The 2012 summer served as Dwayne Bacon's launching pad. No, he didn't "sizzle" just in case you're wondering, but he did embed himself within the grassroots consciousness.
Bacon knew what he was from day one. He's a scorer, a confident player who competes with a self-assured style that translates into positive action even under duress. The nation's No. 19 senior, he enjoyed some fantastic outings for the Showtime Ballers that firmly established that he possesses star potential for the next level and beyond.
By the 2013 summer, he'd drawn offers from Florida State, Virginia Tech, UCF, USF, Baylor, Memphis, Marquette, Clemson, Xavier, DePaul and Oklahoma State. A game that obviously powerful always was going to generate an expansive list.
Bacon has bounced around a little for high school but will spend the 2014-15 season playing for legendary coach Steve Smith and Oak Hill Academy. He gradually proceeded along with his recruitment, seriously considering Oklahoma State, SMU, USF, USC, Tennessee and Georgia Tech, in addition to FSU.
But ultimately, it was Leonard Hamilton himself who put the Seminoles over the top while Bacon toured Tallahassee officially this past weekend.
Without question, Bacon does his best work in transition. He's a highly capable athlete who finishes through contact better than nearly any other wing in the Class of 2015. The results are frequent and-ones and trips to the foul line, where he exacts a toll both as a scorer and as a player who generates foul problems for opponents.
He's a very physical player who loves to drop his shoulder and use a solid base do bump defenders off balance. Bacon scores effectively on the move even when he doesn't have the angle, because he can subtly (typically without getting whistled for offensive fouls) knock defenders off their lines.
|Bacon delights at punishing opponents|
Meanwhile, he's a dangerous mid-range jump shooter who pulls up effortlessly off the dribble. He knocks in some threes as well and appears to be improving from long-distance.
But it's not all power. Bacon stands 6-6, 200 pounds, so obviously he's big but he's also fairly tall for a college wing. Or, better said, he certainly isn't short. He projects as a wing forward defensively and benefits from his muscle, athleticism and aggression on that end of the court as well, and we know that FSU likes to emphasize its defense.
Additionally, he should become a strong rebounder from the perimeter and also is a capable passer with above-average overall ball skills for a big, strong wing.
Continuing to become more consistent looms key. Bacon appears to have made major strides in his regard, however, so maybe that criticism is becoming less relevant.
He also isn't truly elastic and thus doesn't weave around traffic when he puts the ball on the floor. He'll need to perfect his body in order to retain a physical advantage, because he's unlikely to slice and dice like some of his more nimble peers.
And, of course, continuing to enhance his shooting stroke from deep. His long-range future will brighten considerably (and it's already bright) if he can bury long jumpers consistently.
Bacon should have no trouble making an early impact at FSU. He won't arrive to campus with any glaring deficiencies, nor is he likely to take the court passively as is the case for many freshmen.
His rate of improvement also is impressive. Bacon appears to be raising his level of play relative to most others in his age range, a sign that perhaps he'll continue rising. And even now, he projects as a major talent for a Seminoles program that's loading up in the senior class.
We'll be highly eager to observe him at Oak Hill, where he'll compete with and against some of the country's best players. As such, his progress will become all the more evident as he moves toward the next step of his career.