Los Angeles enjoys some of the best grassroots basketball visibility of any American city, and for good reason. The Southern Cal area consistently produces elite talent.
Tyler Dorsey benefited from that exposure early, not that he needed help in his early rise to prominence. I first saw him with Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco his sophomore year, and by the end of that season he’d drawn offers from Arizona, USC Oregon State, Louisville, Florida and Connecticut. That’s a big league list of schools for such a young player.
Dorsey hit the road in 2013 as a rising junior, but he may as well have been a senior based on the competition he faced. He attended camps such as Pangos and toured the 17-under circuit with Belmont Shore, and he held a prominent ranking prior to his junior campaign.
He committed to Arizona last January, surprising many who had expected him to navigate a protracted recruitment. That surprise was prophetic, as Dorsey backed off his pledge in June.
He was good, not great, during the summer, and as such dipped slightly in post-July rankings. Nevertheless, Dorsey remains an established top-shelf prospect and still holds the offers to match. He made fall visits to Kansas, California, Colorado, Arizona State and Oregon and likely will commit in advance of the April signing period.
Dorsey is an outstanding ballhandler at 6-4, and over the past 18 months his shoulders have become broader and he now projects as more of a power wing. He’s at his best hunching forward and dribbling low to the ground as he blasts past defenders toward the rim.
|Dorsey’s ballhandling polish ranks among the national elite|
Because Dorsey is so adept dribbling with either hand, he’s able to keep defenders off-balance due to the fact that they can’t shade him to drive left. His strength increase makes him a more formidable finisher because he draws contact and trips to the free throw line.
And he always has been a dangerous pull-up jump shooter. Dorsey explodes immediately from dribble into elevating jump shot, and he buries them at a multitude of angles from 14-18 feet. That’s a talent that could serve him well as he progresses up the career ladder.
His passing also is outstanding for the wing, so much so that one realistically could categorize him as a combo guard. In fact, earlier in his career I viewed him as a PG/SG, and while I believe he has outgrown point guard, he obviously boasts excellent skills.
The real key here is that he has added another wrinkle to his game. Dorsey’s improved power and aggression off the dribble point to a more efficient scoring style than was true for him in the past.
Dorsey is fairly quick but not tremendously explosive, certainly not by elite wing standards. In traffic he relies on twisting, contested finishes, rather than simply going over the top. Thus, his pull-up game looms all the more important.
That said, his shot selection always has tended to waver. The primary disconnect is that the range where he can be most prolific — 14-18 feet — brings about relatively poor expected outcomes and generally has fallen out of favor with college coaches.
Most coaches want their guards to score off the bounce at the rim or else from deep, and Dorsey’s three-point shot needs greater consistency. The mid-range weapon exists for him and at times he has shot threes very well, however, so it’s mostly just a matter of decision-making.
He’s also okay defensively due to his strength but has average length and lateral quickness, meaning that he projects better for offense than defense in the long-term.
Dorsey is a strong, confident scorer who can create his own attempts. That counts for a lot, and his elevating jumper makes him a good choice to shoot from behind a high ball screen. Whichever college he chooses, look for his future coach to deploy him in that capacity frequently.
If anything, he may have suffered some from overexposure and the fact that he can have some very good games or very bad games, which confuses people. Smoothing out the lows — even if that means sacrificing a few of the highs — will make him consistently, efficiently productive and very well could lead to a starting role as a freshman.
Without knowing his college choice, and given that some of the schools on his list feature far more talent-laden rosters than others, it’s difficult to project his 2015-16 campaign. Suffice it to say, however, that Dorsey projects as an immediate contributor and has a chance to play many productive years beyond college.