At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, over one hundred players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today’s edition will highlight Aaron Ross of Northwood High School and Team Stacked.
Defense, toughness, and making the hustle plays are three characteristics that have been pushed aside over the past ten to twenty years. However, those are the traits that make Ross such an effective player. He’s a wiry, rugged guard prospect with the ability to rebound, force turnovers, and operate from either backcourt position, especially defensively. Ross shows an understanding of how to properly involve himself in the action while playing within the flow of the team structure on both ends of the floor. His IQ, instincts, and overall anticipation abilities allow him to be a pest against all types of opponents. Ross is a useful creator, perimeter shooter, and penetrator with the necessary skills to finish through contact or set up teammates for scoring opportunities.
We’ve seen Ross in every possible setting, including at his most recent showing at our Eastern North Carolina 150 Camp, where we stated: “Continuing onto a player that made a major impact with his defensive ability from start to finish, Aaron Ross. He’s a long, smart two-way guard prospect with a smooth well-rounded approach on both ends of the floor. Ross is a reliable creator for himself and others with the ability to score effectively from all levels. However, he truly shines on the defensive end as an on-ball defender and overall tone-setter with his tenacity and ability to force turnovers with consistency. Next in his development process is working on the use of his off-hand, as it would make him a more complete player. Coach Williams on Ross: “Aaron is a very strong, athletic combo guard. He’s very coachable and hardworking. Aaron plays very aggressive on defense and knows how to be a leader, especially on that end of the court. He has a nice offensive game and understands how to play in multiple different roles.” Ross was the most impressive defensive player in attendance, securing the Mr. Defense award with relative ease, and should be the most productive player this season at Northwood.”
Since then, Ross has continually trended upward while maintaining his status as a two-sport athlete. This season, he led Northwood to a 27-3 record and averaged 14.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.9 SPG while shooting 55% from the floor. Ross was named AAI Player of the Week, Extra Effort Award, First Team All-Conference, and a massive part of their first-place finish in the conference (first time since 2012). He has seen a variety of offers and interest from Division III programs and has the tools to carve out a quality role within his first season. Only time will tell, but Ross is a prospect that could make a college coach very happy at the next level.