Looking at it realistically, Aaron Ross probably never imagined he would find himself at a prep school in Wisconsin. But, the Arkansas native is making the most of a year in prep school.
After signing with his homestate school Arkansas, the 6-foot-7 Little Rock product came up a bit short of qualifying. Undaunted, he's been making big strides during a prep year at Delafield (Wisc.) St. John's Northwest Military
"He's been great," SJNMA assistant Bryan Clayton told Rivals.com. "He's somebody who has come in and really bought in. We've never really had to get on him about anything."
The SJNMA staff knew it was getting a combo forward that ranked No. 143 nationally in the final 2011 Rivals150. But his work ethic and humble attitude have been welcome.
"We knew what we were getting from a talent standpoint but the kid works his tail off," said Clayton. "The early morning conditioning and weight stuff that is optional for other guys, for Aaron it's not."
Not surprisingly, the results are showing on the floor. Ross is in good shape physically and has added muscle and explosion.
"You can tell in his game that he's a little more explosive," Clayton said. "It's helping him do some new things. Mostly he's just consistent. You know that you are going to get 20 points out of him whether it's near the basket or on the perimeter."
Because of Ross' inside/out ability, many have debated whether he's a small or power forward in college. According to Clayton, he's a guy that you get on the floor and create favorable matchups with.
"He's a tweener," Clayton said. "He's a below-the-rim guy. If you put somebody bigger on him he can take him out to the perimeter where he has a high major skill set for a big guy.
"Against smaller guys he's got the strength and low post games to score on them. He just has to find somewhere that has that freedom for him offensively."
In addition to Arkansas, which has continued to monitor Ross' situation closely, the likes of Wisconsin, Washington, Xavier, Dayton, Bradley, USC, DePaul, Wichita State, Nebraska and many others have kept tabs on the prep schooler.
Because Ross committed to Arkansas so early in his high school career, he's never really experienced recruiting so he will likely take some visits and explore multiple options once he's given the full clear signal from the NCAA.
"He has all five visits and he may start taking them in February," Clayton said. "I know he's been on an unofficial to Arkansas, he went home and went to a game there.
"He's probably going to take more than one visit to see what it is all about. What's most important is being officially recognized as a qualifier and that should be within the next month."