Phoenix St. Mary's was on the losing end of a lopsided game against Arizona State signee Sam Cunliffe and Seattle Rainier Beach in the Hoophall West last week. Even so, sophomore K.J. Hymes showed in the game why he's considered one of the top bigs in the West's 2018 class.
At 6-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Hymes has a very high skill upside and is mobile for his size. He's currently rated as the No. 6 center prospect in the country in the class and a four-star prospect.
But Hymes sees his future more on the wing long-term, and it's a reason he wears the No. 35 jersey that NBA star Kevin Durant has popularized.
"Kobe is my favorite player but he's stepping down," Hymes said. "I like to resemble somebody in my skill set and I feel like K.D., Paul George, those types of players, is what I can do."
One of the best prospects in Arizona regardless of class, Hymes said he has already been offered a scholarship by Arizona State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Grand Canyon, Memphis and Washington. Many other schools are understandably keeping close tabs.
"It's exciting but I can't be satisfied with what I have now but it just also shows how much more I have to grow," Hymes said. "I have to step up. Me being a sophomore, doesn't really make a difference. The leader of our team is whoever steps up.
"When you put your head to something and you know you can do it, nothing can really stop you except for yourself. Yourself is your biggest enemy."
Hymes wears a size 18 shoe and said he's been told by doctors he's still growing and may have another couple inches left before he's done.
"Definitely [seeing improvement in] confidence," he said. "I'm able to handle the ball now, make better decisions, I'm able to shoot the ball. It all comes together."
In a lot of ways, Hymes reminds of former ASU player Tommy Smith, a Phoenix North High School product who was drafted No. 53 overall by the Chicago Bulls overall in 2003 and has played overseas through this year.
The Sun Devils have been active in his recruitment even in new coach Bobby Hurley's first year in the job.
"Bobby Hurley is a great coach," Hymes said. "For my position, if I go there, my freshman year, I think I'll be one of the only small forwards on the team so it should be a big opportunity there for me."