Jaron Hopkins currently holds offers from 11 Division 1 basketball programs, and the number will continue to grow. The 6'4 G/F played his junior season at Arizona's Basha High and, along with former Basha teammate Torren Jones, will take his senior season play over to Dobson High (Chandler Az.).
There are rumors Hopkins and Jones have some interest in hoop powerhouse Westwind Prep, but to this point remains just rumor. At 6'4 185lbs Hopkins brings significant versatility in manning the 1-3. Always on the verge of creating his next highlight, Hopkins is equal parts lethal scorer and selfless distributor. He and Jones join Arizona State commit Kodi Justice, and will quickly establish Dobson as the prohibitive favorite for the '12-'13 Arizona Division 1 state championship.
Hopkins is a hyper-athletic 4-star prospect, an offensive force, and a "jump out of the building" leaper. Hopkins possesses point guard handles and the lane-driving capability of a high level wing. Widely regarded as among the elite of the state of Arizona's '13 ballers, there's little doubt his recruitment will prove hotly contested. In '11-'12 Hopkins impacted the stat sheet as few others.
Registering 21.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 5.3 steals per game, Hopkins led the Basha High Bears to a 22-7 record and a #10 state (Arizona) ranking. Combining his points (21.8) and the points resulting from his assists (6 apg, minimum 12 pts/gm), Hopkins directly contributed 33.8 of the 69.4 points per game tallied last season by Basha. Equally impressive was the efficiency with which Hopkins scored. After shooting 43% as a sophomore, the 6'4 G/F dialed up his junior campaign shooting to an eye-popping 60%.
Hopkins carries a dizzying array of finishing moves (to include low-post), plays and scores through contact and possesses exceptional court-vision. It is rare a defender can match Hopkins' quicks and agility while also possessing the size to deal with the height (6'4) and bounce #1 brings to bear. On the defensive end, Hopkins also proves capable of impacting the game. His 5.3 steals per game ('11-'12) led the state of Arizona and ranked #23 nationally. Mix in an average of 6.1 rebounds per game ('11-'12) and present is the makings of a future fantasy basketball juggernaut. Working to disprove the "dumb-jock" stereotype, Hopkins sports a 3.6 GPA for good measure
Versatility (PG/SG/SF) can be a blessing, but can also serve to impede development. Long-term Hopkins 6'4 frame makes him an unlikely PG candidate. On the flip side, at 185lbs he may be 25-30lbs shy of the bulk/strength to hold down the 3 for a high major D1 program. My take is Hopkins holds the handles, athleticism, and frame, best suited a 2-guard. Hopkins is a big time scorer (21.8 ppg '11-'12), yet remains inconsistent beyond the arc (25% '10-'11, 37% '11-'12) and struggles from the free throw line (56% '10-'11, 57% '11-'12).
At this point, the vast majority of Hopkins scoring comes via slashing and driving. High-level defenders will play off unless Hopkins proves more willing (17 for 46) and consistent from deep. Although an effective finisher, the '13 standout displays a distinct preference to finish with his right hand. High school defenders rarely have the savvy and awareness to force a man to his offhand, but D1 opponents and Coaches will be all over this. This is not to imply Hopkins is unable to finish with his left, simply it is a safe guess an opponent may defend as though the shot/finish will arrive via Hopkins right hand. Given the amount of touches he registered, Hopkins turnovers per game of 2.1 are not alarming, but there is always room to tighten up the handles and passing. The flare for the highlight oft leads to the unforced error
I have little doubt Jaron Hopkins will prove an effective scorer at the D1 level. He has strong ball skills, a quick first step, is an explosive leaper, and fearless to the rim. What may ultimately determine how far he takes his immense talents are the consistency from deep and improvement from the line. As oft mentioned, if a defender does not honor his opponents long range game he is much more likely to defend a dribble-drive. Hopkins need not invoke the spirit of long-range legend Ray Allen, but he will need to provide D1 opponents as much to defend and respect as is possible.
There was a nice % increase between '10-'11 (25%) and '11-'12 (37%), but work remains to be done. Ideally, Hopkins should continue north of 42% and launch 3.5+ 3-pointers per game (1.8pg in '11-'12). The struggles from the line are difficult to comprehend and should serve as a high priority fix. Given his talents and ability to drive the lane, the expectation should be 70%+. Should Hopkins prove to shore up the listed items, I expect his game to progress to the high major D1 level with subsequent All-Conference considerations.
His tireless and aggressive attack of the basket will take up the pressure on many an opponent and lead to significant scoring and assist opportunities. As he wraps his High school career I expect Hopkins to excel in '12-'13 to the tune of 21-24 points, 6-7 rebounds, 6-7 assists, and another 4+ steals per game. On the collegiate level, I project Hopkins in the range of 16-19 points, 4.5-5.5 Rebounds, 5-6 assist, and 2.5-3.5 steals per game. Jaron Hopkins is a high level prospect and a highlight waiting to happen.
Hopkins holds scholarships offers from the following: Arizona (PAC-12), Auburn (SEC), Boise State, Colorado (PAC-12), Colorado State (MWC), Nebraska (Big Ten), Penn State (Big Ten), Pennsylvania (Ivy League), USC (PAC-12), UTEP (C-USA), and Washington State (PAC-12)
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