Bocot Making Things Happen in Bloomington

In this report, talks with Bloomington High School coach Ron Rose about 6-3 junior guard Justin Bocot. We explore Bocot's play for the Raiders, his strengths, his areas for improvement, and the interest that Justin is drawing from college coaches.

Justin Bocot averaged near 20 points per game on his way to leading the Bloomington High Raiders to the Illinois state playoffs. The Raiders lost 70-55 to Peoria Richwoods in the Class AA Super-Sectional at Redbird Arena in Normal. It was the first time since 1975 that Bloomington had advanced past sectionals.

The Raiders would not have made it that far without Bocot's leadership according to his head coach. "Justin is an incredibly talented young man," said Bloomington coach Ron Rose. "He has all the tools to play at a high level in college and he had all the tools as a junior to lead us to the super-sectional. He is as competitive of a young man as I've ever been around. He can do a lot of things on the basketball court. The game comes really easy to him. He's one of those kids who's a gifted athlete, but he has a natural feel for the game of basketball."

Bocot has all of the skills to succeed at the next level. "He can handle the ball," Rose remarked. "He can play both the point and the off guard. He gets to the basket as well as any kid you're going to find. He can shoot the ball. When he's knocking down the jump shot, he's very difficult to guard. He has learned how to make his teammates better. He had an excellent year defensively. He really is keyed in and wants to be a player that plays all aspects of the game. Late in the year when we started the tournament, he really locked in and became as determined as any young man that I've coached at the high school level. I think a lot of Justin. He's one of those kids that you love to coach because he loves the game."

What then does Bocot still need to improve upon to succeed? "Justin needs to continue getting stronger," replied Rose. "I think he knows that. He's got a slight build. I think that's the major area that he needs to get stronger physically. That will be an emphasis in the off-season."

Bocot has received a great deal interest from schools in the Missouri Valley conference. Bradley, Indiana State, Missouri State, and Southern Illinois have all expressed interest in the 6-3 guard. Justin's father lives in the Chicago area, so DePaul is a school that has a natural appeal for him. "DePaul has been very interested," Rose remarked.

Rose has no doubt that Bocot will continue to improve as he embarks on AAU play and prepares for his senior season at Bloomington. "He's a kid that will work at it," observed Rose. "If you tell him the areas that he needs to work on, he will do it. He's a very determined young man and basketball is important to him. One of his goals is to play at the next level. He'll work on those areas."

Lonnie Lawrence

Bocot's teammate is fellow junior Lonnie Lawrence. Lawrence is a 6-4 forward prospect who spends his time in the power forward and center positions for Bloomington. Thus far, Lawrence is a player who has been flying below the radar. "He averaged a double-double for us this year," said Rose. "He got second place in the slam dunk contest at the state tournament. He's an undersized post player, because he's 6-4. He's just a beast on the boards. All the college coaches love him. The question is whether he is going to grow or develop some perimeter skills? He plays so hard. He defends, he rebounds, he runs the floor. He's improved his offensive skills tremendously in the last year or two. If he makes the same strides in the next year, I think he could be a Division I player. He's a kid that will never hurt you."

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