Jovani Ruff Q&A
In the class of 2025, the state of California is loaded with talented players including Elzie Harrington, Tounde Yessoufou, Brayden Burries, and Jovani Ruff among others. Ranked as a top-20 sophomore nationally, Ruff plays for Long Beach Poly (CA) and Team WhyNot (CA). Last season, the 6’5” guard earned MaxPreps Freshman All-American Third Team honors. This year, he has expanded his game by taking on floor general duties while staying consistent as a multi-level scoring threat. As the AAU season approaches, Ruff should undoubtedly add to his offers list and be closely tracked as one of the top long-term prospects on the west coast.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Ruff talked about his grandfather’s positive impact in his basketball journey, his recruitment update and openness to alternative routes, his skills as a jazz pianist, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2025 prospect Jovani Ruff, from Long Beach, California:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
Jovani Ruff: I got two younger brothers. My dad actually played basketball. He went to Colorado. He played overseas. My mom played in high school. My grandfather played different sports, but I really got into basketball at like four or five years old. I started playing at this park league on the little rims. And yeah, that's pretty much where I got started.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
JR: When I was four or five years old, I played soccer and flag football. I was nice at soccer, actually.
PI: What made you decide to focus on basketball?
JR: Well, my grandfather really got me into basketball so I thought it was a way for me and him to connect more so we always went outside in the backyard and played and I just found a passion for it.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and playstyle?
JR: I'm more of a combo guard, really. I'm strong off the ball, but recently I've been working on the ball so I can become more of a point guard in a way. But I'm really strong at getting to my spots, pulling up in mid-range, just getting to the basket, defending. I've been working on my rebounding. That's really just effort. But yeah, I'm really a very skilled offensive player.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
JR: Devin Booker. Bradley Beal. A little bit of Jayson Tatum, but I want to become a point guard so I've been watching a little bit of Luka Doncic.
PI: What have you been working on to become a point guard?
JR: Of course my ball handling and passing, but I feel like I've always been a good ball handler and passer. It's really just becoming a leader. This year at my high school, I've been forced to kind of become a leader and become a point guard so I've just been working on that.
PI: What type of leader are you?
JR: I'm more leading by example. I'm kind of getting there vocal-wise, but I'm more like, “this is how to do it. Watch me do it. I'm gonna show you the right way.”
PI: What are your current measurements?
JR: 6’4”, 6’5”. I think I have a 6’8” wingspan and I'm 180 pounds.
PI: Besides doing well in CIF, what are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
JR: Of course, yeah like you said, I want to win the championship, finish out strong. AAU is coming up so I want to go far. And just really it’s about getting better because junior is coming up and I just really want to blow up junior year.
PI: Who will you be running with for AAU this summer?
JR: As of now, Team WhyNot.
PI: What’s your training regimen when you’re getting shots up?
JR: Yeah, I always start off with form shots. I always get shots up first. Then I'll get into my moves, getting to my spots. That's really second. I always do ball-handling last and conditioning at the end.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
JR: So you know who Spencer Freedman is? In 2020, I was working out with him. We played one-on-one after every workout. He was crazy. Aside from him, someone in my grade, probably Darryn Peterson in EYBL. He was tough to handle. I’d also say my dad. My dad's tough. He still got it. Those three guys have really pushed me.
PI: You have offers from LMU, Long Beach State, and San Jose State — what is your recruitment update? Who would you like to hear from?