|18 Yrs. Old||6’9″ 200||Small Forward||No College|
Strengths: Length, Guard like skills, Athleticism
Weaknesses: Strength, No college experience, Outside shooting
Bazley was originally committed to Ohio State before flipping to Syracuse, and then announced he was going to go straight from high school to playing professionally in a lower league than the NBA. In a surprise twist, he was offered a 1 million dollar internship by New Balance allowing him to get business experience while training in Boston in his off year. What is effectively an early shoe deal with a 3 month internship to help him learn the business side of the game, he entered uncharted numbers and time will tell whether or not it was the right decision. As a high school recruit he was ranked as a five star by all three of the major recruiting sites, with his highest ranking being #13 by ESPN. Standing at 6’9″ with skills that resemble a much smaller guard, he uses his quickness to get by defenders finishing at the rim with ease. In addition to being able to drive to the basket, he can create a shot in multiple ways and his size should allow him to get his shot off on the wing. As a rebounder and defender he has potential, but he will need to work on these skills as the competition gets much tougher in the league.
He will need to add strength to be able to deal with stronger players in the NBA, and his year off should help with that, providing he is working out at the necessary level. Teams will no doubt be concerned with the fact that he not play competitive basketball this entire year outside of pick up games, but also that his highest level played to this point is against high school players. There is no question that he possesses good size, length, and athleticism which are all things that teams want in a wing player. With that said, there will be question marks on how he will perform against the increased talent on the floor until it is proven that he can do so. The other major concern is that he does not shoot the ball particularly well from behind the three point line, although the potential is there for him to become an efficient shooter with improvement. Providing he does so, there is intrigue in what he can become as a player, and with a strong mid range jumper already in place there is no reason to think that will not happen.
This clip shows off his athleticism:
Here are some highlight plays from his high school days:
Darius Bazley will be on ESPNU tonight! pic.twitter.com/SEDHw6pm3R— Princeton Athletics (@VikeNation) August 19, 2017
Bazley is seen as a second round pick heading into the pre-draft process, with the mid to late second round as the most likely landing spot. It is possible that he could go higher than that if a team likes his potential after individual workouts, and given that he was a five star recruit he has first round talent. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level wing who puts up solid offensive numbers and high level defense on the perimeter. The worst case scenario Bazley is that he is unable to live up to his hype coming out of high school, especially if his outside shooting does not improve, and he ends up coming off of the bench in an offensive spark type of role.