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Tyler Betsey Q&A

A native of Connecticut, Tyler Betsey quickly rose up the state rankings as one of the best local products in the class of 2024. However, upon joining the New York Renaissance AAU program, Betsey has now emerged as a prospect to be aware of on a national scale. Standing at 6’8” with a 7’0” wingspan in conjunction with his two-way ability, it’s no secret why he’s a highly sought-after recruit by numerous high major college programs. With his recent transfer to St. Thomas More (CT), Betsey is eager to continue the winning culture of the program in addition to proving to others that he’s a player to be reckoned with.

As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Betsey discusses his basketball journey, how he grew as a player this summer, his decision to transfer to St. Thomas More, his recruitment update, his off-court interests, and much more.

For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Tyler Betsey, from Windsor, Connecticut:

Pro Insight: Talk about your basketball journey — how did you get to where you are today?

Tyler Betsey: I’m from Windsor, Connecticut, it’s a small town. I started playing basketball when I was in fifth grade — that’s when I started taking it seriously and when I started playing with my first team. I wasn’t that good but I started getting good around my freshman year. During COVID-19 I had a big growth spurt and that led to me becoming a better player. And as I got better, that made me want to work harder so I could continue to get better.

PI: Did you play other sports growing up or has basketball always been your main thing?

TB: I played football and it was when you were little, basketball you have to be skilled, but football when you’re little you just run around and tackle people. It’s just fun. As I got older and taller I eventually switched to basketball full time.

PI: Talk about your growth spurt — how tall were you and how much did you grow during COVID-19?

TB: When quarantine started I was around 6’0”- 6’1” tall and a few months in I grew to 6’4”. A few months later I was 6’6” and now I’m 6’8”. Quarantine is when I really changed.

PI: What was that adjustment like?

TB: It was different, I didn’t notice I was getting taller until I went to go workout with one of my cousins. He was way taller than me and then I just kept growing and I noticed I got taller than him during the span we were working out. It was a little bit of an adjustment getting used to my body, but it wasn’t anything crazy. There was a time span where I couldn’t play games because I had super bad knee pains so I’d say that was the biggest adjustment, I had bad growing pains.

PI: Were you a PG prior to the growth spurt?

TB: I’m not going to say I was a PG because I was still taller than most. I was 6’0” tall in 8th grade. That’s not the tallest but there’s not a lot of 6’0” 8th graders, so I wasn’t a PG. I was a two-guard, but right now I’d say I’m like a small forward, but for the next level I want to become a shooting guard. Now I’m not really a shooting guard or small forward, I’m just a wing, so I would say that’s my position.

PI: What are your current measurements?

TB: I’m 6’8”, my wingspan is around 7’0” and I weigh around 195-200 pounds.

PI: Where does your size come from?

TB: My mom is 5’8” and my dad is 6’8”. I have tall parents.

PI: Did your parents or other family members also play sports?

TB: My dad didn’t play and no one in my immediate family plays sports. Most of my [extended] family lives down south and I have a cousin from South Carolina who went to Clemson for football. But nobody else I’m close to is really good at sports or took it seriously.

PI: So you’d be the first collegiate athlete in your family?

TB: Yeah.

PI: Talk about the basketball culture in Connecticut.

TB: I play on the NY Renaissance [AAU] and we have people from New York, Philly, etc. and it’s easy to tell the difference as to why those states are so good at basketball because when you have so many good players that have played against each other since they were younger, you have no choice but to get better if you were playing against them. In Connecticut there’s good basketball, but the overall majority of basketball is not that good. The culture is getting better, my 2024 class is actually a very strong class and we have a lot of people who go out of state to play on EYBL or UA teams. It’s picking up, but it’s nothing like New York or New Jersey where every class is stacked. 2024 is the start of good basketball in Connecticut.

PI: Describe your game — what are some of your greatest strengths?

TB: My biggest strength is shooting the ball and I can also guard a lot of positions. I’d say point guard-through-power forward. If there’s a big post player that’s when it gets tricky, but one-through-four, I’m good. I can shoot the ball, I’m a good teammate and I’m coachable. Those are the main things.

PI: What about some improvement areas?

TB: The biggest thing for me is making plays off the bounce. I have a high major recruitment right now, but once I start making plays off the bounce that’s when I think my game will go to another level.

PI: What are you doing to improve your handle?

TB: I have two major people that I work with to help improve my dribbling skills. One is a basketball player from Connecticut named Mustapha Heron, he was a five star and is from Waterbury. So his dad is who I went to when I was younger to learn all of the fundamentals of basketball. That’s who I work with and he’s the main guy who helps me.

PI: What would you say is an underrated aspect of your game?

TB: My passing. I can actually pass the ball really well but to show that I’ll need to start dribbling the ball to make plays. You can see it in spurts in certain situations.

PI: Are you more unselfish by nature?

TB: Yeah a little bit. I’m getting better at being more aggressive, but I pass a lot. Now I’m shooting better shots, good shots.

PI: Talk about your summer with the Rens — how was it?

TB: Session I [EYBL] was a rough session for me. I didn’t play that well, I didn’t shoot the ball, etc. It was a confidence issue I think. Session I was a bad session. Session II I played well, I got an offer from Iona which helped me build confidence for the rest of the summer. Then the rest of the summer I had a good summer. I started out rough, but finished out super strong.

PI: What clicked during Session II that gave you extra confidence?

TB: My coach literally said to me, “if you don’t shoot the ball, you’re not going to play” so I shot the ball. When my coach said that I had no choice but to shoot the ball. And when I started shooting they started going in and it gave me confidence for the whole summer and that confidence is going to stick with me everywhere I go.

PI: Did you get quite a bit more attention after Peach Jam?

TB: Yeah it’s been crazy, after Peach Jam quite a few new schools hit me up. And after the games I got a lot of interviews from Rivals, 247, etc. so it really picked up.

PI: Is the newfound attention something you always wanted or expected at some point?

TB: I would say it’s kind of like a dream to me. When I started playing basketball in fifth grade I used to watch the famous high school players like Sharife Cooper and it was almost like a fantasy to be a heavy high major recruit, take DI offers, take visits, take pictures at visits, etc. Now that it’s reality it’s still unreal, but it’s becoming more and more of a reality.

PI: Anybody you played against this summer who impressed you or gave you problems?

TB: John Mobley [Vegas Elite]. I’m pretty long and in Section IV I played against Jamari Phillips [Paul George Elite] and I had a really good defensive game on him so after that every time we played a good high level guard I had to guard him the whole game, pick him up 94 feet, make sure he doesn’t touch the ball, etc. So I did that really well the first two games, then we played John Mobley and Vegas Elite the third game and he’s a tough guard because he doesn’t stop moving off the ball and he can shoot from deep so he was a really tough guard for me.

PI: You’re unranked on the major sites — how much does that matter to you?