The hype surrounding sophomore point guard Tyrese Maxey is billowing with each game he plays, and as the school season draws nearer, the attention surrounding the young phenom will only grow larger.
The No. 2-ranked player in the class of 2019 has already received scholarship offers from Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. In the past couple of months, he’s gone on unofficial visits to Texas A&M and Texas, the latter of which he identified as one of his two dream schools (the other being Kentucky).
“I used to always watch Texas and wear Texas gear,” Maxey said. “I’ve been in touch with Coach Shaka and Coach Cason.”
Although he’s been contacted by the Texas coaching staff, Maxey said he hasn’t heard anything from John Calipari’s group.
“Kentucky, that’s big time,” he said. “They’re worried about offering some of the older guys, I think.”
Being a big-time player himself, Maxey is on pace to draw the attention of some of basketball’s blue blood programs. Right now, however, he is focused on improving a variety of aspects of his game as he continues to progress through his high school career.
“I’m trying to work on my pace, as far as slowing the game down and letting the game come to me,” he said. “I want to work on my mid-range game. My dad always tells me, ‘You always want to get to the hole or shoot a three. You have to work on your in-between game, off the glass mid-range shots, and floaters.'”
Maxey’s father, Tyrone, was a state champion in high school who went on to play at the Division I level for the Washington State Cougars.
Maxey said his dad is his biggest motivator.
“He inspires me to be better every single day,” he said. “He works me out and gives me tips on how to better my game.”
The two used to play each other in 1-on-1, and every game except one was won by Maxey’s father.
“He beat me every single time,” Maxey said. “But recently I finally won, and ever since then, he hasn’t played me again.”
Along with conveying proper basketball techniques, Tyrone also stresses the importance of intangible components of Maxey’s game, including the value of leadership. Despite his age, Maxey is looked upon as a role model to older teammates.
Last year, Maxey and his talented teammate and friend Chris Harris were freshmen at South Garland when their coach informed them of their new roles.
“Our coach told us early,” Maxey said, “he was like, ‘I know y’all are young, y’all are only 14 and y’all have 18-year olds out here with y’all, but they’re not leaders. That’s not what they do. That’s what y’all do. That’s what we need y’all to do on this team.’ I think we both have grown as leaders. This year we have the kids coming up from JV. I think we are very inspirational to them. We make them work harder.”
Prior to the genesis of his high school career, Maxey was balling at Coyle Middle School, the place where he first discovered he was on a different level than his competition.
“Seventh grade, I knew I was pretty good,” he said. “Me, Chris Harris, and De’Vion Harmon. And De’Vion got hurt. And I felt like we had to do more. When the game started, I just started elevating. I just started getting bigger. I started doing more. I was like, ‘OK, now I’m where I’m supposed to be.’ And I just grew from there.”
As a coveted basketball prospect, most of Maxey’s time is spent working on his game. Outside of that, he said he focuses on school and, like many kids his age, another form of basketball.
“I play NBA 2K and I do my homework,” he said. “That’s pretty much it. When I get home after school, I work out, do explosive training, and I get home and I do my homework. And if it’s not time to go to sleep, then I may get a couple games of 2k in with my friends. They keep me humble.”
Maxey is among the elite in an abundantly talented 2019 class. A driven competitor, the 6’3 point guard is battling with the likes of Charles Bassey, Grant Sherfield, Chris Harris, Jalen Jackson and others for the No. 1 spot in the state.
“I think I rank pretty high,” he said. “I want to be the best in the class of 2019. Not just in Texas, but in the nation. I feel like I have a lot of work to do. When Rivals came out I was ranked like No. 37 and I was disappointed – I felt like I had a good summer. It’s just motivation. I use it as motivation. This upcoming season I feel like I have a lot to prove.”