By Frank Burlison, Nothing But Net Magazine Senior Writer

Try as diligently as one might, it’s difficult to think of more than a handful – if that many – players who were more impressive on the most recent spring and summer circuits than Darius Bazley of Princeton (Cincinnati, OH).

Ranked No. 30 in the Class of 2018 by Nothing But Net Magazine, the 6-foot-7 left-handed forward has blasted his way onto the cusp of nationally-known status and put himself into prime position to be a McDonald’s All-American when the team is announced sometime in January.

A “Top 100ish” caliber player as recently as a year ago, and around this time 12 months ago on Aug. 27, Bazley announced he would stay reasonably close to home – Columbus is about 108 miles northeast of Cincinnati – and ultimately sign a national letter of intent with Ohio State.

But eight months later – on April 28 – he rescinded that commitment.

His stock continued to sizzle on the grassroots level after leaving the Under Armour-fronted C2K program. He then teamed with Illinois-based MeanStreets on the Nike/EYBL circuit in time for the league’s third spring session on May 12-14.

The wiry – let’s generously give him 205 pounds – Bazley turned in a weekend’s work with Meanstreets that set up his summer perfectly. He averaged 19.8 points and 10.3 rebounds in four games, including a 27-point, 14-rebound opening effort against the Oakland Soldiers.

That weekend earned him invitations to June’s Pangos All-American Camp in Norwalk (CA) and the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville (VA), where he continued to dazzle on-lookers and punish defenders – and the rim.

Bazley wasted little time is showcasing his game at the Pangos All-American Camp, easily slashing by defenders in the open court and then going over the top of them for layups or either-hand dunks. He was easily one of the 10 best performers and prospects – not always one and the same, mind you – at the camp.

And it was much of the same thing a couple of weeks later at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, when Bazley wrapped up the four days of competition by being selected as one of the 13 players selected to the “All-Camp” team by the John Lucas-led Player Selection/Committee (caveat: I’m a member of it).

Two weeks after making another commitment – this one to Syracuse – Bazley was again cranking out dunks, jump shots and rebounds at a rapid pace, averaging 15.0 points and 13.4 rebounds during the five games MeanStreets played at the Peach Jam in Savanna (SC).

Everyone these days is is into comparisons: “Who does this guy remind you of…”

And here’s the player Bazley reminds me quite a bit of – Walter Berry, who starred on the St. John’s team that played in the 1985 Final Four and was the 1986 John R. Wooden Award winner before being a first-round pick with Portland and playing three seasons in the NBA.

The left-hander Berry was the first player I can recall whose nickname was “The Truth” (yep, even before Paul Pierce snatched that moniker for himself). And for Bazley’s status as a prospect, he fits that mold.