to advice from all the coaches on our staff,” Malpass said.
Ratliffe was Scotland’s only selection, and one of only three underclassmen named to the roster. The other players selected were: Keshawn Shaw, Kory Jones and John Maynor of Hoke County; Greg Patterson and Tre Pettigrew of Richmond; Demetri Sheridan, Travis Suggs and Justice Sampson of Lumberton; Kendrick Purdie of Purnell Swett and Kardashion Ragin and Stephon Stephens of Pinecrest.
Hoke’s Quame Patterson was named coach of the year, while Shaw was chosen as player of the year.
The Laurinburg Exchange sat down with Ratliffe on Monday to talk about his season that led to the honor.
How did your individual play and the team’s play improve as the year went along?
“I feel like I improved my overall basketball IQ. I learned how to help out my teammates. Just because you don’t have the ball doesn’t mean you can’t help create opportunities for your teammates, with screens and cuts. The team wasn’t playing together as much in the beginning of the year. But after we lost five or six games we said OK, we need to figure this out and start playing better.
When we communicated and played hard it was hard to beat us, and if you did beat us it was a tough win.”
What are your goals for next year?
“Next year is going to be a great year. I want to average more assists per game.”
Is there a certain play that is your favorite to run?
“Yeah, two high Carolina. I roll off the screen and then I can step back and shoot the three. Or I get the pass in the wings and I have lots of options. I can pass back outside or to the middle, or I can shoot it. There’s a lot I can do with it.”
What are you doing when it’s not basketball season?
“I still play some basketball with Big Shots from Myrtle Beach. They’re based in Myrtle Beach but we travel all over. The first game is this weekend in Columbia. Besides that, I like to go to the gym and practice my shot.”
How was the adjustment with a new coach?
“It was challenging at first. There was a lot more variety of plays and sets but we learned it. I played mostly man-to-man (on the junior varsity team) with some zone mixed in. The zone defense is a lot more running than you would think, because you’re always going somewhere.”