Battle at the Beach: Billy Preston

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- 2017 prospect Billy Preston continues to impress, this time doing so in his new home gym. At 6-9, 220, Preston is more than just a big man.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- 2017 prospect Billy Preston will be playing for his second school in two years when he suits up for Redondo Beach (Calif.) Union next season, and in his first real action in his new home gym, the sophomore-to-be showed why he may very well be one of the most versatile and coveted prospects in the 2017 class.

Preston showed great feel around the rim, a very effective jumper out to 15 feet (probably his best weapon) and was physical down low and on the boards. Preston considers himself a wing at 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, and while he profiles physically as a power forward, he has a lot of the finer skills needed to play a bit further out.

“Wing is the position that I would love to play,” Preston said. “I’m really versatile. I can play any position, really, but the wing is where I most want to play.”

Doctors have told Preston that his growth plates are still open, so he still has room to grow vertically, and has a broad enough frame to add more muscle.

“To be honest, I don’t want to get any taller,” Preston smiled. “If it happens, it happens. Sometimes, it has its disadvantages, because there’s always a smaller, quicker person guarding me on the wing, and down low, it’s either my size or bigger, but I feel like nobody can stop me. Either way, I’m getting to the basket.”

Preston only took one three-pointer on Thursday (and missed), but inside the arc, he’s deadly, but he said he hits them often enough to be effective. What he really wants to improve on is his already-advanced post game.

“I just need to hit the weight room a little bit; the only time I lifted weights was when I went to [Bellflower (Calif.) St. John] Bosco,” Preston said. “I can always improve the post game. That’s what I’ve been working on – that and my jump shot.”

Oregon State, Colorado, California, UCLA and Arizona State watched Preston during the second day of the Bash at the Beach, and it’s hard to think that Preston won’t see more offers coming his way, soon.

“I’ve gotten a lot of interest, mostly from Pac-12 schools. I only have a couple offers – UNLV and USC,” Preston said. “UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, they’re coming on.”

After transferring from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco mid-semester last year thanks to a family move, Preston will be able to start right away for the Sea Hawks, and he already has some idea of what he wants in a potential college.

“Just teamwork,” said the Compton Magic prospect, who played up with the 17U elite team on Thursday. “I’m a real team player, and teamwork and communication, that’s really it.”

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