We pride ourselves in bringing some of the top prospects here in the Palmetto State to the forefront before anyone else does. So we're at it again in our latest installation of our "UP NEXT" series introducing a top flight 2011 point guard from Lewisville High School, Cortell Busby.
Last season was a breakthrough sophomore campaign for the 2011 prospect as he put up solid numbers for his squad averaging 12.7 points, 7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.1 charges drawn per game. His play earned him 1st Team All-Region and 2nd Team All-Area honors.
We caught up with Cortell recently to talk about his offseason on the AAU circuit, recruitment, and season last year for his Lewisville squad.
Busby started to draw plenty of attention with his play for his school but on the summer circuit he had quite a few pivotal performances in front of college coaches that has helped put him on the proverbial radar early on.
"My offseason was a great learning expeerience. I played up with the Phoenix Elite 17U which definitely better prepared me for my junior season as well as another year of 17U AAU ball. My best game was against the Connecticut Select 17U in which I scored 23 points, had 11 rebounds and 4 assists as well as kept my streak going by drawing at least 1 charge per game and there were many college coaches there to watch."
That experience in the offseason helped build Busby's confidence as he saw some of the nation's top prospects lined up in front him on a regular basis. He shared with us some of the toughest competitors he went head up with this summer.
"During the AAU circuit, I played against the CP3 All-Stars and guarded Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston. Their physical size and ability made them tough guards, but I like a challenge and always defend the best guards on the other teams. We lost by 8 points and I finished the game with 10 points scored at the point guard position. I played against NC Gators and guarded Reco McCarter whose size and overall talent on the court made him a tough guard, but I was able to be physical and lock him down."
He also talked about the toughest in-state prospect he's locked horns with thus far in his career as well. "The toughest player I have gone up against in the state of South Carolina was DeAndre Hopkins who played for the SC Ravens. His hesitation dribble gets him into the lane and was the most difficult part of his game to stop, but I still managed to play great defense against him and was able to hold him to 6 points."
During last year's run in-state Busby and his Lewisville squad had a successful run but the 2011 prospect is looking to up the ante this coming season.
Asked to reflect back on some of his top moments from his sophomore season Busby had this to say, "The games that stick out in my mind as my best for Lewisville High School were against North Central, Williston-Elko and Great Falls. My stats for North Central were 24 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists."
"Against Williston-Elko in the first round of playoffs in which we lost by 1 point in the last second of the game, I had 10 points, 8 assists and 10 rebounds (almost a triple-double). Against Great Falls I had 19 points and 8 rebounds as well as 3 assists. Each of those games were memorable because they were a playoff games and conference rival games."
"My goals for the team for this upcoming season are to win the region and bring home the Class A state title for Lewisville High School. My personal goals are to be the 1A Conference Player of the Year as well as All-Herald 1st Team and make the All-State team."
His tough play during the season and on the AAU circuit opened plenty of eyes and Busby recalled the schools that are already involved early on. "The colleges who are recruiting me the hardest right now are Wofford, VCU, Wichita State, Davidson, East Carolina, and Stetson."
Is there an early leader for Busby at this juncture? "As far as colleges and my early favorites, I'm keeping my options open and I like all the schools who are currently recruiting me like Wofford, VCU, Wichita State, Davidson, Elon, ECU, Georgia, Stetson, and Niagara."
Busby isn't one to toot his own horn when it comes to the strengths of his game so he offered up a summary that was given on him by a recent showcase held by 6th Man Basketball at the University of South Carolina's practice facilities. "The recent SC showcase review stated I am a very savvy point guard who looks to pass first and set other players up to score, but have the ability to get past the defender and score strong at the rim due to my size and strength. I was also described as a very aggressive, lock-down defender who continues to be cool and calm under pressure with my mid-range game being a very strong strength. College scouts have compared me numerous times to Ben Eblen, a freshman guard at Alabama."
He did however state one of the areas that he will be focusing on this offseason in a concerted effort to improve his skill set. "My three-point shooting."
Given that he's a solid 6'2 175 pounds Busby has good size that many college coaches covet the 2011 lead guard patterns his game after one of the NBA's best.
"I pattern my game after Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz because I like the fact that he is a big, savvy point guard who runs his team effectively, finishes strong at the rim, sets other players up to score, and plays hard on both ends of the court."
Although he is still 2 years away from college Cortell already has an idea as to what he'll be considering heavily when looking at potential colleges. "There are many factors that will play an important role in my decision of what college I will attend and play basketball for such as location, education, playing time, conference strength, coaching staff, facilities, atmosphere, etc. The top three for me right now would be relationship with the coaching staff, early playing time, and conference strength. At the same time, academics are key to my success upon graduation."
Being the son of a basketball coach Cortell obviously has a real love and passion for the game but those abilities paired with his strong work ethic in the classroom will definitely draw more college recruiters to Lewisville.
"My parents have instilled in me the values of faith, family and education. Off the court, I am a strong student academically, having a 3.5 GPA while taking all honors classes. However, I consider myself to be a gym rat, working on all aspects of my game, striving to do whatever it takes to be the best point guard in the state of South Carolina and beyond."
Looking ahead to the upcoming season there are a few games that Busby is looking forward to and he shared exactly why with us, "I am most looking forward to playing against Chester High School and Great Falls High School because these are area rival teams that produce sold-out gyms with a great atmosphere, crowd noise, intensity and everything you want in a big-time game. I thrive in that type of atmosphere and environment!"
Stay tuned to SCPrepNation.com for more updates with Cortell Busby as his recruitment is just starting to warm up. We will have video highlights of Busby in action soon as well so be sure to check back for more of the best coverage in the Palmetto State when it comes to South Carolina's top high school basketball and football prospects with us at SCPrepNation.com!