Big, athletic, guards and wings have shown incredible value in the NBA, whether it be as franchise players or as complementary pieces to give an extra kick off of the bench. With the game being so much about manipulating space, having someone who can shoot from deep, attack closeouts or create looks for themselves is of major value. These are all facets that make Ramel Lloyd, Jr. a very enticing prospect.
The son of a former high school All-American, Ramel Lloyd, Sr., who played basketball at Syracuse and Long Beach State as well as having a decade-plus career internationally, Lloyd, Jr. is coming off a big-time sophomore campaign with high hopes moving forward. Transferring from Taft to Rancho Christian, Lloyd, Jr. will have some big shoes to fill as seniors Evan Mobley (USC) and Dominick Harris (Gonzaga) both have graduated. At around 6’7 with impressive length, Lloyd, Jr. has an impressive handle, above-average passing ability and can make plays defensively, as well.
Another factor with Lloyd, Jr. is his ability to affect the game offensively at all three levels. It seems he can create on the ball and has a chance to be quite impactful off of the catch as well as a spot-up shooter. It certainly seems like some of these facets are being fine-tuned, but the early returns were impressive for the class of 2022 prospect who was named West Valley League Co-MVP as a sophomore at Taft. While Lloyd, Jr. has run with multiple AAU teams in the past, he spent this past summer focused on training with some very well-regarded trainers and equally high-level competition.
Lloyd, Jr. will be one of the headliners at the HoopSeen West Preview Camp powered by Pro Insight later this month, where he hopes to further exemplify why he is regarded as one of the top prospects on the west coast, regardless of class. He already has numerous college offers with more to come, and the showcase event in Lehi, Utah should further increase the national attention Lloyd, Jr. will inevitably continue to receive.
In this interview, Lloyd, Jr. shares his love for the game of basketball, his close relationship with his father, a look at how he has been training throughout COVID-19, why he decided to stay in California rather than head to Dream City Christian (AZ), some schools that stand out in his recruitment, what he looks for and studies as a player, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Ramel Lloyd, Jr., from Long Beach, California:
Pro Insight: Talk about your background and your story.
Ramel Lloyd, Jr.: I was born and raised in Long Beach, California. I have two older sisters, one played basketball at Long Beach Poly and Long Beach for four years. My dad played at Long Beach State and Syracuse, and also played overseas for about 15 years. Was one of the top high school players in the country, All-American.
PI: Did you play other sports growing up?
RL: No, it’s always been basketball. Grew up in gyms with my dad so I was pretty set on playing basketball.
PI: Any coaches try to recruit you to play football?
RL: Yeah, coaches, when you walk around school and they see you’re tall the coaches definitely ask. When I was at Sierra Canyon High School they asked me to play Lacrosse one year — so yeah, a couple times with different little things.
PI: What made you fall in love with basketball?
RL: From an early age, like I said just being in the gym with him all the time and at the end of his pro career I would always be there just watching, always involved. I kind of just grew into it, it was just natural.
PI: For those who aren’t super familiar with your game, what are some of your greatest strengths?
RL: For me I’m a really big combo guard at 6’7”. I can score the ball at all three levels. I have a great pace to my game. Length, I have a lot of length and use it on defense, rebounding, things like that. So I’m an all-around player: I get to the rim, shoot the mid-range, shoot 3’s. I feel like I have an all-around package in terms of scoring.
PI: What are your current measurements?
RL: 6’7” with shoes, 190 pounds, and about a 6’10.5” wingspan.
PI: Which areas do you feel like you can improve on as a player?
RL: For me, I’m usually the leader of the team, the main scorer, but I feel like leadership-wise I need to be more vocal and make my teammates better in every sense of the game. Just be more of a leader.
PI: What is your leadership style?
RL: I tend to lead by example. I do my thing and hope everybody else follows. I’m not as vocal as I should be so I’m going to try and be a bit more vocal and encourage guys more this upcoming year.
PI: Would you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert?
RL: I can go both ways, it depends. I can be with my friends and be active socially or be myself.
PI: What would you say is most underrated about your game?
RL: Definitely my playmaking skills and vision. Last year I got pegged a lot as a scorer and wasn’t able to show my full ability to pass. So I feel like my playmaking.
PI: Throughout COVID-19, what have you been doing to stay ready?
RL: I’ve just been in the gym working out — I haven’t played in AAU — just been in the gym getting better. I took a little break and just got back in there to start grinding. Trying to get back into things as things start to open up.
PI: Which aspects of your game do you spend the majority of your time working on?
RL: A lot of jump shots and 3’s — you watch the NBA now and that’s what the guys are doing. All the dudes with size and length are on the perimeter shooting, just a lot of off the dribble and on the catch, getting a lot of shots up.
PI: Talk about training with Julius V — how has he helped shape your game?
RL: I’ve been playing with Coach J since I was in the fourth grade so he’s definitely taught me a lot over the years, he’s still my guy to this day. Just coaching me, being around him in training, he’s helping with my film, ball-handling, getting to spots, knowing where my spots are, shooting, and stuff like that. He’s definitely a great coach.
PI: What advice does he share with you?
RL: He’s big on staying in the lab and to just keep working. Not to be content and it doesn't matter who you are or who you think you are, you always have to get better and work harder.
PI: Do you train with any other players?
RL: No not as much. I was back in May and June. I was training with another trainer named Olin Simplis and I was training with a lot of his pro and college guys every day.
PI: Who are some familiar names in that group?
RL: You had Nikeil Alexander-Walker of the [New Orleans] Pelicans, we would always play pickup. Miye Oni of the [Utah] Jazz, and then we had a bunch of college guys. Jarod Lucas & Gianni Hunt of Oregon State, Dexter Akanno of Marquette, just a lot of high level guys who brought energy every day.
PI: Did they share any advice with you?
RL: Plenty...they were always tough on me and they didn’t give me any breaks. We used to play 1-on-1, pickup and everything. They didn’t take it easy on me at all and they’d always tell me what I can get better at or what I can do.
PI: How did playing with those guys boost your confidence?
RL: It definitely boosted my confidence because just playing against those types of players, especially guards, it shows me that if I keep working then I can get to my dreams. My dreams are a reality for sure.
PI: You and Nickeil Alexander-Walker are both big guards. What have you learned from him?
RL: He works hard, he’s in the gym everyday. Some NBA players can kind of go through the motions at times, get their shots up and chill. He’s in the lab every day full-on hardcore. I learned that no matter where you get to you have to keep working just as hard as you were when you didn’t have anything. Also, he has a crazy touch and feel around the basket with his floaters and finishing moves. He’s a real big guard. In high school it’s easy to get to the rim and finish, but he taught me when you get in the paint there are 6’10” – 7’0” bigs and you got to have a left AND right hand hook, floaters, things like that.
PI: Who are some of the toughest players you’ve ever had to guard?
RL: One day, Spencer Dinwiddie was there working out and coach told me to stay back after my workout to guard him and use me as a practice dummy. So I was guarding him and I couldn’t stay in front of him — he had the quickest first step I’ve seen in my life — he would hesitate and go. I would be at the 3pt line and he’d be dunking the ball, it was crazy. Outside of that, usually just when I’m playing against older guys, like in eighth grade I had to play against Josh Christopher and he’s like two or three years ahead of me. No one in my class really, just older guys.
PI: Who are the best players in your area?
RL: I think I’m the best player in the west coast in my class and with the mentality I have you have to think that. Couple good guys are Tre White [SF, Ribet] that’s my boy, real good player. Obviously you’ve got Kijani Wright and Dylan Andrews [Windward]. Skyy Clark was here last year, grew up with him and we played together a lot. There’s a lot of underrated guys out here for sure, a lot of players who haven’t been on the national radar, but if they got the opportunity they’d definitely show out.
PI: Rank the best five guards in the 2022 class.
RL: It’s a guard-heavy class, I don’t know if I could say as an analyst. It’s tough, I’d go myself at the top, the other Cali native Skyy Clark. There’s a bunch of good guys I can’t single anybody out. I’m just going to go with the two Cali guys.
PI: Why do you wear #22? Is there a story behind that?
RL: A little bit. It’s a family number — my dad and sister wore it, so I wear it to keep the legacy going.
PI: Walk us through this past season.
RL: Last season for me was great — it brought a lot of opportunities for me. Playing under Coach Derrick Taylor, great coach and great guy, it helped me a lot. He was a mentor for me all year. He’s had a lot of pros like Spencer Dinwiddie and Jordan Farmar. It was a good year for me, personally. The team did pretty well, too — we had some rough streaks, but we got together towards the end of the stretch so it was good.
PI: How do you feel like your game has grown over the past year?
RL: I feel like I found more of myself in my game. I found what my spots are, when to get off, and what my real strengths are. Coach put me in the right position to succeed and that helped me realize what I’m best at and what my spots are.
PI: Talk about your transition from Taft to Rancho Christian.
RL: It’s been fun, but we haven’t been doing much due to quarantine. I transferred from Taft [to Rancho Christian] because we moved out of the area. Me leaving had nothing to do with Taft or me wanting to leave, it was a family decision about leaving the area. Rancho is a good school and I’m ready to get going.
PI: You almost transferred to Dream City Christian — why did you opt to stay in Southern California?
RL: It was mainly COVID-19. At that time when I decided not to go and stay in California to be closer to my sister and grandmother who were going to stay here anyways no matter where I went. I lived in the valley and I went to Taft, but we originated from Long Beach and that’s where we have our main house. My grandmother and sister would be there, we were going to move to Arizona and with COVID-19 and the social injustice we decided we need to stay here so we chose another school in Southern California. I was all in at Dream City. I love the coaching staff there and am still in touch with them. We would have been one of the top teams in the country, which they still are even though I didn’t go — it would have been crazy for sure.
PI: What do you still want to accomplish in your high school career?
RL: I want to win a state championship this year. I’m not sure how things are going to look with COVID-19 this year, if it’s going to be possible, but I want to do that. I’m not sure what the awards are going to look like this year, but my goal is to be the Gatorade Player of the Year in California. I want to be first-team all-juniors in the MaxPreps rankings. I feel like last year I got snubbed — I wanted to be on that thing for sure, but I’ll try and get it this year.
PI: Who made the rankings ahead of you?
RL: I can’t even say or remember, I know there were some guards in there where the numbers were the same and I could have made it, for sure. At that time the national attention wasn’t there for me yet. I feel like if I have the same type of year next year with the attention I have now I’ll probably be able to get on there. You know how it goes, sometimes whoever has the bigger name gets more publicity because people know who they are.
PI: What are your short and long term goals as a basketball player?
RL: I want to go to a high major college, I’ve been looking into high major schools and pro options. A goal of mine is to get stronger and bigger, hopefully I grow another inch. I want to be pro-ready leaving high school.
PI: What’s the current update with your recruitment?
RL: It’s great — there are 20-plus schools involved. Constantly on calls and zooms and stuff like that. I’m blessed to have the offers that I do, lot of high major and mid-major schools involved.
PI: Are any schools pursuing you more than others?
RL: I talk to some schools more than others. I’m in contact with Arizona and Arkansas a lot. There are a bunch of other schools, but those two mostly.
PI: Do you have any dream schools?
RL: I never had a dream school necessarily...it didn’t really matter...I didn’t have a school I needed to go to or stuff like that. I’ve always been a fan of Kentucky — like I loved to watch them play and been a fan of the teams they’ve had and stuff like that, but I wouldn’t say it’s my dream school to go to if that makes sense.
PI: What about Kentucky do you enjoy watching?
RL: Just the talent they have every year. When I was a little kid [7-8 years old] they were on the TV, they had John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and ever since that game I’ve been a Kentucky fan. I love the school and as I got older they still had crazy teams and have continued on that path.
PI: What are you looking for in your school of choice?
RL: Just a family-oriented program, a winning program, a big conference and a big time school. I want to play with the best of the best. Location doesn’t really matter — just want to go where’s best for me and who will help me reach my dreams the fastest.
PI: Would you ever consider the G-League route?
RL: Definitely would. I looked into LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton in Australia and I’ve been doing some research on the G-League, more recently. I haven’t heard from anyone from the G-League, but it’s something I’m looking into.
PI: All things being equal, what is more attractive to you between playing overseas or the G-League?
RL: I don’t have a preference. It’s mainly about whoever would be able to prepare me the best for the next level and whatever would be best for me and my family. It’d be pro, so contracts would be involved, but I’m not really worrying about that I’m just worrying about getting better.
PI: Who are you leaning on most heavily as you make your decision with your recruitment?
RL: Definitely my family a lot...they have a big influence on everything I do. My dad is my right hand man so he’s going to be involved a lot. When it’s time to make the call or if I’m down to a final three there’s a couple guys I would talk to about it, like my old coach. I would get in contact with them and see what they think, or like Julius V or my old coach at Taft — I’d reach out to them, as well.
PI: What type of system best fits your playing style?
RL: I feel like I can play in any system, but with my look and body type probably a fast-paced system where things are interchangeable in an offense.
PI: Would you say you rely more on your natural talent or your work ethic?
RL: I would say my work ethic. I’ve been blessed with some things like my measurements, but really just staying in the lab my whole life and just refining things I wasn’t naturally gifted or born with. So probably more work ethic.
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
RL: I like to watch Bradley Beal a lot. Also Jayson Tatum and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Those are probably the three guys right now that I like to mix in my game. I feel like I have each guy's style in my game. I like to look to those three.
PI: Who do other people say your game resembles?
RL: I’ve gotten Jayson Tatum — some have said a taller Dion Waiters. I usually get scorers, guys who put the ball in the basket. My old coach at Taft, he’s actually seen a different side of me and he’s the one who really pushed me to be more of an all-around playmaker and triple-double guy. He would say like Penny Hardaway, to just be an all-around triple-double guy. I’ve also gotten Spencer Dinwiddie.
PI: Which position do you view yourself as?
RL: I would say combo guard. I can play both on and off the ball. With my size I can slide to a wing, but that would be minimizing my ability so I’d definitely say I’m a combo.
PI: What’s your comfort level off the ball?
RL: That’s where I’m least effective and I feel like I’m best in a playmaking role with the ball in my hands more than not. A small forward is someone who plays on the wings, defends, dunks, and stuff like that. I feel like I have the whole offensive package, so for things like running pick-and-rolls, I need the ball in my hands...so either backcourt position is perfect for me.
PI: Please explain what Ramel Lloyd, Jr. brings to a team, regardless of the situation.
RL: I feel like I bring a dog mentality all-around. I hate to lose. I’m a big time competitor and bring toughness and grit. Off the court I’m super laid back — if you saw me play you’d think I’d be a different guy than who I am. As soon as I get off the court I’m a super laid back guy — I joke around and chill — but on the court, I’m a different person.
PI: What’s your biggest passion outside of basketball?
RL: Everything I do revolves around basketball, even playing NBA 2K or watching TV is basketball. I’m a big family guy and I like hanging out with my friends, but it’s mostly basketball. I like shoes, but fashion-wise I’m not too big into going and buying clothes. I’m not the type of guy to go on Instagram to post my drip [laughs].
PI: What’s your favorite thing to read or watch these days?
RL: I watch a lot of shows on Netflix. I like binge watching shows, especially during quarantine. I don’t do a lot of reading — I’ve done it for school, but I don’t really read on my own time. I binge watched Snowfall and other shows. I like watching action or comedies.
PI: What are the four apps you use the most?
RL: SnapChat, Instagram, Madden Mobile, and I guess Twitter.
PI: If you were going to pursue anything other than basketball for a career, what would it be?
RL: I would probably be an accountant or financial advisor for athletes. I’m pretty good with numbers, so something like that.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see $10 million in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
RL: My first purchase wouldn’t be a purchase. The first thing I would do with my money is give it to my mom. I would give it to her and let her do her thing with it for our family, then I would take a little bit on the side. If someone gave me $10 million to spend for myself it would be the most blown $10 million you’ve seen in your life [laughs]. Especially right now because I don’t have any bills or mortgage to pay — I would just blow it on accessories and things like that. You know what, I’ll give you something: I’d probably get a big gold chain...a big #22 pendant. Probably rose gold, too.
PI: What has been a defining moment or story in your life?
RL: I got hurt. I pretty much broke my ankle my freshman year right before the season started. I came back at the very end of the season. In middle school I was a highly-ranked player, but after my freshman year I dropped a lot after I got hurt. So just coming back my sophomore year and really blowing up again was big for me because last summer I struggled a little bit finding an AAU team to play with and just being one of those guys I felt like I should have been. So just coming back this year in high school and really blowing up and doing my thing after the injury — I feel like that was big for me.
PI: What did you learn from that situation?
RL: I learned that you have to keep working and that the world never stops. You just gotta keep doing what you want to do and keep working. No one is going to stop for you or wait for you to get back or be at full health — you’ve got to grind and stay true to the process.
PI: What have your parents instilled in you as far as work ethic and mentality going into college?
RL: My dog mentality is definitely from my dad — he was tough on me from a young age and made me mentally strong. My mom instilled the same toughness into me. She’s from Kingston, Jamaica, and my dad is from The Bronx, New York. They didn’t come from super nice places or anything like that, so they instilled that toughness in me for sure.
PI: You’re very close with your father — can you describe that relationship?
RL: He’s my best friend, my father and brother all in one. We do everything together. We watch games together. He’s been my coach, a parent on the sidelines, he does everything for me. We’re super close. I don’t make any decisions without talking or discussing it with him.
PI: How has he helped shape your game?
RL: He’s the originator of my game — everything I know he taught me, really. He’s the first person to ever train me. Obviously people have come in and showed me different things, but he’s the main personality who has carved my game out for sure.
PI: What advice does he share with you?
RL: One thing he always tells me is never get too high or too low, just try to stay in the middle. Never get too happy or sad with basketball. There will be highs and lows, so just stay even keel.
PI: Do you have any mentor figures in your life other than your parents?
RL: I wouldn’t say “mentor,” but I have other people I can go to. I have three or four people I would consider uncles who I can go to with personal and basketball issues.
PI: What advice or guidance have they shared with you?
RL: My dad and mom have that taken care of, but they’re just there if I ever need anything.
PI: How do you manage pressure or expectations with social media?
RL: Besides not having as many followers on my accounts, the people who are actually there are those that are actually important. Like media guys and things like that, so the ones that are actually there are the ones that bring the pressure. It’s nothing crazy, I still get DM’s from kids asking me how to get offers. It doesn’t really get to me too much. My parents have taught me to keep my head on straight.
PI: How often do you act as a mentor for kids on social media?
RL: I usually respond — it’s cool. I’ve always wanted to be that guy. When I was at a young age I’ve always been around a lot of top guys that got attention. To be one of the guys now is pretty cool, I like to respond to kids. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews and being active on social media and stuff like that. I enjoy it.
PI: Talk about your greatest all-time memory on the court.
RL: Probably my first body — the first time I dunked on somebody. It was my eighth grade year and we were playing in a tournament and blowing this team out. I got out on a fast break and their big was chasing and I just jumped. I couldn’t dunk consistently yet — I could dunk, but I wasn’t just going down the lane and dunking at will….so I just jumped and he jumped and him jumping made me react more and I just postered him. That’s probably my best moment.
PI: Tell us something about yourself that most people have no idea about.
RL: I love anime. I watch a lot of anime. I watch One Piece, DragonBall Z, Naruto, Death Note — I watch everything.
PI: What are four words that best describe Ramel Lloyd, Jr.?
RL: Passionate. Kind. Social. Family-oriented.
PI: What would you say is your biggest motivation or inspiration?
RL: I just want to be great in life — period. I want to be someone who is known for being a great person and basketball player. I want to make money and take care of my family, have a successful life in general.
PI: Describe what you imagine your life will look like 10 years from now.
RL: I hope to be in the NBA, maybe be starting a family around that time. I see myself being an All-Star, hopefully get a championship before then. Being successful — I may get bored and write a book or something — I’m optimistic, for sure.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
RL: Being a hard-working person that stays true to himself and stays true to the grind.
PI: Is there anything you’d like to say on the current events in today’s world?
RL: I don’t think it should even be a problem in terms of racial injustices — we’re all people and what’s wrong is wrong. Whatever race it is, the things that are happening are wrong in general. Sadly most of it is happening to African Americans, both male and female. Either way, even if it were happening to Hispanics it’s wrong as well. I hope people open their eyes and see that what’s happening to black people is wrong no matter who it is and it shouldn’t be treated differently because they’re a different color.
Watch the full interview with Ramel, here