As the national conversation grows with Rutgers potentially landing the top two recruits in the 2024 class, both Dylan Harper and Ace Bailey continue to prove they’re worth their top ranking on the court this month. While priority target Harper played for Team USA overseas and lived up to his top billing at the Peach Jam, Rutgers commit Bailey is wowing recruiting analysts and college coaches alike. He’s delivering jaw dropping highlights while also leaving analysts impressed over his development as a complete player.
Playing for his AAU team, Athletes of Tomorrow (AOT), on the independent On The Radar circuit, Bailey is producing several dominant performances. So much so that 247 Sports national recruiting analyst Travis Branham wrote on Sunday that Bailey is making a serious argument to top Harper as the the No. 1 recruit in the 2024 class. Bailey is currently No. 2.
“The race for the crown in 2024 has been a fluid and tight one throughout the entirety of their high school careers,” Branham wrote.
“Dylan Harper took the crown after a big junior season with Ace Bailey making a push.
After his play on Saturday in front of 247Sports, Bailey has made another jump and looked like the best in the class.
The 6-foot-9 wing was electric and explosive in his matchup against five-star forward Bryson Tiller and dealt highlight reel damage on both ends of the court.
He created and made shots few can make, he finished with flair and authority high above the rim but the thing that jumped out the most was his passing this time around.
On several occasions Bailey threaded the needle and found teammates with a pass that hummed as it went through traffic for assists.
The shot-creating, the shot-making, the dunks, the defense are far from new with Bailey but the passing is a new development.
Bailey left those in attendance in awe all game long and left all those claiming he is the true No. 1 player in the country.”
Here is what Branham tweeted this weekend in regard to feedback from one college coach in attendance.
Me: “Did you get to watch Ace Bailey yesterday?”
College coach: “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh..My..Gosh.”
Sums it up. https://t.co/zZBy0p2jVu
— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) July 16, 2023
Here are highlights of Bailey’s play this past weekend.
— PopscoutHoops (@pop_scout) July 15, 2023
Bailey delivered the game winning play on Sunday to cap another big performance for AOT.
— Baseline To Sideline(Ωψφ) (@BTS_Report) July 16, 2023
Aside from raw talent, Bailey has a strong feel for the game and shows in this game winning play his ability to anticipate where he can impact the play. He didn’t care that the play call with the game on the line wasn’t directed at him but rather put himself in a position to win it anyway.
— OffCourtMgmt (@Offcourtmgmt) July 16, 2023
In addition to his complete play on the court, Bailey is making waves on social media with highlight reel dunks this past month. This particular play below shown from two different angles made it look like he had a jetpack on his back. His athleticism and explosiveness is off the charts.
— BallerTV (@BallerTV) July 12, 2023
This weekend I had the chance to cover Ace Bailey for multiple games @OntheRadarHoops Elite 32.
The 6’9 5 star wing put on a show with the Rutgers staff in attendance.
This dunk was featured on Overtime and Ballislife today. (🎥: @scooterviolator)
More clips on thread👇🚦 pic.twitter.com/M2iJnW6Hrj
— GREENLIGHT MEDIA (@atlgreenlight) July 9, 2023
Earlier this month, Bailey replicated an iconic dunk by basketball legend Kobe Bryant, which did not go unnoticed.
I immediately thought of Kobe when I saw Ace Bailey pull this out this weekend 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Ip0vRQo5yp
— Overtime (@overtime) July 3, 2023
Steve Pikiell and the Rutgers coaching staff have done a great job of prioritizing Bailey long after he committed over the winter. Assistants Brandin Knight and Marlon Williamson have strong relationships with Bailey, his family and his AAU coaches. They’ve continued to watch him play and have never been complacent in their continued recruitment of the 5-star prospect. And his childhood friend, point guard Jamichael Davis, is playing well in summer workouts after joining the program last month.
As a top recruit, Bailey can impact the game in multiple ways. However, his willingness to be a dominant rim defender while also sharing the basketball with his teammates elevate his potential impact at Rutgers even more so. It shows he will fit the culture of the program while having the opportunity for a starring role from day one.
Landing Bailey in his own right would be a major coup. With Bailey right next to the coaches in pursuing Harper, the possibility of landing both elite recruits is not a pipe dream. At the same time, appreciating Bailey for his talents and potential on his own is important too. In case you don’t believe that Bailey’s game has no ceiling, he continues to prove it with his play this summer.
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