Dwayne Bacon: Junior Primer

It doesn't require much imagination to conjure the various headlines making a pun out of Bacon's name, but thankfully his talent should prove worthy of them.

Few rising sophomores receive "strong" as an adjective describing their game. Many high school players are skinny, and that's particularly true for underclassmen.

But not so for Dwayne Bacon. Back in the 2012 summer, he already carried a solid frame far advanced relative to his Class of 2015 contemporaries. Even better, he utilized that strength by playing physically and capitalizing upon his advantages.

Bacon earned an early national ranking as a sophomore and drew interest from Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia Southern, Virginia, Florida, Miami, UCF, USF and others.

He hit the road last spring with the Showtime Ballers and proved to be one of the preeminent scorers on the 16-under circuit. Yes, many of his blue-chip peers chose to play with the 17s, but Bacon's presence on the underclass circuit certainly didn't seem to harm his recruitment.

The scholarship offers began to sizzle (sorry, couldn't resist) early last summer. Schools included were Florida State, Virginia Tech, Central Florida, South Florida, Baylor, Memphis, Marquette, Clemson, Xavier, DePaul and Oklahoma State.

He attended the Reebok Breakout Classic and The Showdown last July in Philadelphia and further cemented his spot in junior class rankings. Following the summer live period, he added offers from Louisville, Georgetown, UCLA, N.C. State and others.

Recently, he toured the campus at FSU. He also transferred to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG and hopes the training there will prepare him for a heady travel season and beyond.

As has always been the case, Bacon's game revolves around power. He doesn't possess an explosive first step but uses his shoulders and hips effectively to muscle past defenders. Once on the move, he changes speeds very well and can maintain body control even while taking his allowed two steps. That ability enables him to release soft shots with touch, eluding shotblockers and finishing after contact.

Meanwhile, he also wields a dangerous jump shot. Bacon doesn't possess the most conventional form — he shoots with a lower release and with his elbow slightly askew — but has ample range to the three-point line and is comfortable curling around picks from medium-range as well.

His ballhandling and passing skills are fine for the wing, he should become a solid rebounder, and defensively I think he'll be able to handle nearly all wing forwards (even taller ones) and most shooting guards.

I project him as a slasher and finisher rather than an elite one-on-one creator, but plenty of players fitting that description have enjoyed very successful careers. Bacon is a strong candidate to follow in that line.


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