Bartley’s Prep Coach Praises Newest Cougar
When BYU announced the signing of basketball recruit Frank Bartley of Future College Prep in Carson, California on Monday, it took Cougar nation by surprise.
Bartley wasn’t on the radar screen of any of the media that typically covers BYU recruiting. The main reason for that is that he just recently ended up on the radar screen of the BYU coaches themselves. As recent as just a couple of months ago.
The Cougar staff was recruiting Bartley’s teammate Warren Sledge, who ended up signing with The Citadel, when they spotted the Baton Rouge, Louisiana product and became enamored with his combination of size and athleticism.
The 6-3, 205-pound Bartley thought he was headed to play in the SEC at Auburn, but that was before BYU decided to throw its hat into the ring at the last moment.
“Everyone thought he was going to Auburn, but Frank continued to take his visits and that’s when BYU came in and really liked him,” says Future College Prep head coach Les Bean.
No one knows Bartley’s abilities better than Bean, who has played a key role in Frank’s development as a Division-1 basketball prospect over the past year at FCP. Bartley helped to lead Bean’s program to a record of 52-13 this past season, setting a national prep record for wins in a season in the process.
“He’s very explosive, very athletic. A very, very good player both offensively and defensively,” says Bean. “He can shoot it, he can create, he’s very powerful off the bounce and a hawk on defense. He possesses the whole, entire package.
“Frank is a big, giant guard. With his skill set and his ability to play both guard spots–the point guard and off the ball–he’s a complete mismatch because of his size, strength and athleticism. He’s just so physical, so strong and so athletic, he puts a lot of defenders at a disadvantage.
“He was a football player in high school, so that tells you how physical he is and how mature his body is. He plays with so much poise and power that you forget that he’s one of the best athletes in the country at his position. He’s extremely athletic, he’s a high-major athlete so he has the ability to really make an immediate impact (at the next level).”
In addition to his strength and athleticism on offense, his play on the defensive end of the court is what could help him earn time on the floor at BYU as a true freshman.
“He led our team in blocked shots and he led our team in steals, so he’s pretty much a stat-stuffer. For us, it was a bonus that a guard blocked so many shots.”
Bean says that Bartley came to him from small, 1-A Christian Life Academy in Baton Rouge where he was known for his exploits on the gridiron, but somewhat overlooked as a player on the hardwood.
“One of my really good friends told me about this kid from down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who was a very good player. He was a very strong football player at Christian Life, but his dream was to play basketball. He was a little under-recruited because he was a football player, so Frank wanted to spend a year developing his (basketball) skills.
“He could have played college football. I just think the circumstances and timing of everything, that it just hit him that basketball was his calling to try to get a Division-1 scholarship.”
Bean’s program at Future College Prep has been in existence for just two years, but Bean himself has the reputation for developing players for the next level and sports one of the best winning percentages among prep or high school coaches in the state of California.
In addition to Bartley and Sledge, the coach has three other players from last year’s team who have signed to play college ball–at Long Beach State, New Mexico State and Sam Houston.
“What we do is take kids that were under-recruited or need another year to physically or mentally develop, whether it be academically or basketball-wise. They just need that extra year of maturity to kind of put themselves on the national scene. We care for each kid individually and we help them clear the NCAA and get them the right help that they need to become eligible.
“In Frank’s case, he just needed one class to get on that upper-echelon with the higher, major schools. But he also just needed to be on the national scene for basketball, to display his basketball talents to the world–and this year he carried us to 52 wins and we set a national record. He led the way with 20 points per game, and his maturity and leadership was just awesome.”
Bartley and his teammates played 65 games last season, essentially averaging a game every other day. That’s a whole lot of college prep crammed into one season.
“Prep ball is completely different from high school, because its more like college,” Bean explains.
“We played the upper-echelon prep school teams and we don’t play that many high school teams. We travel all across the country and prepare the kids for a collegiate schedule, so when they go into Division-1 the schedule doesn’t bother them. We pretty much simulate the college basketball atmosphere, with the practices and the schedule and the day-to-day routine, so the transition from us to college is a smoother transition.”
When Bartley arrived in Carson, it was evident to Bean that he had all the raw ability to make an impact at the Division-1 level, but that he needed to further develop some key skills. Particularly the skills that would allow him to play some point guard at the next level.
“Our main concentration for him was building his ability to be comfortable playing both guard spots and his ability to knock down open shots. We really concentrated on his shooting, and we concentrated on his ability as a facilitator–just honing in on being a complete player, because he was always a fabulous and phenomenal scorer.”
In addition to Frank’s ability on the court, Bean also says that his strong character makes him a good fit for a school like BYU.
“Every coach would benefit from having a player like Frank because of his leadership and his poise and what he brings to the table in every practice and game. He just has a maturity and a work ethic about himself that just rubs off on the entire team. Frank’s a humble, quiet kid that just works hard and deserves a chance on the big stage.”
Here are highlights of Bartley in action at Future College Prep: