It seems that every summer one under-the-radar prospect emerges and grabs the attention of college coaches and basketball analysts alike. This year it appears to be Kentan Facey.
The native of Jamaica, who came to the United States a couple of years ago, is 6-foot-8, 190 pounds and has a 7-1 wingspan. In 2011, he enrolled with Upper Room Christian in Long Island before transferring after the season to his new school, Long Island Lutheran. This time one year ago he was playing AAU basketball for the New Heights Program, but wasn't really a factor. He was trying acclimate to the culture. To say he was raw would be an understatement
"When I came to the States I had no idea what to expect," Facey said. "The speed of the game was at another level. It was a huge adjustment. I had a hard time just catching the ball."
Due to his long, lean frame, Facey also struggled with the physicality of the American game.
"Guys would bring the ball right at you and knock you down if they have to," he said. "Everyone is real competitive here."
What a difference a year makes.
Facey has been working hard on improving his body and developing his skills with Long Island Lutheran coach John Buck.
"When he started doing the drill work, he had to think and execute, but he couldn't do it and he was very frustrated," Buck said. "You could see his raw athletic ability and willingness to learn."
Facey is more of a factor on the defensive end of the floor right now thanks to his ability to rebound in traffic, block shots and run the floor to help his team. However, he has worked hard this spring on his jump hook and turnaround jumper as a counter move. His face-up game has also developed to the point where he can now make open jumpers out to 15 feet.
His hard work paid off and he got an invitation to the Amare Stoudemire Nike Skills Academy, where he continued to learn his position under the tutelage of Kevin Eastman and John Lucas. Facey performed well enough to receive an invite to the LeBron James Skill Academy.
"When that happened, Facey felt good about himself," Buck said. "His eyes became wide open, he carried himself with a confidence and a good swagger that we had not seen."
"I started to read about the players I was about to compete against and tried my best to hold my own against the best," Facey said.
His footwork still needs polish, but he is extremely mobile and rapidly improving. Don't be surprised if he makes a splash on the updated ESPN 100 coming in August.
After the LeBron James Academy, Facey flew to Indianapolis for the adidas Invitational, where he emerged as a commodity for many colleges. In September he had three offers -- Drexel, Stony Brook and Marist. As the season went on he added offers from Dayton, Fordham, Hofstra, Providence, Virginia Tech and Xavier. After the adidas Invitational, Buck said "the offers are going through the roof."
Facey now also holds offers from Connecticut, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, St. John's, St. Louis, UCLA and USC. Plus, Georgetown and Kentucky have a lot of interest.
"I am not only working on my skills, but also my strength. I know to be the best is a challenge, but my motivation is to help my [parents and three sisters back in Jamaica] by going to college and trying to be successful," said Facey who hopes to major in civil engineering.
His recent performances and potential got him noticed, but now he must rely on his hard work and sacrifice to take him where he wants to go.