From left, TCS basketball directors Sarah Sullivan, Renee Carlson, BallN Prep Editor Prentice Beverly, and TCS basketball director John Casale. Photo by Nathaniel Chu.
In order to get a handle on the talent level up and down the reaches of girl’s youth basketball, you’ve got to love the game, and at least tolerate the road.
From his younger days soaking up all things basketball in the South to his life today based in Los Angeles, Prentice Beverly has carved out a useful and important role in girl’s basketball. You’ll see him at showcases getting the updated take on top players, with his insight and rating the fuel behind the BAllN Prep Report, and he also run a Skill Academy Series, which is designed to help players build the skills that will resonate at the next level.
Beverly coached girls basketball in Alabama and got into scouting when he saw the flaws in a Georgia man who was scouting Alabama players – and doing a pretty lousy job of it. And the girls game got in his system, meaning he turned down multiple opportunities to scout the boys game. That’s not to say the girls game is bulletproof – he thinks the length and demands of the girls club season tips too far to game-play, meaning players don’t get as much time to work on the finer points.
He stopped by the Triple Crown Sports corporate offices in Fort Collins in late April to visit with staff and talk about what it takes to stay ahead in the fast-moving world of youth hoops. Still working full-time with the U.S. Air Force, Beverly has grown his brand to include several contributing writers who also tour the basketball landscape and help boost the value of BallN Prep Report.
Q: What’s a day in the life look like?
A: I’ll field calls from college coaches, and also from players who might be looking for advice on what level I think they play at, what school might be interested. When I’m on the road, I’m looking for talent. People ask me who won a certain game, and I just laugh. I can tell you who played well. The kids that shine, I write them up and put it in my database for BallN Prep. I talked to one coach the other day who may be getting a new opportunity, and that team needs a couple players. She wants me to start looking … it’s just basketball, every day.
Q: What do you go through when you’re traveling and researching?
A: There are always two big tournaments in the spring, and maybe others you end up going to … the Boo Williams Nike EYBL (in Virginia) with all 32 teams on that EYBL circuit; then you have the Deep South (in Raleigh, NC). That will have maybe 600 teams, 400-500 college coaches … I catch the red-eye east, walk in and get my coaches book that has every roster, and I start walking court to court. I write notes, and in between talking to coaches I do my evaluations. It’s fun, but you’ve got to stay on top of what you do.
Q: How do you decide where to focus your work, seeing as so many people would want you watching their court?
A: I don’t pay a lot of attention now to, say, the 2019 graduating class. If I haven’t seen you yet, you’d have to do something to really grab my attention. Every once in a while, I’ll catch a diamond in the rough. A couple years ago, there was this kid named Jensen Caretti (now a sophomore for Ohio State) – I’m sitting in a media room eating, and I hear this guy talking about they’ve seen a female LeBron James. I’m just listening, and I’ve heard this stuff before. I ask about her, and it turns out she’s going to play at this gym across town – I hurry over there and walk in, and I say don’t anybody tell me which kid is which. Just let me watch.
I see this kid, 6-1, athletic, and she goes up, snatches a rebound off the rim, and I’m like, ‘Oh! What was that?’ Then she takes long 3-pointer, bucket … and after, a coach comes up and says, ‘Do not blast this on social media! I know you – we’ve got a chance to get her.’ And I said, coach, you know that’s my job, though. I got to. I checked the databases, and she was just a total unknown. I had found the unicorn. She went from unranked to top 30 in two weeks and went to Ohio State.
Q: How do you pick and choose which events to attend?
A: I get tons of phone calls. If it’s an area I haven’t been to, or somewhere I haven’t been lately, I’ll probably go. I need a list of the kids who are coming, how long the event has been going … some people get me to come and then advertise it using my name. I don’t mind that, but be sure there’s something to watch when I get there.
The girls game is more pure – what are the guys usually working on? What dunk they can do – sorry to say it, but it’s true. Girls don’t get the attention and the money and the accolades the boys side gets, and I was sympathetic to that. But I like the purity with the girls game; they work hard. There all All-Star competitions, and a lot of the times in the 3-point shooting competition, the girls beat the guys. The girls are more fundamentally sound. You’ll always need shooters, and you’ll need players with high basketball IQ.