By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
BASED on his performance, Lathaniel Bastian felt he made an impression on the scouts at the All-American Junior College Basketball Showcase.
The showcase took place from August 15-16 at the International Sports Arena in Stone Mountain, Georgia where Bastian was among a field of 80 elite basketball players in the west (used to be invited to our Vegas event) and the elite 80 players in the east.
“It went very well. We had some of the best players in JUCO (Junior College) and a lot of people got to watch me perform,” said Bastian, who attends Trinity Valley College in Texas after his transfer from Rend Lake College in Illinois in January.
“Playing against some of the top players in the nation gave me a lot of experience and what to expect when I get ready to play at the JUCO level next season.”
At the showcase, the players were placed in one of the 19 groups of players.
The first day, the showcase opened with about 10 players each, but the number dwindled to about seven on the last day.
“It was better for us who showed up on day two because about every five minutes they had us switching in and out on the court playing,” said Bastian, a six-foot, eight-inch small forward.
From his appearance at the showcase, the 2016 graduate of Doris Johnson High School, where he helped the Mystic Marlins under coach Denycko Bowles win the school’s first championship title, said he was able to see the weakness in his game, which was his jump shot.
“I didn’t jump that much. I just drived the ball in to the rim and tried to be as productive as I could in the paint. I didn’t shoot that much as I usually do, but just being a big body, I know that I will have to improve on that aspect of my game if I want to play at the next level.”
Talking about the next level, Bastian said he has to get prepared for his final season with Trinity Valley College where he feels he will now be under the microscope from those coaches who saw him perform in the showcase.
“I know a lot of the big schools will be watching me, so I just have to produce now,” said Bastian of their season that is expected to get underway in January, depending on the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I will be working on improving my game in every aspect so that I can be ready when I have to decide depending on the offers that I receive. There have been some schools already expressed an interest, but I have to wait and see what happen.”
As far as the virus is concerned, Bastian said they are taking the necessary precautions on campus wearing their face masks, washing their hands and practicing the social distancing.
“We can’t go into other dorms and stuff like that,” he noted.
“Everybody is trying to play it smart and be safe around campus.”
It was the same situation at the showcase where Bastian indicated that they had to have their temperatures checked before they could enter the arena, they had to wear their masks whenever they were not on the court playing and they had to remain at least 3-6 feet apart from each other.
The showcase was designed for the players to play in front of a national audience on ESPN, CBS Sports and Rivals with NBA personnel and numerous other national media and scouting services on hand.
Each player will be evaluated and considered for the 2021 JucoRecruiting.com Top 100 Rankings.
Bastian said he’s grateful to God for providing him with the opportunity to be seen by the scouts and he also expressed his gratitude to his mother, Monique Jennings, who has been with him through his entire ordeal from making the transformation from the Bahamas to the United States.