Over the last few years, Samson Ruzhentsev has become a standout basketball player at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee: a school notorious for producing talent in the basketball world.
Recently, Hamilton Heights produced rising NBA stars in Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and numerous other D1 players.
This season particularly, Ruzhentsev led Hamilton Heights to a multitude of success. Individually, Ruzhentsev’s rankings skyrocketed, mirroring the success of Hamilton Heights. Before this season, Ruzhentsev was ranked 110th nationally. However, by the final rankings by 24/7 Sports, he was ranked 44th in the nation. With Ruzhentsev’s size at Small Forward (6’7-210), shooting ability, and offensive skill set, he can help out the Gators in a big way next season.
Q: What were the deciding factors for you to come to Florida?
A: I really liked the relationship with the coaching staff; they kept it 100 with me, and told me that I’m going to have to earn the spot, but I really have a chance to do so. Also, I admired the history of the school, and the amount of pros that came out of Florida
Q: Did Jason Jitoboh (Current Florida Center), your former teammate at Hamilton Heights, factor into your decision at all?
A: Yeah, he definitely did help me to envision what it is like to be a Gator.
Q: How old were you when you came to the U.S. to play basketball?
A: I was 15 and a Sophomore when I came to America.
Q: What made you decide on going to Hamilton Heights, and leave Russia?
A: I left Russia because it was a better opportunity for me to play against the best competition, grow as a player, and go to college in America.
Q: Who was the best player you have ever played against?
A: Anthony Edwards was the best player I have ever played against, by far.
Q: When did you play against Anthony Edwards?
A: I played against him my Junior year.
Q: What was the best team you’ve ever faced?
A: The best team I’ve ever faced was probably Oak Hill my Sophomore year. They had Keldon Johnson (San Antonio Spurs), Keyontae Johnson (Florida Gators), David McCormack (Kansas Jayhawks), and Will Richardson (Oregon Ducks).
Q: What are you going to miss the most about Hamilton Heights?
A: I am going to miss that family atmosphere the most, where everyone knows everyone very well. In the whole school, there are only around 60 students.
Q: What are you looking forward to at UFlorida?
A: At UFlorida, I am looking forward to getting better as a player.
Q: What are some of your goals for this season?
A: Some of my goals are to improve myself, and help my team win as much as possible.