Billy Garrett, Jr. keeps growing in both height and in stature. The Morgan Park guard has sprouted up 5 inches in the last two years and is climbing the recruiting rankings as well. One recruiting service lists Billy among the top 60 prospects in the nation for the class of 2013.
Billy ranks up there with the best sophomores in the city. We're talking super sophs like Simeon's Jabari Parker, DeLaSalle's Alex Foster, and Whitney Young's Tommy Hamilton.
"Right now, he's the best to me," said Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin. "Bill is 6-4, he's a smooth point guard. He can will the game. Jabari is good. Tommy is good. When you mention those guys, you've got to mention Billy. Billy is right there with them. He won the city championship last year. I mean he helped turn the program around as a freshman."
At times Billy has played in the shadow of Morgan Park senior Wayne Blackshear, a McDonald's All-American who is committed to Louisville. However, this season Billy has emerged from that shadow and exhibited some of his own strengths.
"His biggest strengths are his shooting and passing," said Irvin. "He's a treat to watch off the pick and roll. He's probably the best in the country. I always tell him to get in the pick and roll because he can shoot and he can drive. That's what you see in a good point guard like a Chris Paul or a Steve Nash, they all can shoot. That's the type of guard he's going to be."
The Mustangs opened up IHSA playoff play with a dominating 105-30 win over Julian in the Lemont regional. Billy scored 31 points on that night and drilled three point shots on three straight possessions in the rout.
With Billy's help, Morgan Park advanced all the way to the Class 3A sectional finals this season.
Last week, Garrett Jr. picked up a scholarship offer from Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton. He also holds offers from DePaul, Seton Hall, Stanford, and UNLV and has been receiving interest from Pitt.
With all this college interest, is there any chance that Billy could make an early decision?
"I've talked it over my family and maybe I'll make a decision in the summer," said Billy. "I'll definitely make one before my senior year."
Billy is the son of DePaul assistant coach Billy Garrett. When he isn't on the court for Morgan Park he can usually be found with his father around the DePaul program. With access like that, Billy has had ample time to study the Blue Demons and head coach Oliver Purnell.
"He's a great coach and a great motivator also," Billy said of Purnell. "I like the way that he connects with his players. He looks out for their best interests. That's important. I feel like I can trust in him and have a great relationship with him. As I see it, he's a great coach. The style of play is also important. I love the way they play. They play the way we do, fast and pressing. I think it's a good fit."
Being the son of a coach can have its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side there is the coaching and encouragement that he receives from his father.
"He pushes me," said Garrett, Jr. "When I see him in the crowd, I want to play better. I talk to him before each game, he tells me what I need to do. Seeing him in the crowd just makes me want to play harder."
But are there drawbacks too?
"All the tape watching," said Garrett, Jr. "Definitely all the tape watching. I watch so much tape. Especially the bad games, he'll let me have it. Other than that, I mean, it's nothing but positives."
When Garrett, Jr. is hanging out with his friends, they often talk about where they might play at on the next level.
"Markee (Williams) is my closest buddy," said Garrett, Jr. "Him and Jabari Parker. We've known each other since we were about three years old. We talk about schools. We hang out with each other, study for classes and what not."
With the loss of Blackshear and Jerome Brown to graduation, it will be up to Garrett, Jr. and Williams to lead Morgan Park next season.
"Billy and Markee are the go-to guys," said Irvin. "I've told them that Wayne is the man, but you have two years to shine and they know that. Now they're starting to feel it. They are starting to get into a groove. Billy is just big-time. I'm happy with what I have coming back. He's going to carry the team."
For now, Billy can be found out on the AAU circuit this spring with the 17-U Mac Irvin Fire team at a number of Nike EYBL events.
Last weekend, Billy led the Fire to the championship of the 17-U bracket of the Chicago Hoops Spring Tip-Off classic.
You can see Billy Garrett, Jr. in action for yourself in the following video highlight clips.
Garrett's Stock is on the Rise
We Are DePaul Top Stories
On Campus: Weekend of September 24thA number of the nation's top prospects will take official and unofficial visits this weekend. Who is headed where? Scout breaks down the key visits of the weekend.
Scout HoopsYesterday at 5:07 AM
DePaul Learns Big East ScheduleCHICAGO – The Big East conference unveiled the 2016-17 conference schedule today as well as TV assignments for FOX and CBS coverage with the Blue Demons opening on the road at…
We Are DePaul09/13/2016
Hoops Recruiting Inside ScoopWhat's the latest on the top recruits in the country? Scout's basketball recruiting team -- Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon -- break down the latest.
Updated 2018 Top 100The 2018 player rankings have been extended from a top 75 to a top 100. Marvin Bagley, a 6-foot-10 power forward, held on to the No. 1 spot, while Zion Williamson and Romeo…