2007 Intro: Jerryd Bayless

Jerryd Bayless may be the least-hyped Top 10 Player in the Class of 2007. One school of thought is that he comes out of Arizona. Whatever the case, all the high-majors are chasing the 6-2 1/2 rising junior guard from the same school which produced Channing Frye.

Jerryd Bayless never knew how much he loved the game of basketball until Dec. 28, 2004.

That's when the St. Mary's (Ariz.) sophomore guard dislocated his left wrist while attempting to block a shot. Bayless, who had averaged 20.1 points and 8.1 assists per game as a freshman, was forced to sit and watch the next 16 games.

``I'd never really had basketball taken away from me," Bayless said.

He was also expected to miss the postseason, but that changed when his team trailed in the second half of a first-round game against Highland. Bayless called to receive clearance from his doctor and helped bring his team back to victory.

Bayless wasn't close to full-strength, but he led the team all the way to the Class 5A title game, where they fell short against Mountain View.

Now Bayless is 100 percent and his game has also changed from a year ago on the summer circuit.

He'll get a chance to showcase his evolving game beginning with the Nike Skills Academy and the NBA Players Association Camp later this month. Then he'll attend the Nike All-American Camp, head to Florida for the Team Breakdown event and finish the summer off with the Big Time in Las Vegas.

Bayless is a guy who often gets compared to another Arizona point guard, Mike Bibby, because of their Arizona ties. However, their games really aren't all that similar.

Bayless is more explosive and athletic while Bibby was a better outside shooter at this stage of his career and also had a better understanding of the point guard position.

``Jerryd is so talented," Arizona Magic's Anthony Ray said. "He's so gifted and so competitive. He wants to win so badly and he's always working on his game to get better. He's never satisfied. Even though he's a top 10 player, he wants to be number one."

Bayless is the first to agree that he needed to work on his point guard abilities – and that's exactly what he's focused on of late.

Bayless has a tutor with an impressive resume – as he works with former NBA guard and ex-Phoenix Suns head coach Frank Johnson on a regular basis.

``Two months ago, my weakness was running a team," Bayless said. "I think I've gotten better at that, though. Now I just think I need to work on everything."

Bayless recently returned from the Arizona team camp, where his team, which is now made up of young players, ended up losing to Buena High. The Wildcats are at or near the top of his list of suitors, along with Texas, Kansas and North Carolina. All have offered a scholarship except for North Carolina.

``I'm going to look at the coaching staff, the players who they have coming in and a lot of other factors," Bayless said. "Playing time won't be an issue, though. I don't want anyone to give anything to me. I want to earn my playing time."

Scout Hoops Top Stories