Ever so often, whether it be in sports, music, entertainment (you name it) an individual embraces their moment in a way that bucks the trend. Notably, The NCAA exposed several different schemes and pay-for-play opportunities with its February onslaught of violations. Simply put, Darius Bazley will go down in history for his unprecedented decision to forego a “one-and-done” scenario at the hands of the corrupt and unforgiving machine that is the NCAA.
East Coast Origins
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, a portion of his family along with Bazley moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he honed his hoop skills. Bazley always played pickup basketball as a means of recreation and socialization. It wasn’t until the ninth grade that he discovered his vault of talent and ability and grasped the reality to propel his entire life situation.
“This is history in the making, and this could open up the doors for so many people behind him.” (Lynnita Bazley, ESPN)
In 2016, he transferred from Finneytown (Ohio) to Princeton to complete his remaining two years of basketball eligibility. Upon further organization, Bazley thrived at Princeton High School and within several different AAU circuits.
“Steve Wright, who also coached Bazley previously on the 16U King James Shooting Stars team, said he’s “very versatile (and) unselfish. I always tell him to be a little more selfish at times. He’s an unselfish guy that wants to see his teammates do well. He can do everything on the floor. He can rebound, he can score, he can pass, he can defend. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do from a basketball and academic standpoint.” (Cincy.com)
In the AAU Under Armour C2K Elite, Bazley averaged a double-double and greatly outmatched his opponents. In order to compete at a higher level, Bazley consistently elevated his skills and performances. His consistent improvement caught the eyes of many as he soared nearly twenty spots on ESPN’s Top 100 within two months. With AAU in the rearview, Bazley joined Chicago MeanStreets, who compete in the Nike EYBL circuit. As a member of the MeanStreets collective, Bazley averaged 15.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg and shot at a 45.5% clip from the field.
— Meanstreets (@nikemeanstreets) March 8, 2018
When USA Today released their twenty player preseason All-American list, they made a major mistake with the omission of Darius Bazley. Regardless, the lanky left-hander proved to be on a mission to dispel any doubt about his versatile skill set. His consistent rise amongst the ranks formed quite the impression on hoop connoisseurs throughout the country. In under a year, Bazley went from unnoticed to sensational and currently ranks as the No.9 basketball prospect in the country, according to ESPN’s Top 100.
Potential dilemmas for Darius Bazley
Unfortunately, Bazley was unable to join his Princeton High teammates for their 2018 OHSAA Basketball State title run. Bazley and senior guard Dominic Pierce were suspended for two games due to their involvement in a bench-clearing incident against Sycamore on March 2, 2018. The two left the bench mid-game to contest what they considered to be a hard foul from an opponent. Wayne edged Princeton by a score of 56-49 and went onto lose to state champion, Archbishop Moller. Princeton also lost their January contest to Wayne, a matchup by which Bazley contributed 14 points along with 15 rebounds.
Certainly, we are witnessing the rise of a generational talent. With a June birthday that places him at eighteen years of age, Bazley will become eligible for a G-League contract in September. From there, all signs point to a selection within the developmental league draft in October. This talented individual embraces the limelight with maturity and calmness en route to becoming a lottery pick in 2019.
Bazley recorded 11 points and seven rebounds in the McDonald’s All-American game. Hardly an accurate rendition of overall performance, scouts should pay attention to the raw athleticism and intangible characteristics of DBZ. Whoever lands this proficient sportsman will be gifted with a dynamic playmaker. He handles the ball well in the open court, displays outstanding vision, demonstrates a solid post presence and serves as a defensive force.
Poised and unbothered by distractions, Bazley relishes the pressure and keeps his eyes on the prize.
“I’m not a party person. I literally hang out with friends at home or I’m in the gym. Guys who I surround myself with are all basketball players. We all have the same goals in mind: going to the NBA, going to college. I’m hanging with people with the same mindsets, same goals as me, so that way there are no slip-ups. I try to be as self-disciplined as possible.”
“I’m self-motivated because I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is how I want to make a living. This is how I want to provide for my family, and provide for my love of basketball. I’m not playing any games with this. I’m attacking this straight forward. I’m not maneuvering around this, take any side steps. I’m taking this head on. This is the decision that I made, and I know it will work. I know what I’m capable of doing, and I’m going to do just that.” (TheColi)
Bazley remains somewhat of a spectacle and fans are clamoring to spectate his excellent participation. On April 8th, he will squeak sneakers amongst elite company in the Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY. Five days later on April 13, Bazley will complete his final invitational performance at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon (Moda Center).
— Bazley (@BazleyDarius) March 29, 2018