The Game Plan By Charles Prince

The North Jefferson News

Oftentimes in sports, great natural ability is easy to see. In the sport of basketball, the most physically gifted players can be easy to pick out.

In the case of Gardendale High’s Nigel Ramsey, it becomes quickly apparent to anyone who sees him play basketball that this is one very talented athlete who has the makings of a star.

Ramsey, now a junior, has gotten off to a spectacular start to this season. Last week, he led the Rockets to their second straight title in the Hanceville Thanksgiving Boy’s tournament.

Ramsey’s entire game was on display during the three-day tourney—passing, rebounding, stealing, dunking, grabbing loose balls, setting up teammates for easy buckets and scoring—sometimes it seemed at will.

Gardendale head coach Bill Griffin recently told me that a Division I school from Georgia sent a scout to watch a Rocket practice session. The reason for the visit from Georgia? They wanted to see Ramsey up close.

When his time is up at Gardendale, Ramsey will likely have several schools to choose from to continue his education and to take his game to the next level—he’s that good.

When I was at the Hartselle paper, I saw current University of Alabama player Richard Hendrix several times over his high school career, as his Athen’s High team was in the same area as Hartselle.

One thing that quickly stood out about Hendrix was his physical gifts. Anyone could see he had the athletic skills to play college ball, but he didn’t rely on his talent alone, he refined his game each year.

When I saw Ramsey for the first time as a sophomore, it was clear he was a fine talent with a good all-around game.

Just like Hendrix, Ramsey is refining his game and that refinement could very well land him on the court for a Division I school starting in the winter of 2009.

A big reason Ramsey’s game is improving, coach Griffin is asking him to do more this season, after the Rockets suffered the loss of six seniors from last year’s club.

The position Ramsey is playing this year can best be described as point-forward. He’s often involved in bringing the ball up court and setting up his teammates like a point guard, but he also plays at forward at times.

Ramsey has the skills to play both positions. He can drive, drawing the defense to him and then dish off to a teammate for an easy basket. He can knock down the outside shot. He can rebound as well as most high school center’s can.

But, he’s more than just a threat on the offensive end. His quickness serves him well as a defender also, where his racing feet and hands allow him to swipe the ball often from the player he’s guarding.

Gardenale fans are in for rare treat for the next two seasons—they can catch a glimpse of a star player in the making.

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