Dupree McBrayer's road to prominence has been windier than most. When I first observed him in action, at this past spring's Southern Jam Fest, he was a 2014 prospect deciding between late collegiate suitors or a one-year stint in prep school.
At first blush, he had struck me as an upper mid-major or possibly a high-major minus prospect, but he progressed during the following months and, by the Fab 48 in late July, had played his way into contention for the national top 100 and currently enjoys four star status.
McBrayer committed to Minnesota in late August, and following a prep season this year will give the Gophers a talented combo guard with solid perimeter scoring tools.
By far, McBrayer's primary asset is a feathery jump shot. A southpaw, he loves to hoist threes from the wings and top of the key, and he features an effortless, quick release that he can convert even when contested.
While initially he seemed very stationary, he impressed me in Vegas with his knack for squeezing around high ball screens and popping from 22 feet. The ability to shoot accurately without being perfectly set bodes well for him in the Big Ten.
|McBrayer looks like a true floor general when running the break|
Meanwhile, McBrayer also is a legitimate combo who handles and passes very well. He runs the break like a point guard, either racing ahead for the bucket himself or making a quick flip pass to a teammate who has a higher percentage attempt.
Though not a point, he could arise as an option for the Gophers if they are facing pressure from an opponent and need a pressure release valve to advance the ball up the court and make a play.
McBrayer is rangy and could become a versatile defender as well. He lacks strength at the moment but, given his frame, should be able to add sufficient muscle without too much difficulty.
As mentioned, he'll definitely need to get much stronger, but of course that's true for most high school prospects.
Another challenge for him will be to prove he can score while driving forward. McBrayer is much better going straight up and down or laterally, but when he's driving he doesn't frequently score above the rim or have as much of a traffic offensive arsenal as would be ideal. Adding scoring from the middle areas will be key.
He's also a pretty good, but not great athlete generally, so he'll have to thrive on craft rather than overwhelming physical gifts.
McBrayer should bring punch to the Gopher lineup as a shooter. That's likely to be the area where he succeeds first, followed by more dynamic play as a ballhandler and passer. He'll have to cut out some low percentage decisions with the ball in his hands, but by his sophomore or junior year he should be contributing in multiple aspects.
Long-term, he'll likely need to transition to point guard if he hopes to advance to a more lucrative professional league. Regardless, he showcased the tools to compete at a high level this past summer and will be an asset to a Minnesota program that's gaining steam quickly under its young head coach.