Friday, June 9, 2017

Several Programs Working The Hardest For Dort

Built on factors such as strength, speed, body control, and fearlessness, Luguentz Dort’s thorough surges to the rim can be likened to a Range Rover bulling its way into traffic.

A 6-foot-4, 200-pound running back of a man, Dort’s build and furious, hyper-athletic finishes render the Canadian combo guard a prized recruit. He is surely among the players to watch in this weekend’s Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy.

Dort’s recruitment began with Louisville, Florida, Oregon, Baylor, Missouri, and Oklahoma as the veritable front-runners. Since registering his presence as program-changing guard laced with elite athleticism and prolific scoring, a plethora of new programs have expressed considerable intrigue.

 UNLV, Indiana, N.C. State, Pitt, St. John’s, Texas Tech, and UConn have plunked down a scholarship offer for the hard-driving guard. A train masquerading as a man at this level, the Class of 2018 Dort is keeping the door open to a number of viable options.

Oregon, Arizona State, Baylor, Michigan State, Indiana, Florida, Illinois, and UConn are really working hard,” said Nelson Osse, Dort’s longtime AAU coach with Brookwood Elite.

“Lu is enjoying the process and he feels privileged to be in this position.”

Dort came onto the high-major scene as a little-known guard at Arlington Country Day School (Jacksonville, FL) as a sophomore.

After growing up in Canada and playing soccer first, Dort wanted to maximize his opportunity to gain a basketball scholarship. Heading to the United States and Florida's SIAA conference was the best path for him.

Under then-coach Shaun Wiseman at ACD, Dort had a tremendous green light. Penetrating the teeth of defenses and scoring at will, he soon became the focal point of the quick-paced team's offense.

This was until the fateful night of January 21, 2016. Immersed in a lively, heated one-on-one battle with his cousin, then-West Oaks guard Richardson Maitre, Dort piled up points as ACD eyeballed an upset over the reigning state champions.

The plot thickened when Dort landed hard on a contested layup, suffering a broken wrist. He would end up losing several weeks on the season.

The injury enabled Dort to come back hungrier, with a desire to make up for some lost time. Stoked with confidence and embracing the contact when attacking, Dort upped his stock during the Charlotte Hoops Challenge during thanksgiving of 2016.

Dort scored 23 points, grabbed six boards, and had five steals Conrad Academy's victory over Bishop Sullivan (VA). It was a performance emblematic of the presence Dort brings on both sides of the court.

Playing alongside Austin Wiley (now at Auburn)—who finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds—Dort’s effort helped Conrad run away with a tight game in the second half. Guard Rasir Bolton, who was exceptional, gave an accurate account of his scoring abilities with 36 points.

Quiet and workmanlike, Dort upped his Division-I portfolio a few notches during the summer of 2016. Dort opened up an outside shot--a layer of his game that had yet to be seen. In connecting on 16-of-23 from beyond the arc in Las Vegas, Dort muted those critics who pegged his shot as a "work-in-progress".

 While arriving at Conrad Academy in Orlando in the fall of 2016, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and then-assistant Mike Balado arrived to see him play the first week.

During an open gym in Orlando, Dort pocketed three-pointers with a noted quicker release. He showcased unparalleled bounce. He operated offense and played off the ball. Dort also fended off amped up pressure all over the court, slicing to the rim.

During the span of about 45 minutes that Dort was on the court with the first team, he proved his worth. The bullish guard was an overwhelming assignment for anyone tasked with the chore of staying in front of him.

Immediately following a sublime showing, Louisville offered Dort right there on the spot. A few weeks later, Florida head coach Mike White and assistant Dusty May came in to see a practice. Dort walked away with another scholarship offer.

Averaging 23.5 points in the prestigious Grind Session, skyrocketed Dort's stock. Coaches from UNLV and Oregon were in Jacksonville, Fla., to see Dort score 33 points (while displaying a dependable, quicker release 3-point shot) against his former school, Arlington Country Day.

 Dort's 24 points willed Conrad a tight 49-47 win over his Canadian countrymen of Tech Academy during a stacked Grind Session event in Kentucky.

On multiple possessions, Tech Academy’s 6-foot-11 Center Matur Makar tried to bait Dort into a war of words.

 Dort ultimately came up with the final remark on the court. After he knifed his way to the rim, Dort got free for a left-handed layup. It was the go-ahead bucket and game-winner of this heated battle.

Against 22 Feet Academy (S.C.) Dort bulldozed his way to a game-best 36 points in a win. That 22 Feet team featured Mamadou Diarra, the Cincinnati-bound 6-foot-8 forward. At the time, Diarra was committed to Washington.

And so Huskies coaches were in attendance to see Diarra and only Diarra as originally planned. Dort’s thorough buckets onslaught caught the eye of their coaching staff, most notably then-assistant Raphael Chillious.

Now under Kevin Ollie at UConn, Chillious has offered Dort. The Huskies, now in active pursuit of Dort, will likely setup a visit to the Storrs, Conn. campus this fall. Following Dort's aforementioned outburst in the 22 Feet Academy game, the prospect met personally with Baylor head coach Scott Drew in Orlando.

Dort, who is currently at Calusa Prep in Miami, remains undecided. There is no timetable on his decision. 

Dort is another classic case of a sleeper recruit whose stock skyrocketed this spring. When he was left out of the ESPN Top 60 rankings in the winter, many in Dort's corner saw it as a severe disservice to his talent. 

The calm and mild-mannered guard invested little attention to it.
Through his demeanor, it is clear rankings and individual accolades are meaningless in his eyes.

 A gym rat who thrives on the bigger stages, Dort scored 29 points against Prolific Prep during a Grind Session tournament in the Bahamas.

As a sophomore, Dort turned in a 33-point performance against (projected first round draft pick) Josh Jackson and Prolific Prep. The two went at each other throughout, exchanging loud dunks during one wild sequence.

“I asked Lu after the game, 'did you know you just played the No.3 player in the nation in 2016?'" Osse recalled.

"He didn’t know. Lu is not a groupie type. He just goes out and plays.”