Deron Rippey Jr. | An Emerging Basketball Star
Photo by: Blair Academy (Mia Leddy & Allison Roecker)
The state of New Jersey is flooded with talented upperclassmen with skills that are second to none. With the likes of Elliot Cadeau, Dylan Harper, Tahaad Pettiford, Naas Cunningham, and many others, the Garden State is going through a time where we have numerous players that are being recognized nationally. With that being said, The freshman (rising sophomore) class of athletes are making a name for themselves as well, and the need to pay attention should be taken very seriously. Leading the way for them is Blair Academy’s Deron Rippey Jr., a 6’2 guard originally from Brooklyn, NY. Already with offers hailing from Oklahoma State, Fordham, and St. John’s, Rippey is making his case on why he will be the next great guard for New Jersey.
Rippey is coming off a stellar freshman campaign, where he was a part of a guard oriented system directed by head coach Joe Mantegna. Despite being one of the younger players on the team, Rippey played a major role for the program along with teammates Jayden Lemond, Ian Imegwu, and Carnegie Johnson. Because of Rippey’s athleticism, ball handling, and poise on the court, he is able to make an impact on the court even when there is a big age difference. Along with his skills, Rippey’s confidence throughout his journey allows him to separate himself from not only other players in the state, but in the entire country.
“Going into Blair, I did feel a little bit of pressure in the beginning due to the fact that I had to make a statement that I belonged with other great players,” said Rippey. “But over time as the season went along, I realized I was doing more than what a typical freshman would do, so that allowed me to notice in myself that I can be a pretty good player myself and stand out.“
Transitioning to this spring/summer, Rippey is developing fast. Playing with the New York Lightning on the EYBL circuit, Rippey is recognized on every major platform in every session that he plays in. Rippey’s most notable accomplishments as of late has been both his invite to Team USA Basketball’s 16u tryouts in Colorado, and his ranking of the 10th best point guard in the class of 2026 according to ESPN. These announcements are huge for Rippey’s stock due to the fact that he is being recognized as being one of the nation’s best.
With so much success coming in a short amount of time. Rippey’s support system has been arguably the most important part of his career so far. The leader of the system has been his father, Deron Rippey Sr., who has been not only a role model for the rising sophomore, but also a huge advocate for his career. Rippey Sr’s effect on his son has turned him into both a great basketball player and student in the classroom.
“I teach Deron, along with my daughters, that it is important to represent where you from,” said Rippey Sr. “It is important to display representation of where you come from because there have been so many people that have come before us that paved the way for many to prosper. It is our job to pay homage to them by putting in the work and giving credit to those who deserve it.”
As far as goals are concerned, Rippey has high standards for himself and his team going into the future. According to Rippey, as long as the work is put in to maximize the potential, the sky's the limit for the amount of accomplishments that can be achieved.
“My main goal is to win a conference championship and state championship for the next three years,” Rippey expressed. “All the past players who have come through Blair were able to win both, so I want to be a part of that category. When I graduate high school, I want to go to a program that will allow me to have success academically and develop into a professional so that I can take care of my family down in Fort Greene. If that can happen, that would be a dream come true.”
After speaking with Rippey and his father, it is evident that there is a determination to be the best people they can be on and off the court. Because of this, there is no way you cannot root for a promising young man like him. I wish much success to the family and do not be surprised if you see Rippey gaining more national recognition in the near future.