Die-hard fans know Steve Lavin recently traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina to recruit forward Amar Alibegovic. Distant trips are necessary in order to assemble the most competitive basketball team, but sometimes the best fits for the team are right around the corner.
Taking that into consideration, Steve Lavin and St. John’s has extended an offer to Queens native Dupree McBrayer - less heralded than some of the other top-level recruits St. John's is offering, but perhaps an important piece of the next recruiting class.
Scouting Dupree McBrayer
Dupree McBrayer is a 6'4" guard who played in St. John’s backyard. During his first three years of high school, McBrayer starred at Springfield Gardens High School in Queens, the same high school of former NBA guard Charles Jenkins (and of Anthony Mason Sr. and former coach Norm Roberts).
The lefty scorer McBrayer dominated PSAL competition during his junior year averaging 22 points, six rebounds, and seven assists while leading his team to a 15-1 record.
McBrayer then abruptly left school in March and transferred to Quest Prep in Las Vegas. In an interview with the New York Post, his advisor JR Rembert described Dupree’s time there - six months - as a turning part in his young career.
"It made him deal with life. You have to take basketball seriously. Everything was a set schedule. You work out, go to school, work out again. It helped develop him. He took all that potential and started turning out results," Rembert said.
After he returned from Vegas, McBrayer enrolled in The Patrick School in New Jersey for last season, gaining much needed exposure. He was able to play against some of the best prospects on the East coast including St. John's target Isaiah Briscoe. McBrayer has delayed his college career to develop more and will attend prep school for a year.
McBrayer has flourished on the AAU circuit playing for New Heights. He played well in both the Reebok Camp and the FAB 48 tournament in Las Vegas. However, he did struggle against Donovan Mitchell and his AAU team. Still, these tournaments have helped McBrayer receive attention from prominent college coaches. Richard Pitino and Minnesota were rumored to be watching McBrayer very closely this past weekend.
McBrayer is often mentioned as a point guard, but has the size to play both guard positions. His strengths are his court vision, playmaking, and his ability to attack the basket - all essential skills for point guards.
McBrayer does have his flaws - he needs to put on more muscle and improve his shooting. Most college coaches see the size and the athleticism to play at the next level, despite a frame that may not be college-ready.
The local kid has been receiving a lot of attention from premier programs. McBrayer has already visited with Providence, Minnesota, Drexel, and Seton Hall.
In an interview with SNY, McBrayer’s advisor JR Rembert said Minnesota, Seton Hall, and Rhode Island were the favorites. He also implied that McBrayer’s preference is to play point guard.
"I always try to deal with schools where he’s going to have the ball in his hands," Rembert said. "Most schools want him to play the 2. He’s only 6-3, 6-4."
It appears that McBrayer still plans to visit with St. John’s and Creighton.
While not as highly regarded as players like Briscoe or Donovan Mitchell, McBrayer would be a nice addition to the Red Storm. St. John’s will have a need at the guard position in 2015 since D’Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene are graduating.
Will the desire of McBrayer to play point guard handicap the hometown team? Some of the Red Storm's other targets have indicated a desire to be a combo guard as well. The fact that McBrayer is from Queens will help St. John’s.
McBrayer will likely make his college decision in the fall. Hopefully for St. John’s that decision is to stay in Queens.