Trevon Bluiett is a skilled swingman who boasts a diverse offensive game. He played for UCLA assistant Ed Schilling when the coach worked at Indianapolis’ Park Tudor School, and won the state championship game MVP as both a freshman and a sophomore. That feat becomes even more notable once you consider that he played with Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell during that first title run.
The 6-foot-5 forward has great shooting range, but his release — while quick — is a little low and could get blocked more often at the next level. Playing on loan with Indiana Elite for the rest of the summer, he started his week strong in Thursday’s Battle at the Beach (Redondo Union HS), pouring in early points just an hour or so after getting off a delayed flight. Also impressive was his passing; even playing with a new team, he made plays easily, whether with a bounce pass to feed a fast break or swinging the ball out from the post to an open man.
What could hold Bluiett back as a prospect is his lack of athleticism. Though he has the ballhandling skills to take the ball upcourt, he isn’t very fast and doesn’t have much bounce. On one fast break, he missed a wide open dunk. Some of Bluiett’s struggles could be due to his playing on knee contusions, which he chose not to mention when asked about fatigue. He’s a good rebounder — flirting with a triple double on Saturday — but cleans the boards by positioning himself well rather than out-leaping opponents.
His father Rey coaches him on the Spiece Indy Heat team, and said a few of the more fervent suitors right now are Indiana, Xavier, UCLA, Notre Dame, Butler and Michigan. Bluiett plans to commit before the November signing period.
Q: How does it feel to play in front of Ed Schilling here in L.A.?
It’s a good feeling. Coach Schilling, my old high school coach coming to watch me play, I feel comfortable playing in front of him. It makes me feel comfortable when he’s still supporting me all over the country. [Schilling watched most of Bluiett’s games in Los Angeles this weekend. Four, if I’m not mistaken.]
Q: Is he a major reason that UCLA’s on your list?
Yeah, definitely. He’s been my mentor since the sixth grade. Me and him are very close, and that’s a big plus for UCLA. He gives it that extra plus, but when you look at UCLA and the championships and how their roster’s set up and how Alford plays, you can’t beat that. Even if Coach Schilling wasn’t there, I’d still go for it.
Q: Do you have a list of favorites right now?
No, I still have 24 offers. Me and my dad talked about narrowing it down right after July, about five schools, ten schools. I just want to commit before November, before that first signing period. So when that comes around, I’ll be ready to roll.
Q: What factors are you looking at in choosing your school?
Just how I feel about the coaches, how the coaches interact with the players. How good the academics are. If they have what I want to major in (business), that type of stuff. There are a lot of things at play here.
Q: Will distance matter?
You know, I prefer playing close (to home), but if the best situation is for me to play in Cali or New York, I’d be willing to do it. [His father, Rey, spoke positively about Ed Schilling and UCLA’s new coaching staff: “That changed everything as far as distance.”]
Q: What was your reaction when Brad Stevens left Butler for the NBA?
I was happy for him. I always knew he was a good coach. When he left, that was a big plus for them (Celtics). New coach Brandon Miller came in — I actually have a better relationship than I did with Stevens. I’ve known him since eighth grade when he was at Ohio State and then recruiting me when he was at Illinois. So that’s a plus for them.