At 6-6, Mark Vital may not fit people’s impression of the standard power forward. In a world where most posts are 6-8 or taller, the Lone Star product stands a couple inches below that mark yet hasn’t allowed that fact to curtail his development — nor his effectiveness at the prestigious NBPA Camp.
Vital actually is a combo forward, rather than a post, and is a hybrid using today’s terminology. While he’s best suited as a post defender and rebounder — and he doesn’t shoot often from long-range — he’s certainly capable as a slasher who loves attack along the baseline.
Vital is an explosive leaper who jumps off one foot and threw down some of the most impressive dunks at camp. He also routinely battled against taller and longer opponents and got the better of them. Even when he faces a stylistic mismatch, he’s able to compensate with outright ferocity.
”I’ll play the three in college, will play the four in college,” Vital said. “I’m not scared at all. I’m fearless.”
Talk is cheap, but Vital certainly backs it up. His warrior mentality along with his obvious strength and athleticism attracted Scott Drew and the Baylor program early in the process, as he committed to the Bears back in 2013.
”It’s a good fit, I think I’m a perfect piece,” Vital said. “Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do. Coach Drew told me, ‘When you come in here, I need you to be an animal.’”
But the fit with Baylor amounted to more than a matter of style. Vital also factored bigger picture priorities into his choice.
”I just loved Baylor,” he said. “Good school, I can relate to a good Christian school and it’s close to home. I didn’t want my family to have to get on a plane and travel all the way out somewhere.”
Moving forward, Vital seeks to round out his game. He understands his strengths and weaknesses and strives to become a complete player.
”My style of play is I’m athletic, I like to ‘D’ up, my motor, and I like a fast-paced game,” he said. “I’m working on my jumper, my handles and my footwork. And I know I have to shoot better.”
Vital is Scout’s No. 89 prospect in the rising senior class and will continue to be a featured attraction as he tests himself versus national competition on the grassroots trail.