From nationally unknown to a first round prospect, meet Montverde product Harlond Beverly. The 6’5” guard quickly burst onto the scene during his lone season with the Golden Eagles. Beverly has been skyrocketing up the rankings, but it wasn’t always that way. For aspiring prospects, the summer leading up to their senior year of high school is a big one. We saw Collin Sexton go from being unranked, to a McDonald’s All American and a member of USA Basketball before getting picked in the top ten of the NBA Draft. The list of late bloomers goes on, but Beverly’s case is still different than most. Sexton, along with the majority, used the sneaker circuit as a platform to show they could go toe-to-toe with the best in the country. Beverly spent his final summer playing for the R.E.A.C.H Legends, his hometown AAU team that isn’t featured on any circuit. However, Beverly was still able to catch the eye of legendary coach, Kevin Boyle. The rest is history, as he made the move to Montverde for his final year of high school ball. The Golden Eagles play a national schedule, with games in Washington DC, Honolulu and everywhere in between. Due to their historic track record of NBA players, Montverde is must see TV for evaluators. When they came to DeMatha for the National Hoopfest, I was excited to see five-star prospects Cade Cunningham and Precious Achiuwa. Then, I stumbled upon Harlond Beverly. It was my first time seeing him play, and Beverly played a perfect game, literally. He was 9/9 from the field and poured in 20 points, leading the Eagles over local powerhouse Paul VI in a very hostile environment. From that point on, I was a fan. Beverly kept the strong performances coming, and his stock rose with it. By the end of the season, he checked in at #54 in the 247composite rankings. Obviously Beverly’s senior campaign was very successful, but I think he’s just getting started.

In today’s NBA, specialists come at a premium. Defending multiple positions and shooting the three ball are two of the most useful skills a prospect can have. The label “3&D” gets thrown around a lot when evaluating prospects. I ranted on twitter a few weeks ago about deciphering the difference between legit 3&D potential, and a very good defender with no offensive arsenal. While it’s true that shooting indicators matter more than percentages at this stage, the likelihood of a prospect making that jump to the point where shooting is one of their two selling points, is extremely rare. None of that applies to Harlond Beverly. I’m going to tell you why I’m very optimistic about his two-way potential, and why his stock can’t rise fast enough:

Shooting
One of the most crucial aspects of Beverly’s long term projection is his catch and shoot ability. While I would’ve liked to have seen some more shot diversity, his routine footwork/shot preparation and consistent results leave me very optimistic about his skill from deep. Beverly often benefited from the gravity his teammates drew, Cunningham in particular, and was given open threes on a platter. However, it wasn’t always that simple. One of the things I picked up on with Beverly is his off ball awareness. On the surface it might look like a wide open catch and shoot three, but they were often created by simple and effective movements by Beverly. Whether it was sprinting his lane in transition, rising up the wing or fading to the corner to create a better passing lane, he always found his spot. While all of that is very impressive, getting to the open spot is only ⅓ of the battle. I love Beverly’s attentiveness and shot prep, and it’s a huge part of why he’s such a consistent shooter.

His hands are always ready, and his textbook “weak foot plant” is the same each time and results in Beverly getting straight up and straight down while staying balanced. Once he catches it, his release is pure. He gets a decent amount of elevation, but nothing over the top. Beverly is a very confident shooter, and you can tell by his follow through. He doesn’t get bothered by defenders getting in his airspace or even getting a hand near his release, while they were all catch and shoot shots, the Miami signee drained multiple contested threes in the four games I was able to watch. His high school shooting percentages aren’t very reliable, (8/22 from three on the season) as it has him going 0/0 from deep in a game where he made three. But given everything I just said, I think it’s safe to say Beverly’s three point percentage will be in the high 30s next year, and maybe higher if he’s given the right looks.

Playmaking
This is the trickiest facet of Beverly’s game to evaluate.

He’s shown some really impressive flashes, highlighted by high IQ drop-offs and live dribble skips. However, passing is not a consistent staple in Beverly’s game. His role was almost entirely off ball, so it isn’t very surprising that he didn’t have the highest assist numbers. But, if Beverly wants to maximize his offensive potential, he has to become a reliable playmaker. Projecting forward, I think Beverly will be put into a larger role at Miami, where he will be able to attack more and learn how to leverage his gravity. While I thought he was the team’s second best player in most of the games I watched, opponents clearly prioritized Cunningham, Achiuwa and sometimes Moody over him. This gave Beverly a ton of easy looks and rarely put him in a position to facilitate, as defenses were reluctant to help off his Montverde teammates. But, my biggest concern with his playmaking potential is his comfort off the bounce. In spurts, Beverly would take over the lead guard spot. I don’t want to get into it too much here, but I would’ve liked Beverly to look more comfortable handling the ball against pressure. Yes, he is capable of making great reads, but if he isn’t confident handling the ball in tight spaces, it’s going to be hard for him to facilitate. Considering I think Beverly’s future is probably as a 3&D guard, this might be asking a lot. But, he has a unique combination of skills, instincts and athleticism, and this would be a huge step in his development.

Defense
This is where Harlond Beverly is going to make his money. Listed at 6’5” with textbook technique, he is comfortably able to guard 1-3. He excels in so many different ways on the defensive end. First, Beverly is a wicked on ball defender. He rarely gets blown-by and as I mentioned above, his technique is perfect.

Beverly is very good at mirroring his man, he has elite lateral quickness and can change directions in a split second. One of the biggest misconceptions when teaching on ball defense is that you are taught to always slide, however that isn’t always functional on the court, especially when the ball handler is getting downhill. The “cross-over run” is advanced but very effective when guarding a quick ball handler, and Beverly excels at transitioning quickly between the two. Often times, you hear coaches say “Beat him to the spot” and “wall up” (I know my coach does) and Beverly is the epitome of those two phrases. His closeouts are perfect, which is a huge reason why he isn’t prone to blow-byes. Beverly comes out on balance with his hands up, he trusts his ability to mirror and forces his man into a turnover. Despite his constant pressure, Beverly hardly picked up reach in fouls in the four games I watched. This speaks to his ability to anticipate, and his core strength and balance as he takes the bump and doesn’t get bumped off the spot. Beverly is capable of picking up full court, and you can’t hang the ball even the slightest bit if you’re being guarded by him. The future Cane has crazy quick hands and routinely plucks offensive players who are lazy with their dribble. Overall, Beverly has unbelievable defensive awareness, which makes him a very effective team defender. He showcased an elite off ball intangibles here. In the first clip, he mirrors Bryan Antoine’s exact movements before getting a steal. In the second clip, he calls out the switch and immediately jumps the lane for another steal. When in help, he knows exactly when to dig at the ball-handler, and rarely gets caught in no-man’s-land. Beverly is constantly checking and turning his head between his man and the ball, he makes a conscious effort to be aware of everything the court. I love that he has zero hesitation on the defensive end, he trusts his instincts and goes all-in when he sees something. In all my preparation for this piece, this might be my favorite Beverly clip. He knows that BJ Boston is a prolific pull-up shooter without a top-notch handle, he sees him get a step off the screen and immediately jumps him. Yes, he left Kyle Sturdivant wide open on the wing, but he knows that Boston is much more likely to attempt a step-back jumper than throw the live dribble pass back to the screener, and he’s proven correctly. Sometimes, Beverly gambles a little too much, giving the opposing team a man-up advantage in the half-court. However, I was very encouraged by his consistent effort to get back into the play and IQ to pick up the open man, rather than trying to chase his original matchup. I think high-level players in the ACC are going to dread playing against Harlond Beverly.

Athleticism
I haven’t watched enough of him to get a great feel for how great of an athlete he truly is, but he has shown some very impressive flashes so I figured I would add it in here. As I mentioned above, Beverly has elite lateral quickness. He can change directions in a split second and effectively goes from slide to sprint very quickly. While he isn’t jacked, I do think he is functionally strong on the court. The Montverde product often took bumps to the chest from players who are bigger than him, but he never got bumped off his spot. When slashing to rim, Beverly drives with a purpose. He attacks hard downhill and uses his strides effectively. When he gets to the rim, he has impressive body control.

On this play, Beverly goes straight to the rim and elevates off two, then he reads the weak side help and avoids the defender in the air before finishing with his off hand. While running in transition, he routinely dunks pretty effortlessly off either leg, but he hasn’t shown any true outlier vertical athleticism.

Outlook
At the moment, I haven’t seen Beverly’s name in the first round of any mainstream mock drafts. However, I think if Beverly performs to his potential under Jim Larranaga, he can hear his name called by Adam Silver on draft night. His most likely draft range is the 20s, which is a perfect fit for his pro outlook. As I wrote in the beginning, his median outcome as a 3&D guard is a very useful one that could help a playoff team from day one. I love Harlond Beverly’s game, but I’m also aware that he probably doesn’t have top 10 potential. I’m selling him as a safe pick who can shoot, defend and understands the game. Yes, that’s my type of prospect, and it’s also someone who is very valuable with the way the NBA is trending.

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