Photo by VisualsbyDre
RJ Hampton is a consensus top five player in the country in the class of 2020. At 6-foot-5, the guard can score from all over the floor, defend multiple wing positions, and plays with a swag directly inherited from his father Rod, a former SMU and overseas standout. Hampton has won two gold medals with USA Basketball’s youth development program and is currently focused on adding a Texas high school state championship to his growing list of accomplishments.
I caught up with RJ a day after the Cowtown Tipoff after a workout session with his father. A prospect being in the gym is a normal occurrence, but the Sunday after a loss drew my attention. I quickly learned, Hampton has an insatiable drive toward greatness.
“I was 2/6 from three yesterday and 9/11 from the free throw line. That’s unacceptable, I need to be a 50% shooter,” said Hampton. “So today, I put up 200 shots from each spot I would normally shoot from in a game, 100 stationary jumpers and 100 off the dribble from five spots, I finished it all up with 50 free throws.
CC: That’s amazing maturity from someone your age.
RJ: It’s all about critiquing yourself on what you need to get better at and then implementing a plan to do so. This is normal for us, this is what we do. I’m working on some aspect of my game every single day.”
CC: So what are your thoughts on the loss to Rockwall?
RJ: Well, we are just getting two football players back and working on our team chemistry. The chemistry wasn’t there for us late in the game and we just need to do a better job of closing games as a unit. We’ll figure it out and bounce back.
CC: What about your individual matchup with Samuel Williamson?
RJ: Sam is a great player. I had a lot of fun, iron sharpens iron.
CC: So you know I have to ask, give me an update on your recruiting and the timetable on committing?
RJ: So far I’ve taken one official visit to Memphis. I talk to Coach Penny a lot and Coach Miller just about everyday. Kentucky and TCU are heavily involved. Duke has slowed down some, but Michigan and Texas are there. Kansas has been there since Day 1. I’ll probably trim my list in April or March of 2019 and my family and I will make a decision around October or November.
CC: Cool, I look forward to seeing where you end up. So I want to do something a little different. I’m going to give you some names and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
CC: Tyrese Maxey.
RJ: Tyrese is my guy, I’ve been playing with him since 1st grade. One of the most dynamic players in the country. A pure scorer that can get anywhere on the floor.
CC: Chris Harris Jr.
RJ: One of the purest shooters in the country. I love his mentality. He’s been counted out by a lot of people and he’s proved to everyone that you can’t count him out.
CC: Drew Timme.
RJ: The most skilled big man in the country. He gets so much done on the floor with his IQ. His IQ is so high and he knows how to play the game the right way.
CC: Jahmius Ramsey.
RJ: Strongest guard in the country. He gets to where he wants without breaking a sweat. He’s also a lockdown defender. Duncanville will do a lot with him and Micah (Peavy).