Unknown prospect steals spotlight with half-court game winner

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It was supposed to be the grand showdown every prep hoops recruiting fan wanted to see: Mitch McGary and Nerlens Noel, two of the top five prospects in the Class of 2012, facing off against each other in an AAU undercard game. Yet, something funny happened when Noel's BABC AAU squad took on McGary's SYF Players team: another player stole the spotlight.

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That scene stealing prep player is Jaylen Brantley, the largely unheralded BABC point guard who sunk the game-winning, smooth stroked half-court game-winner you see above. The three points finished off an impressive 16 point effort from the Class of 2013 guard, who deftly mixed smooth service to Noel -- BABC's big-ticket center -- with his own reliable three-point stroke.

Brantley's buzzer beater in Orlando wasn't the first time this summer he'd turned heads, either. Rivals.com analyst Jerry Meyer earlier singled out Brantley for praise after the AAU Peach Jam.

"At only 5-foot-9, Jaylen Brantley was a huge player for BABC in their run to the championship. Brantley ran the show with confidence and put pressure on the defense with his scoring ability."

Perhaps more impressively, the player who co-opted one of the summer's biggest stages was -- relatively speaking -- a complete unknown on the college basketball recruiting landscape. Brantley, who plays his high school basketball for Wilbraham (Mass.) and Monson Academy, is a Class of 2013 who seemed to have been discovered by Rick Pitino and only a handful of other coaches; as of Monday, he reportedly held scholarship offers from Louisville, Richmond, Virginia, Rhode Island, Hofstra and Missouri.

That will probably change now that Brantley thrust himself to the forefront of the mind of a strong majority of the country's most prominent coaches.

After all, when two of the nation's top five prospects are going to be in the same gym, college coaches tend to take notice. In this case, Kentucky's John Calipari, UConn's Jim Calhoun, North Carolina's Roy Williams, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Florida's Billy Donovan, Maryland's Mark Turgeon, West Virginia's Bob Huggins, Michigan's John Beilein, Georgetown's John Thompson III and a handful of others were all in attendance.

If anyone thinks that one of those big name coaches isn't seriously considering taking a flier on an under-the-radar, quicksilver guard who has begun to show a knack of coming through in the biggest of games, they're kidding themselves.

Then again, Brantley might not take that much notice himself. He's hoping that his buzzer beater will have made a few of those prominent coaches take notice, but it doesn't sound like he's planning to let up anytime soon, either.

"That shot probably put my name on a few lists. Maybe not, but hopefully it did."

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