8th Grader Mustapha Heron Makes Impact in 17U at Hoop Group Providence Jam Fest


There are so many talented players and teams here at the Hoop Group Jam Fest in Providence, RI that it can become a chore to keep track of each and every individual.

This one, however, is worth tracking if you are an avid prep hoops player, coach, or fan.

Mustapha Heron is a versatile, 6-3 player who hails from Meriden, Connecticut. Though he is just 14 years old, Heron chose to play at the 17U level this weekend.

“It’s a good tournament for me to get used to playing against older kids, being the youngest guy on the team.”

Heron might be a youngin’, but he understands that playing up in age now – and not thoroughly dominating the competition, as he is so used to doing when he competes in the younger age groups – is extremely beneficial for his game’s development.

“Playing 14U, I was one of the most athletic kids but now that I’m playing 17 and 18 year olds, I have to use my mind and think the game better than all of them,” explained Heron following an 11 point performance on Saturday morning. “I have to work on that and just go from there.”

Next season, Heron will head to Capitol Prep in Hartford next season with current CBC teammate and point guard Khalil Dukes.

“He’s coming to my school next year so I’m trying to take him under my wing and let him do what he does best,” said Dukes. “Coming into the high school season he’s going to be a big factor for us.”

With these types of performances – and even more impressive ones likely to keep stacking upon the previous weeks – it’s easy to see Heron becoming one of those “next” players who will be hyped up for years to come.

In the meantime, remember that Heron isn’t worried about the hype and just wants to continuously progress as a player until the time he steps foot on a Division I campus.

“Right now I’m just trying to get a lot better,” stated Heron. “I’m trying to get high school ready, then I’m trying to get college-ready and hopefully land on a Division I campus and just work hard every day.”

As you can probably tell from the picture above, Mustapha has been growing his hair for quite some time now – 11 years (with snips every few months, these days) to be exact.

As lengthy and consistently as his dreads have grown for more than a decade, Heron hopes to do the same thing with the game of basketball: Keep evolving, while snipping bad habits whenever the opportunities present themselves.

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