FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Huntington Prep’s (W.Va.) boys’ basketball team has never been starved for star power.
In just the last four years, the Fighting Irish have produced players like Miles Bridges, now starring at Michigan State, Thomas Bryant, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Andrew Wiggins, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jaemyn Brakefield, a 6-foot-9 combo forward who is rated as a five-star prospect in the ESPN 25 for 2020.
“He’s got a lot of potential, there’s no question about that,” Huntington Prep coach Arkell Bruce said. “He’s a guy that’s got that buzz around him.”
Said buzz certainly looked warranted In the Fighting Irish’s 82-67 win over Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) Friday night at the Hoops & Dreams Showcase.
Brakefield posted 17 points and seven rebounds in the win.
“A lot more people know me this year that’s for sure,” Brakefield said. “It’s exciting, but I definitely feel a lot of pressure. I remember when people didn’t even know me last year.”
Brakefield used a dominant summer averaging 23 points and six rebounds a game with MBA Hoops (Miss.) on the adidas Gauntlet to earn his five-star status.
That’s translated into offers from Baylor, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech and Houston.
Brakefield was also one of a handful of five-star recruits in attendance at Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness last month.
“This is all new to me so I’m enjoying everything,” Brakefield said. “Drake was there at Kentucky that night so, of course, it was something I’ll never forget.”
That said, don’t expect Brakefield to rest on his laurels now that he’s turning the heads of college basketball’s most elite programs.
Bruce said Brakefield’s best trait has nothing to do with X’s and O’s.
“He’s teachable and he’s always want to learn and get better,” Bruce said. “That was what made guys like Andrew and Thomas and guys like that so special; they always felt they had more to work on.”
In that regard, Brakefield should be well on his way to living up to the proverbial hype.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned from all the attention is that I need to get better,” he said. “I have a lot to work on and I want to be at another level. I just keep working like it’s last year all over again when no one knew me.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY