One of the top point guards in the class of 2023, Layden Blocker has boosted his stock this summer which has resulted in the accumulation of high major offers along with attendance from Power Five head coaches at his games. Playing for 16U Brad Beal Elite (TN), Blocker ranked in the top-20 in steals in Nike EYBL AAU circuit. Averaging 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals, he showcased his effectiveness as a playmaker with court vision, craftiness in his handle, and activity on the defensive side.
This fall, Blocker joins a loaded Sunrise Christian Academy (KS) team along with the likes of Kansas commit Gradey Dick, top-15 wing Mark Mitchell, Swedish forward Bobi Klintman, and big man Cameron Corhen among others. Collectively, this group oozes with talent and has a shot at competing for a national title.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Blocker highlighted his family’s basketball background, his eagerness to showcase his versatility as a lead guard, his favorite music artists, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Layden Blocker, from Little Rock, Arkansas:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
Layden Blocker: I go to Little Rock Christian (AR), but I'm transferring from Little Rock Christian to Sunrise Christian (KS). I live in Maumelle, Arkansas. I just turned 16. And I'm 6’2. I like to play 2K.
PI: What modes do you play on 2K?
LB: I like to play MyCareer, like online against other players, but if I'm playing Play Now, I like to use different teams, I like to switch it up. I use the Celtics, the Pelicans, the Mavs and yeah — those are like the top three teams I like to use.
PI: How did you get to where you are today?
LB: Just staying in the gym. I wasn't always good. I remembered like in third grade, I had to play for my dad. He’s my father and you would think that he was gonna put me in the game, but like, he didn’t put me in a game like that cause I wasn't that good. So I just stayed in the gym and eventually I got to where I am today.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
LB: Oh yes, I played tee ball, soccer, football. Then I took a break from football and I played football in eighth grade again, now I'm done with football. So yeah, I played different sports.
PI: What made you fall in love with basketball?
LB: Well, when I was growing up, my father put a basketball in my hands because he used to play basketball. His brothers used to play basketball and his dad used to play basketball. So basketball is just a family tradition. My mom used to play basketball.
PI: How tall are your parents?
LB: My mom is 5’9 and my dad is 6’3.
PI: What are your current measurements?
LB: I'm 6’2, 168 pounds. And last time I checked, I think my wingspan was like 6’4.
PI: For those that aren’t super familiar with your game — what are your greatest strengths?
LB: My strengths are really to push it to transition, get my teammates involved, and score the ball, really.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most?
LB: One thing I'm working on is getting in the mid-range pull-ups, reading ball screens, and different types of finishes.
PI: Who do you model your game after and try to study on film?
LB: My favorite player is Kevin Durant, but I really try to model my game after Ja Morant. He's good at ball screens. He's quick, he's fast. He can shoot it and he pushes in transition and his floater game is elite.
PI: Do you have a training regimen?
LB: So when I get in my gym, we work on like form shooting at first. Then we get into our mid-range one-dribble pull-ups and stuff like that. And then ball screens. And like I said earlier, different types of finishes. So then at the end we do spot up threes, like 20 from each spot around the world and back. So that’s really my main regimen when I go into the gym.
PI: How was Pangos All-American Camp?
LB: Ah, the camp was really fun. I got to play with great competition, like some of the best in each class, like 2023s, 2022s. And I think there were a couple 2024s and you know, it was a great experience. I showed up to the occasion, you know, I played my game and I made Top-30 [Cream of the Crop].
PI: Who did you enjoy playing with on your Pangos team?
LB: I really liked playing with Gradey Dick and this other dude's name is Vincent [Iwuchukwu]. He's like a seven-footer. Those were the two guys I really liked playing with. They're really good players.
PI: What made you choose to attend Sunrise Christian Academy?
LB: Since I'm young, I still have two more years of [high school] basketball left. I really just want to get that elite high school experience so it can prepare me for college. I can get stronger and get better and work on the little things I need to work on.
PI: Is there anyone on the team you are most looking forward to playing with?
LB: I'm not really in touch with the team like that. The only person I really know is Gradey Dick. And I like some of the new people that have come to the team like Mark Mitchell and Dillon Hunter, those two. Yeah, before that, I really didn't know the team much, but I took a visit to Sunrise and I got to watch their practice.
PI: What are your short term goals this fall with Sunrise Christian Academy?
LB: Some of my short term goals are really just to get better, get stronger and really compete and try to win a [GEICO] championship.
PI: How has your experience been with Brad Beal Elite?
LB: We're a really good team. It's a great experience. A lot of coaches have got great connections, so I think it was the right move I made.
PI: What do you feel like you were able to show coaches this summer?
LB: The things that players are not used to doing like my defense, really getting rebounds. Just the little things besides scoring, like passing the ball, setting off-ball screens and stuff for my teammates. I just do the little things to help win games.
PI: What are some things you bring to a team off the court?
LB: Off the court, I'm a really funny guy. I have a great relationship with my teammates and stuff. We always laugh and get along and it's really fun.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
LB: Off the court, I really like to play 2K, I like to hang out with my girlfriend. I like to hang out with my brothers and go to my grandma's house. We have a basketball goal and a swimming pool there. So yeah, those are some things I really like to do off the court.
PI: Who are your favorite artists?
LB: I mean, I really don't have a favorite, but I like Lil Baby. I listen to him a lot. Lil Durk sometimes. I really have a wide collection. I just don't have one person, but I really like music.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
LB: Well, I have three official visits coming up: Ole Miss (September 10-12), Oklahoma (September 24-26), and Auburn (October 8-10). (Note: Blocker also took unofficial visits to Baylor and Arkansas.)
PI: Who have you been hearing from the most lately?
LB: I have been mostly hearing from Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Virginia, and Gonzaga.
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in a school of your choice?
LB: I really want to go to a school that's going to treat me like family, especially if I'm away from home, but also pushes me everyday on and off the court to be the best person I can be.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
LB: I would try to do something in sports management. I also like to work with music and audio.
PI: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?
LB: I really don't watch TV, but I like Marvel. I like to watch Marvel, like adventures and stuff. Those are my favorite movies.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
LB: I think success is just you trying your best. Even if you don’t succeed, you just know that you tried your best. At the end of the day, some people might think you’re doing the right thing or think they try to get in your head and tell you it’s not it, but like you just do what's best for you. And then you later succeed because you chose, like it was you that wanted to do it. It wasn't anybody else's opinion.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
LB: Someone I really look up to is I look up to Kobe Bryant just by the way he carried himself off the court. Another one, I think his name is Eric Thomas, the motivational speaker. I watched some of his videos. He's a very good motivational speaker. And LeBron James. He and Kobe, besides basketball, they showed themselves off the court and they stand up for what’s right and they are just very good people.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
LB: I'm going to say funny and social. I'll say outgoing and quiet, because sometimes I can be social, but sometimes like if I don't know you or, if I don't feel like talking, I could be quiet at times, too.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
LB: At the end of the day, I'm hoping to be remembered as a good person. If I don't make it to the league, I still want to be remembered as a person that somebody can go to, to talk about personal things. I mean just an outgoing personality. I want to be remembered as a good person.