Preps: Wake Forest
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – With mere seconds remaining on the fourth-quarter clock, Byron Wesley takes the obligatory peek at the scoreboard and fully understands how much is at stake and what needs to be done in a matter of moments.
His Etiwanda High boys' basketball team trails by a point, and accordingly, the ball is in hands. The pressure is on, no doubt.
Nevertheless, Wesley is calm, cool, collected.
The senior makes his initial move, a one-bounce dribble to the right at the top of the key. A subtle head and shoulders fake follows and freezes his opponent.
Suddenly, Wesley is just inside the free-throw line. An open look appears to present itself, but the rest of the defense is quickly collapsing around him.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, 5, 4, 3, 2...
With ice seemingly in his veins, he elevates and releases a short jumper that slowly floats toward the rim and catches nothing but net as the buzzer sounds.
The shot is a game-winner, of course, and serves as another indication of how talented Wesley has been over the course of his decorated prep career thus far.
“I definitely want the ball in my hands when the game is on the line,'' said Wesley, a USC commit who ESPNU ranks as the Southland's No. 3 prospect.
“I feel like I can get to the basket, and if they double or anything, I'm a good enough passer to get the ball to my teammates. I don't think it's cocky at all. I think it's a certain confidence. You practice these shots all day in the gym when you're working out. If you feel good enough about it, you should want the ball in your hands. That's how I feel anyway.''