Longhorns rush into McGusty’s recruitment

The Under Armour circuit’s top scorer isn’t named Josh Jackson, nor does he rank anywhere in our top 100. He’s Kameron McGusty, and this month he has emerged as one of the country’s surprise stories.

Kameron McGusty is proof that it can still happen. “It” being that a player can exist in grassroots obscurity, with a light recruitment to match, and suddenly explode into national prominence.

It required only two weekends this month for McGusty to make everyone’s 2016 rankings look outdated. I’m not screaming from the mountaintop that he’s a McDonald’s All-American, but the 6-5, 175-pound shooting guard’s numbers on the Under Armour circuit speak for themselves.

Playing with the Houston Defenders, the Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes product is averaging more than 20 points per game for a 5-3 team that also features explosive point guard J.J. Caldwell. He’s also No. 2 in free throws made, an indicator how he likes to generate his offense.

McGusty boasts an excellent first step that he uses to regularly beat opponents off the dribble. He also possesses long arms and outstanding body control, and thus he’s able to change hands mid-air and extend past shotblockers. He’s at his best in transition but also can be effective in the halfcourt thanks to his streamlined, attacking style.

He has been prolific and reasonably efficient. McGusty has converted 48 percent of his field goal attempts and 73 percent from the foul line. Although his jump shooting form is far from textbook, he has knocked in a viable 33 percent from deep.

Meanwhile, he adds five rebounds per game and is a willing, if at times sloppy passer. His defense should develop into an asset over time given his height, length and quickness. He simply needs to gain strength.

Though modest, he also doesn’t lack for confidence.

”No, sir, I’m not surprised (that I’ve been playing so well),” McGusty said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work, it’s just good to see it pay off.

”I’ve been working on my jumper, really everything offensively, some conditioning, really being able to go up and down and play the full game.”

As you’d expect, McGusty’s recruitment has taken a dramatic upturn this month. Previously a regional mid-major target, he now has some major programs banging down the door.

”Last week, I got offered by five schools in four days,” McGusty said. “UT (Texas), OU (Oklahoma), Kansas State, Auburn and USC. Plus a lot of local schools.”

The turnaround has been so sudden that McGusty doesn’t want to rush into a decision. His focus remains to tighten up all aspects of his game.

”Definitely, I want to pick up my defense and my conditioning a little more,” he said, “and also my jump shot. It’s good, but I want it to be great.”

The next question pertains to position. McGusty is tall enough to be a wing forward, yet ideally skilled to be a shooting guard. Perhaps even more tantalizing, he’s so effective attacking off high screens that in college he realistically may play some on the ball.

”Colleges like me as a combo guard,” he said. “I can run the one, I can run the two. I can pass it, I can dribble. I’m good with whatever position they want me to play.”

As a highly promising in-state prospect, the Longhorns have taken a keen interest in his development.

”UT has been pretty hard on me since Shaka Smart got there,” McGusty said. “He likes the way I get up and down the court, because obviously they press. He likes the way I run and look for the open man and score the ball in transition.”

McGusty insisted that he’ll weigh geography less prominently in his decision than perhaps some of his peers, but the ‘Horns clearly have made an impression.

He’ll continue to tour with the Defenders, and look for him to break into our national top 100 the next time we update the Class of 2016 rankings.

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