Terrence Ross has been a well-known commodity for a minute now. After dominating his first two years of high school hoops at Portland Jefferson, he opted to take his game to another level by transferring to KD’s alma mater, Montrose Christian in Maryland. After doing his thing there for a year in a half, the then-senior opted to head back home to finish up his playing career with his childhood friends back at Jefferson. The OSAA shot that down real quick. Ross was forced to sit on the bench and watch his boys win their third straight state title from the sidelines.
“It was tough. Playing with the dudes I grew up and were always there for me… it was real tough not being able to play,” the now 20-year-old said, reflecting back on his senior year spent on the pine at Jefferson. “I still went to every practice and worked out with the guys every single day. It was tough not being able to play my senior year, but I just put in a lot of work both on and off the court and did what I had to do.”
With the ridiculously high expectations and having not played a non-AAU game in nearly two years, it was no doubt an adjustment period at first. Washington had a senior-laden squad and finished with a 24-11 record. And though Ross showed flashes of brilliance, it was mixed with periods of inconsistency. He knew that something had to change and took a few steps to get his game back to the level that he was at when he donned the Jumpman logo at Montrose.
“I think my freshman year I was getting adjusted playing with all seniors. I think that learning from those guys by working out with them for an entire year and learning the veteran’s standpoint of being a teammate really helped me and carried me to a sophomore season.”
In ‘11-12, his game blossomed. His scoring average doubled from 8 points per game to over 16. He shot 46 percent from the field, 37 percent from three, and 78 percent from the line while also giving fans their fair share of highlight-reel dunks. Terrence led U-Dub to the Final Four of the NIT in NYC and averaged 22.5 points per game on the run. The time was right for him to take the next step in his career.
“I felt like it was a good time for me to leave. I felt like I was ready to go to the next level. Everything just kind of fell into place,” Ross said.
We got the chance to check out TRoss for two days at Impact Basketball’s L.A. branch. Long-time Impact trainer Geo Aispuro told us that we’d be happy with what we saw, and he was definitely keeping it 100. The first day, we were able to see Ross go head-to-head with long-time NBA swingman Rasual Butler, and the second day, we saw him work out in front of a half dozen NBA executives. Both times, he dominated.
Starting things off with a series of jumpers, it was clear that the sophomore spent some major time refining his shot. He always had the ability to shoot the pill—it just wasn’t incredibly consistent. His effortless release made you forget that he was shooting the ball from nearly 24 feet away from the cup. He then went through a series of one dribble pull-ups where you could see that, while he admittedly came to Impact to work on his handle, it was definitely adequate enough for him to get his own shot off whenever he wanted against a 10-year NBA vet.
In the second workout in front of the NBA execs, Ross marveled onlookers with the improved marksmanship of his shot, size for a shooting guard (he’s a legit 6-7), and elite athleticism. Impact guru Joe Abunassar put him through a series of drills to put his vast array of talents on center stage.
His step-back jumper was simply a thing of beauty—the type of step-back that you teach your kids out in the backyard. Truthfully, there wasn’t a whole lot more that he could have done in a workout of this setting. There weren’t any other wings for him to go up against so it was the “one on none” workout that teams often dread. This wasn’t the case this time around, as eight middle-aged men controlling the decisions of NBA teams circled Ross at the conclusion of the workout and drilled him as to how he’d fit in with their perspective franchises.
With the Draft still less than two months away, it’s hard to imagine Ross slipping out of the lottery. Once he gets in front of NBA decision makers, he’s going to shock a lot of people with the things that he can do at nearly 6-7. In fact, one scout felt that he could even potentially be the first shooting guard taken in the Draft if he continues at this rate.
The talent has always been there and while some people use college to get a degree (which he ultimately plans on obtaining), Ross used the two years that he spent with Coach Romar in Seattle to put himself in the position that he is in today both on and off the court.
“Coach Romar taught me how to be responsible and take accountability for all of my actions,” he responded when drilled on the most beneficial thing he learned at Washington. “He helped mold me into the man I am today.”