The Highlight Reel: Sydney's Tyrese Proctor headlines class of 2023

The NBA Global Academy product is a player to watch in the years to come.

2002-born prospects Josh Giddey and Mojave King are already turning heads at the professional level, and the NBA Global Academy’s pipeline suggests there is more to this story. Based within Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Canberra, the academy is home to 2004-born Tyrese Proctor, a rising star in the class of 2023.

Proctor emerged as an intriguing prospect at the 2019 Australian Under-16 Championships, where as a bottom-ager, he averaged a team-high 15.9 points for NSW Metro. The flashy guard was lethal from beyond the arc, where he shot 40% while ranking third in the tournament for three-point makes - an encouraging combination of volume and efficiency.

Even at such a young age, Proctor is already a walking highlight reel.

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Over a recent chat with The Pick and Roll, CoE head coach Adam Caporn describes him as a natural scorer who arrived at the institute with an array of offensive weapons, and worked diligently to expand his range.

“He’s just a scorer. [He’s a] creative offensive player with a knack for getting a basket, but also [has] a great feel for his teammates. All of that side of the ball, he is pretty adept at. But scoring is his thing.

“He’s aggressive from three [point range]. He’s ready to catch and shoot [and] he never turns down threes.”

It comes as little surprise, that Proctor models his game around Philadelphia 76ers icon Allen Iverson. The fleet-footed guard employs crossovers and behind the back moves that are simply impossible to ignore as a viewer. Caporn credited Proctor’s handle as one of his key attributes, but insists the 16 year old has many strings to his bow, which come together to form a versatile offensive game.

“His handle obviously enables him to get to places and score in different ways. In terms of his handle, he is very light on his feet, shifty and can move in all directions. [He] always had that change of speed, change of direction and lightness of foot. It’s part of what facilitates his gift of scoring the ball,” Caporn says.

Proctor’s exploits with NSW Metro earned him an invitation to the NBA Global Academy, where he joined the likes of Giddey and King in late 2019. Joining an internationally renowned training facility meant that Proctor could now announce himself on the world stage.

In early 2020, the basketball prodigy took his talents to Hungary, where the NBA Global Academy entered the Szent Istvan Under-16 Cup. They finished a respectable fifth, and just one spot behind Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid. On an individual level, Proctor was a standout, making the all-tournament team while averaging a team-high 16 points.

COVID-19 robbed the 16 year old of international exposure beyond the Szent Istvan Cup, but that doesn’t mean college recruiters have fallen asleep. As expected, Caporn confirmed that there are “a lot of people already asking” about Proctor, but the attention isn’t going to his head. “He has got a really good mind for focusing on what’s in front of him, which is getting better every day,” Caporn added.

In terms of his future position at the professional level, Proctor projects as a dynamic guard who can play either the 1 or the 2. He is only improving as a catch-and-shoot threat, thanks to a refined three-point shot, but Caporn believes Proctor is best suited to playing on the ball, and described him as a scoring point guard that can make plays for others. Given his mesmerising ball-handling manoeuvres and highlight-worthy passes, it’s no surprise that Proctor excels at running the show as a ball-dominant point guard.

Since making the the move to Canberra, the Sydney native has also made strides on the other side of the ball. When questioned about Proctor’s greatest area of improvement over the past year, Caporn points to his defensive efforts, and credited his improved leadership. The 16 year old might not be done growing, and recently measured in at 194cm (6’4.4’’) tall with a 200cm (6’6.75’’) wingspan. With a frame like that, in addition to his athletic ability, Proctor has the potential to be a disruptive perimeter defender.

“[Number] one, defending the ball, closely followed by his three-point shooting and his ability to lead the team. He has become a really good on-ball defender,” Caporn says.

2021 will be a big year for Proctor, as he inches closer towards a decision regarding his future. While Australia’s top basketball prospects have traditionally followed the collegiate route, the advent of the NBL’s Next Stars program has created a new pathway for prodigious talents.

Regardless of what route he chooses, expect to see more of Proctor on your social media feeds. The skilful guard is not only an intriguing prospect, but also an exciting player to watch. One way or another, he will find his way onto many highlight reels in the years to come.

Giddey and King may hold the spotlight for now, but Proctor is one of the next players in line.

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