Updated: Jun 11
With such a limited amount of opportunities for exposure in 2020, few have been able to dramatically boost their stock like AJ Storr has done as of late. A native of Rockford, Illinois, Storr grew up in an athletic family and seemed primed to break out at some point during his early career. After a transition out west to Bishop Gorman and more recently AZ Compass Prep, Storr has quickly made a name for himself as one of the rising perimeter prospects in the 2022 class.
After a stellar performance during the Border League on national television, Storr turned some heads and consequently, his recruitment really began to heat up. Measuring at 6’6” and weighing in at 200 pounds, Storr has all the physical tools to hold his own as he transitions up levels. Storr also brings excellent vertical pop, open court speed, and burst to a roster from an athletic standpoint. With a smooth shooting stroke and versatility on the defensive end, Storr has the upside to plug and play for any program as a 3+D guard/wing. Look for the offers to continue rolling in as he gains more exposure over the coming months.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Storr discusses his move across the country, his recruitment, his motives, various off-court interests, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect AJ Storr, from Rockford, Illinois:
Pro Insight: Tell us a bit about your background.
AJ Storr: I’m from Rockford, Illinois. It’s a little bit outside of Chicago, but it’s not a suburb so don’t think of it as a suburb. My mom played basketball in college and she also played semi-pro; my sister played basketball in college, too. She just came from a D-1 school — she transferred out, but she’s about to go back to a D-1. She’s working on her associate’s degree and stuff like that. I’m from the west side of Rockford, Illinois, and I started playing basketball when I was six years old and I just fell in love with the game since then.
PI: Any other siblings?
AS: Yeah, I actually have four brothers on my dad’s side and a sister on my mom’s side.
PI: Any of them play sports, as well?
AS: They’re all younger than me, but yeah my little brother started playing basketball about two years ago, he’s eight years old right now. My other brother he’s more into football, he doesn’t like basketball like that.
PI: Did you play football growing up?
AS: Yeah, I definitely played football growing up. I actually used to like football more than basketball when I was in elementary school, but then I started growing and started liking basketball more.
PI: When did you start focusing more on basketball?
AS: I would say 8th grade — going into my freshman year I started focusing on basketball more.
PI: Why’d you shift more toward basketball?
AS: I liked them both [football & basketball], but I liked basketball more. I got inspired when I started watching LeBron more. Even though I’ve been a fan of basketball since I was like five years old, around 8th grade is when I got inspired to go to the NBA.
PI: How did your approach to the game change when you made that shift?
AS: When I was playing both basketball and football I wasn’t in the gym nearly as much as I was when I just started focusing on basketball. Once I started focusing on basketball I was in the gym more...you have to start working on different stuff with your body between basketball and football, so I was just running the treadmill a lot, getting my miles up, getting shots up, and was in the gym way more.
PI: What positions did you play in football?
AS: I played QB, RB, DE, and CB. Yeah, lotta positions.
PI: If you stuck with football, what position would you have tried to play in college?
AS: QB — that was definitely my position.
PI: Describe your game — what are your biggest strengths on the court?
AS: For those who haven’t seen me play, I’m a great catch-and-shoot shooter. I like slashing to the rim and dunking on people. My ball-handling can get better, but I’m improving on it every day. I just like dunking and I like winning. I’m a winner. I’m that type of guy.
PI: How about some things that could use improvement?
AS: For the next level, definitely getting more in shape, tightening my ball-handling, and keeping my body fit for the next level. I think that will be the biggest thing.
PI: What about some underrated aspects of your game?
AS: My catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. I hardly miss when I catch it off the swing. And of course my bounce, I think my bounce is up there, too.
PI: What do you need to continue improving on as a shooter?
AS: As a shooter, mainly shooting off the dribble — even though I can do it, you can be great at anything, so I keep working on it.
PI: What are your exact measurements right now?
AS: Without shoes I’m 6’5” but with shoes I’m 6’6”. I weigh exactly 198 pounds. I haven’t gotten my wingspan tested for a while, but the last time was around my freshman year and I had a around a 6’8” wingspan.
PI: You recently re-classified, right?
AS: I re-classified a couple months ago and what went into that decision was I was a 16 year old senior...I just turned 17 years old a couple months ago and I felt like I needed more time to work on my skills.
PI: How do you feel about that decision so far?
AS: I mean, it’s definitely been paying off. Once I re-classed I felt like I got more looks than when I was in the other grade, so yeah it’s been paying off good.
PI: Why do you wear #11? Is there a story behind it?
AS: At 11 years old is when I really started watching the game of basketball, so I would say that’s when I fell in love with it. And #22 [current AZ Compass Prep number], was one of the only numbers left so I just picked it.
PI: Who’s the toughest player you’ve ever had to guard?
AS: Toughest player I’ve had to guard is definitely Emoni Bates. I played him the summer of 8th grade.
PI: What made him tough?
AS: He was like 6’7” in 8th grade, he was bigger than everybody, he could handle the ball good, and was shooting over everybody because we were all shorter than him.
PI: How well did you do guarding him?
AS: I did decent. I mean they still blew us out, but I ended up having like 20 points against them. He scored on me at least twice, I’ll admit that. We ended up going zone because nobody could guard him one-on-one, really...but I guarded him pretty decent during the times I guarded him.
PI: How would you rank the top-five wings nationally in the class of 2022?
AS: I’m just going to name everybody from my team, so: Mekhi Mason, he’s not a wing, but he’s a top [player]. Nate Pickens. I’m going to say everybody on my team in my grade. That’s how I feel, they’re the top players in the country.
PI: What are your short and long term goals as a basketball player?
AS: Long term goal is definitely the NBA. Right now I’m focused on getting better every day. Focusing on going to GEICO [Nationals] with my team and trying to win it. So yeah, those are some of my short term goals.
PI: Let’s talk a little bit about your journey from Chicago out to Vegas and now Arizona.
AS: What led to the decision is I wanted to get more exposure because I wasn’t getting that much in the midwest. I was really the same player if you asked me, but I wasn’t getting looked at as much. I got a chance to go to Bishop Gorman and I took it and ran with it and it’s turned out good for me. I’d say I blew up in the Border League — that’s when I got all of my offers and stuff. I’m glad I decided to move out here.
PI: Why Bishop Gorman? How did that opportunity come about?
AS: My dad actually lives in Las Vegas, so I moved out here with my dad and in my opinion Bishop Gorman is the best high school in Nevada so I wanted to play for the best and get pushed by the best so I came to Bishop Gorman.
PI: What was your experience like with Bishop Gorman?
AS: It was a great experience. Like I said, that’s where I got most of my offers from. The players and coaching staff were great. I definitely got better going there. I definitely improved my game coming from the midwest. I definitely see a change in my game — physically their weight room is like a college weight room — the campus is great, too. Their academics are great also, so it was a great decision for me and it definitely bettered my future.
PI: What has your experience been like with AZ Compass Prep? Why did you join them?
AS: I opted to join them because they have a lot of great players and I feel like I can get better every day. Surrounding yourself with great players is a great thing. Their coaching staff is great, too, they put a lot of focus on defense and that’s what I love and I feel like that’s an area where I can improve too. So definitely a great program.
PI: You showed out on national television (ESPN) during the Arizona Border League. Can you talk us through how that felt?
AS: During the game, obviously I wasn’t thinking about none of that or all of the offers after [blowing up]. But, after the game in the locker room a lot of the players were telling me, “you’re going to blow up, you’re going to blow up” and even the coaches were like, “be prepared to answer your phone.” I think it was the day after when I started getting all of those calls and I just sat down and prayed and thanked God for where he brought me from and the opportunities he gave me.
PI: Is getting this much attention surreal or is it something you expected at some point?
AS: To be honest I definitely didn’t know I was going to get all of these D-1 offers, but I knew at a point I was going to turn the corner and get better and stuff if I put myself on the map and surround myself with better players.
PI: How is the game different out west vs. back home in Illinois?
AS: I would say, you know I’m always going to ride with my state so I would say we have the best hoopers in the midwest, but I would say it’s more competitive out here. More ranked players are out west. So it’s definitely more competitive and there are a lot of skilled players out here.
PI: Is the brand of basketball different?
AS: I would say it’s more physical in the midwest, but probably more athletic out here.
PI: What is the current update with your recruitment?
AS: My last offer was from Murray State, they’re a great program and I’m grateful to have an offer from them. I’ve got offers from Illinois, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Howard, Ohio, Austin Peay, and Chicago State. Interest from Tulsa, Seton Hall, Cincinnati — schools like that.
PI: Did you have a dream school growing up?
AS: It was Michigan State growing up. I would love to play for Tom Izzo, he’s a great coach.
PI: Which programs seem to be prioritizing you the most?
AS: I would say Ole Miss, of course Illinois. I would say those are the main two, Illinois and Ole Miss.
PI: What’s been the most unique recruiting pitch you’ve heard so far?
AS: It’s probably Illinois. I would say them because I pretty much talk to them every day. They text me every day, ask me how my day is going. I really like Illinois. The coaching staff is great and I feel like if I go there I’m going to get some decent minutes right away...so I feel like that plays a big part.
PI: What are you looking for in a school of choice?
AS: A school that fits me academically and athletically as well as a coaching staff that I can talk to like my family. Of course I want to win, but I want to get playing time coming in as well.
PI: What type of system best fits your playing style?
AS: Definitely a high-tempo style of basketball. A team that likes to run the break a lot, a lot of four-out, one-in — I’d say I like that a lot.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
AS: I would say I’m a good person to get along with. I’m a down to earth person, easy to get along with. I would say I’m a good person.
PI: Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert?
AS: I would say more introverted.
PI: What’s your ideal Friday night look like?
AS: Friday night, try to get in the gym of course. Go to the gym, get in some work and probably go home and hop on Fortnite or 2K and play with my friends. That’s really it.
PI: Are you pretty good at Fortnite?
AS: Yeah I’m definitely one of the top guys in high school. I’m probably the best high school player playing Fortnite in the country [laughs].
PI: Who else on your team is good?
AS: Glenn Taylor is pretty good — he can’t really build, but he hits his shots, he knows how to aim [laughs].
PI: How do you see your role at the next level?
AS: My role at the next level, I want to go in and get better every day and help the team win. My role is to do whatever the coach needs me to do.
PI: Do you model your game after anyone?
AS: No I don’t model my game after anybody, but of course LeBron James is the greatest player to touch a basketball in my opinion.
PI: In your opinion, why is LeBron the greatest player ever?
AS: The way he makes his team better, how he gets his teammates involved, and he can affect the game in so many ways without scoring the basketball. That’s why I would say he’s the greatest player of all time.
PI: What are some things you try to take from him and implement into your game?
AS: Definitely doing the chase down blocks and never giving up on a play on the fast break. And of course his signature dunk, the tomahawk.
PI: Have you had your vertical tested?