by Shelby Hodges, lead intern
Newly crowned NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry and former Baylor star Isaiah Austin are taking notice of a 16-year-old Dallas prospect.
Last week, Austin and the high school sophomore had what Preston called an intense session, where they focused on improving his mid-range shooting and post game.
“Since we are the same kind of player, he’s versatile like I am, he was just giving me tips on all parts of my game,” Preston said. “And working with Isaiah is always a blessing.”
Austin gave him helpful advice to keep working hard and assured Preston they would practice more together. Next time, the two will look to strengthen Preston’s blocking skills, although with the power forward’s wingspan and quickness, his interior defense has little room for improvement.
The next day, Curry sent Preston a video invitation to his Elite Summer Camp, which he hosts for the top high school prospects in the nation. Preston said the personal message from the MVP, which he shared over Twitter, was an honor and mind-blowing.
At Prime Prep, Preston has quickly emerged as a breakout star. But the 6’9 power forward has attended the academy for only a few months. In January, he made the decision to leave his home state of California and his high school, Redondo Union, to come to Dallas.
“It was very difficult,” Preston said. “I had some people that were depending on me. It was a tough decision, but I looked at it from a career standpoint. It was the best thing for my basketball career, to take me where I want to be. But I’m glad that I did it. It’s taken me to a whole different level with my game and I’m just a whole different player now.”
Preston’s offensive ability and size has piqued the interest of many teams, attracting offers from Kansas, UCLA, Arizona State, Connecticut and many others. He said he is not leaning toward any particular school yet, but he always has wanted to stay close to home. However, the young sensation is still hoping to hear from Duke, Kentucky, UNC and Syracuse before he makes any big decisions.
This summer, Preston will attend the Stephen Curry Select camp, as well as others, where he hopes to stand out among other top-ranked recruits.
“I’m going to go and dominate, and just have everyone feel my presence,” he said. “I want to let everybody know who I am and that I’m here.”
He also will continue to play with the Mo Williams Academy on the Under Armour Circuit, and look to help his team bring home wins. The team has upcoming tournaments in New York and Atlanta, where Preston said he is excited to showcase his progress.
Preston also said he will be working hard to fix some of the weaker areas of his game.
“Definitely my defense,” he said. “I have improved a lot since my freshman year, so if I just keep working at it, it should be perfect by the time I’m a senior.”