Among the many standouts at the Jordan Brand Classic practice was 5-star small forward Billy Preston. Preston, a Los Angeles native, transferred to Oak Hill Academy for his senior campaign to play under legend Steve Smith and co. Oak Hill made the trip to the Dick’s National Tournament as a five seed, but was an early out after falling to Findlay Prep (NV) in the first round.
Preston is an extremely long and athletic wing. At 6’10”, Preston has a variety of excellent tools in his arsenal. His slashing ability is beyond phenomenal; Preston can get to the rim with any defender in front of him. However, Preston flashed a mid-range game at practice as well. In post drills, Preston was able to step out and knock down a shot from a foot in front of the arc while being defended by the nation’s top big men. His range on his jumpshot is certainly overlooked and extends as far as 20 feet. Additionally, Preston’s ability to finish through contact is tremendous as well. Seemingly no one is capable of consistently stopping such an athletic specimen.
What is yet to be mentioned is Preston’s ceiling – if there even is one. Preston’s combination of size, length, athleticism, as well as his abilities in transition, the mid-range, and down low is inconceivable. There’s very little he can’t do on the hardwood.
Preston was once a top-5 prospect on the 247Sports Composite, but has since dropped down to No. 16. There is minuscule doubt that Preston has dropped perhaps too far after struggling in the 2017 calendar year. While one performance cannot be judged, Preston is most definitely capable of being ranked within the top 10 seniors nationally.
Preston is headed to Kansas next season to play under Hall of Fame coach Bill Self. Pending his production at the collegiate level, he very well could be a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, if he elects to be a one-and-done.
Considering what Bill Self has done to small forwards in the past, including Andrew Wiggins, Paul Pierce, Kelly Ombre and Ben McLemore, Preston has a road to success paved out. Look for him to fill the shoes of NBA Draft declaration Josh Jackson next season, and potentially playing at a higher level than Jackson did in the first half of the season.
Preston’s final national showcase is the Jordan Brand Classic at 8:00PM/EST on ESPN2 tonight. Preston heads cross-country to Brooklyn to play in the Barclays Center in front of dozens of NBA scouts.