On Offense: Bess has always been a unique offensive player in that he was somebody who could pass, got to the rim, and was a good athlete, but was never a massive scoring threat. In general during the summer Bess struggled to shoot the basketball from deep, but so far this season, and in specific during Flyin to the Hoop he looked much improved in that regard.
Bess scored 30 points on 10-15 shooting, including going 3-5 from three point range. What was impressive is that Bess hit those threes both off the catch and off the dribble. Now it is probable that Bess isn't a guy who is going to be a knockdown three point shooter as a freshman, but his improvement as a shooter is noticeable and real. For him to be doing that takes his game to a new level.
While Bess was knocking in threes, he was also going to his bread and butter which is creating and making others better. He was getting into the lane at will and making plays off the dribble in the mid-range and also he would get to the rim and finish with athleticism.
Being able to finish from all three levels on the floor is very rare for a high school player, and even a college player, and Bess showed a proficiency in doing that. A little more refinement means that Bess can play a variety of positions and take on different roles.
Overall offensively Bess put on an absolute show. He looked better as a shooter while still being a very good playmaker. He still isn't elite in any one area, but he is getting better in every area, and has shown an ability to make things happen and impact the game in a variety of ways.
On Defense: Bess has always been a good defensive player, and again he was very solid in this regard. Bess finished the game with five steals, and did it on the strength of a high IQ, good athleticism, and long arms.
Bess is very good on the defensive end because he moves his feet very well and just knows how to anticipate things. Also he is roughly 6-foot-5 with very long arms, and that allows him to guard multiple positions, and even at times he could check a point guard.
As of now he is going to be at his best guarding a wing, and he has potential shutdown ability in that role. As he continues to get stronger and more experienced this is an area where Bess will really make an immediate impact.
Overall Impression: Ohio is notorious for kids blooming late, coming out of nowhere, and going on to have excellent college careers. Players such as Semaj Christon, Trey Burke, and C.J. McCollum all come to mind in that regard.
While it is unlikely that Bess has that kind of explosion and ends up as an NBA first round pick, he is clearly on the right path. Right now Bess is viewed as a three-star prospect at the small forward position, but that could be changed.
There is no doubt that Bess will be in the discussion not only to work his way into a ranked spot at his position group, and possibly be elevated to four-star status with discussion of moving in to the top 100.
Michigan State might have stolen one out of the Buckeye State here, and he definitely was impressive with his play.