A Visit with Five-Star Power Forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Scotland Campus Head Coach Chris Chaney
OXFORD, Miss. — George Seurat and Paul Signac are not names you would normally associate with college basketball recruiting — but Class of 2022 star power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield sure is.
Huntley-Hatfield is ranked the No. 1 power forward in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite. The 6-foot-10-inch, 230-pound five-star is also the No. 1 player in Pennsylvania and the No. 6 overall player in the Class of 2022.
Suerat and Signac aren’t pioneers of anything remotely related to sports. But bear with me for a minute. The two were French Neo-Impressionist artists who founded a technique called Pointillism. The story goes that they were bored with the traditional direction of painting and art and wanted to look for a new way to make “impressions” on things around them.
The technique Seurat and Signac pioneered takes distinct dots of color placed in intricate patterns to form an image. However, when seen from a distance, the paintings often seem to be blurred — but the unique thing about it is that each pair of eyes can somehow eventually put the vivid imagery together and see the detailed images rather than just dots of color.
This reminds me of the late Dr. Jack Ramsay — the legendary coach who led the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA Championship and was also a broadcaster with ESPN TV and Radio.
Dr. Jack used to say: “A key basketball skill is imagery. The best players ‘see’ situations before they happen so they can be prepared.”
See where I’m going with this?
The best basketball players are like the legendary artists Seurat and Signac. They take intricate points of the game and form a masterpiece.
The best of the best
Mark my words, Scotland, PA power forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield is going to be one of those players, every bit the artist that Seurat and Signac were.
Brandon currently has offers from: Ole Miss Syracuse, Tennessee, Auburn, Kansas, Wake Forest, Memphis, Baylor, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Seton Hall, A&M, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.
Reportedly, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Syracuse, and Auburn all remain heavily involved. 247Sports recruiting reporter Yancy Porter suggested recently that Huntley-Hatfield may reclassify to the 2021 class and sign in April.
5-star Brandon Huntley-Hatfield showcased his versatility at #Elite100 🧰
— The Season Ticket (@TheSeasonTicket) November 23, 2020
The Mailman, Larry Legend, The Worm, The Big Fundamental and The Big Ticket (Karl Malone, Larry Bird, Dennis Rodman, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, respectively) are the nicknames of some of the most legendary power forwards who ever stepped on a basketball court.
These hardcourt artists navigated the intricate points of the game and helped form something that has stood the test of time. Even in the most difficult of game situations, they helped connect all the beautiful dots on the court to produce athletic masterpieces.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield may well one day join the ranks of the best hardcourt artists.
896 miles from Oxford, heading up I-81 North, one eventually makes his way into Greene Township to the town of Scotland, Pennyslvania. And on 167 acres along the beautiful Pennsylvania hillside lies Scotland Campus.
In the serenity of this small-town life, you will find many of the nation’s top athletes looking to set into motion their goals of playing at the next level, learning the skills on and off the court that will help them balance the demands of being a successful student-athlete.
As the east coast sun starts to rise, you will find Huntley-Hatfield hard at work, focusing on the work to elevate his game.
You’ll also find Scotland head coach Chris Chaney, who runs one of the most heralded programs in the nation.
20-0 on the season!
2021 GAC Champions! @TheGAC @PrepHoopsPA @scotland_hoops @Coach_Chaney @HSCircuit @_TomKeller @n_eavenson @KDScoutingBBall @iamkingsullivan @HW_Confidential pic.twitter.com/OKlhfakvPQ
— Scotland Campus Hoops (@scotland_hoops) March 10, 2021
Huntley-Hatfield is one of the best, being coached by one of the best.
New 🎞️ (@hoopmajorhm #BeSeen) of @scotland_hoops ESPN 60 forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (@gupavelli) who is considering Auburn, Kansas, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Tennessee, & Wake Forest. pic.twitter.com/u06c0k1VjQ
— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) December 21, 2020
But despite being a blue-chip, Huntley-Hafield possesses a blue-collar work ethic that not only has pushed him to the top of the high school basketball world but will also make him invaluable at whatever school he chooses to play in the future.
And this star basketball DNA runs in the family. Huntley-Hatfield’s cousin is none other than former McDonald’s All-American and former Kentucky Wildcat star Alex Poythress.
With all the attention and hype that comes with the recruitment of a player of the caliber of Huntley-Hatfield and a coach as successful as Coach Chaney, we were fortunate to get to visit with the pair recently.
We talked with Huntley-Hatfield about his recruitment by Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis and his Rebels, what skills this talented player will take with him to the next level, and what type of school he believes will be the best fit for him. We visited with Coach Chaney about his program, the adjustments they’ve made due to COVID, and what his thoughts are on Huntley-Hatfield.
A visit with Coach Chris Chaney
Rebel Walk: Can you tell us about your basketball and coaching background?
Coach Chaney: I have been coaching at the high school/prep level for close to 30 years. I have been fortunate to have had many great players and coaches who played and worked for me. I have experienced things all over the world and most importantly have made relationships for a lifetime.
Rebel Walk: What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in recruiting and that your program has faced during this past year?
Coach Chaney: We didn’t get to have students on visits, but we did get enough students who wanted the chance to get better and develop the right everyday habits. It’s been a different type of year but like in everything we do we make the best of it.
Rebel Walk: What sort of adjustments have y’all made to remain focused as you continue to build one of the top prep programs in the country?
Coach Chaney: This season we did our in-house bubble league and made other adjustments to make the most out of the situation, such as making more video rooms and doing more skill development. A lot of schools don’t have the resources and staff we do, so we made the most out of it.
Rebel Walk: Scotland Campus has a unique culture. How do you think that has played a role in developing some of the nation’s top blue chips over the years?
Coach Chaney: I think we have built the right culture here for our students to succeed in all aspects. We want to outwork our opponents and have true toughness for any situation.
They were down most of the 1st half in their conference championship game but turned that into a 3pt lead by halftime. They ended up winning by 38. That's why @Coach_Chaney is the best in the business and that's why @scotland_hoops is the best prep team in the country https://t.co/NZEeQ8WZ14 pic.twitter.com/NTVAzazSc9
— Matt Modderno (@MattModderno) March 11, 2021
Rebel Walk: Coach, it is no secret that you have a gift for coaching and developing a plethora of blue-chip athletes over the years. What would you say was a moment when you knew that Brandon had something special you knew could take the basketball world by storm?
Coach Chaney: I have known Brandon for a couple of years and the potential was always there. He was skilled and could do many things on the court. But seeing him grow as a player, teammate, and person has been rewarding.
Rebel Walk: What is about Brandon that makes him such a force on the court?
Coach Chaney: His versatility. He can guard several positions and score at all levels. He sees the game well. He has learned to become a vocal leader and when to take advantage of situations.
Rebel Walk: What kind of program do you see him thriving in the most?
Coach Chaney: I think he will thrive in a close-knit culture where he can continue to develop his game. He can fit any style but wants to continue to become the best version of himself.
Rebel Walk: Is there a play of his that stands out the most to you?
Coach Chaney: There have been a couple of second-effort plays that he has done recently that he never did before. So, the understanding of the intangibles has been a big plus for him this year.
Rebel Walk: What is something unique about his skillset that you see from a coaching perspective that might be overlooked by teams looking at him?
Coach Chaney: I think him being a high-level passer and seeing the game in a different way can be a big separator for him. He fits today’s game very well and those other intangibles can take him even farther.
Rebel Walk: Kermit Davis has utilized a lot of young talent to help build his roster. What could a player like Brandon bring to the court for the Rebels?
Coach Chaney: He can more than help any team and will bring someone that teams must prepare for and that will open up a lot for teammates. He brings a winning attitude and desire to be great.
Rebel Walk: What is Brandon’s strongest ‘x-factor?’
Coach Chaney: I think his growth as a player and not settling to be just really good. He has all the tools to be special and is developing that mindset to go with it.
Rebel Walk: What advice do you give your athletes during recruitment?
Coach Chaney: Just to be different. Prepare every day and you are competing against yourself. Control what you can control and that is all you can do. Believe in the process.
A Visit with Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
Rebel Walk: What would be your hashtag for your recruitment?
Brandon: It would be like #TheonlyONE
Rebel Walk: What is your get-hyped jam right now?
Brandon: I have a variety of favorite songs ranging from like uzi, durk, NoCap, lil baby, pooh shiesty and some others.
Rebel Walk: What has been the biggest adjustment you have had to make in your recruitment these past few months, given all the COVID restrictions?
Brandon: The biggest adjustment would be realizing that I couldn’t honestly get a full feel for the colleges recruiting me and basically just playing things by ear by organizing zoom meetings and whatnot…but basically just listening more and doing additional research about these schools in my free time.
Rebel Walk: What is one of the most important factors you are looking for in the programs recruiting you?
Brandon: One of the most important things to me during this recruitment process would be the need to feel a sense of security. I want to find a program that is like family to me, a coaching staff that believes in me and in my abilities and a head coach who will let me play through mistakes and allow me to play MY GAME and be ON THE COURT within their system, and a coaching staff who has the utmost confidence in me.
Rebel Walk: You’re one of the most sought-after recruits in the country. How do you remain focused, and what are things you continue to do to elevate your playing and training?
Brandon: I listen to my support system and their feedback always. They keep me level headed and down to earth because at times I begin to have moments where I am tired and my mind is just everywhere. But I don’t lose that focus because I have a clear understanding and vision of what I want and what it takes to get where I want to be.
I feel as though I’m really close, but the work is never done and even when, God-willing, I get drafted, the work never stops because with who I am, I’m going to always want more. So in order to get more, you have to work extra, but I don’t even see it as “extra work.” I see it as just doing something I love and getting better at my craft.
I look at YouTube videos on mental health and how to deal with being in the spotlight, learning that I can’t do what every other high schooler does, so I have to move a certain way or I could lose everything. Stuff like that is what I do in my private time. I just like to be alone and reflect on my day to better myself every day.
Rebel Walk: What is a typical day for you?
Brandon: A typical day for me is waking up at 6 a.m. then getting dressed for the gym. I always get there early so I can shoot for a bit before our skills session, then I lift a bit on my own to work and strengthen my legs and upper body.
Then, I go back to my room to eat some food before practice at 1. I usually leave my dorm at 12 to get there early so I can get warmed up before practice. Then I lift with the squad, and finally I go ice my knees then go back to my room for the night.
All of our days are hard, but I always work out before practice and games and wake up early in the morning. After practice is my down time where I watch Netflix and listen to music and just relax..and then go to sleep between 6-10 pm then repeat.
Rebel Walk: What sort of program do you see yourself fitting in best in?
Brandon: I see myself fitting best in a program that loves versatility and that plays fast — a program that allows players to be themselves and play through mistakes. I want to find a program that gets players to the next level efficiently and makes sure they are NBA-ready.
Rebel Walk: What is your ‘x-factor’ skillset that you think may sometimes get overlooked?
Brandon: My playmaking ability. Everyone understands I can score the ball in a variety of ways at all 3 levels and that I am versatile, but I also get other guys involved and work to make them better at all times.
I impact winning in different ways other than scoring. I can rebound on defense and offense. I play D, so I can get a couple of steals and blocks. My playmaking abilities at my size, given my strength, goes along with it, and my vision and IQ is unmatched.
I’m beginning to think the game better and come up with better strategies to score. I feel like I can very score well; however, my playmaking can always improve just like anything else.
2022 F Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (@RealGupaveli) of Scotland Campus (PA) is an interesting prospect in his class.
— Samad Hines (@Samad_Hines) March 11, 2021
Rebel Walk: What dynamic do you believe you can bring to a place like Ole Miss under Coach Kermit Davis?
Brandon: A winner, a guy who will do anything and everything to help the team win. I’m a vocal guy, sometimes I go away from it by getting passive, but starting to always communicate to my guys at all times will really help me out in the long run as I make my push for the NBA at some point. I’m a do-it-all kind of guy. The biggest thing I can bring to the game of basketball is versatility.
Rebel Walk: What about Ole Miss has stood out to you?
Brandon: They’ve always been constant on me ever since they offered, which is why I’ve stuck with them for so long. The talks we have regarding my role for their team and what I can do for them and what they can do for me has been greatly beneficial.
Rebel Walk: Are there any factors outside of basketball that will weigh in on the place you choose to call home in the future?
Brandon: No, just my support system and my faith.
Rebel Walk: What is your advice for other recruits during this unique time in recruiting?
Brandon: Don’t listen to the voices outside of your circle. Stay down with the people who were there when you didn’t have everything you have right now. Watch out for the people who were never there when you didn’t have anything, but now when you get something they wanna pop up being “friends, brothers, etc.”
Trust God and trust that His plan is always and will always be better than ours. Most importantly, be authentic. Be yourself and listen to what they say and how they say it. Put yourself and your family first above all else.
Rebel Walk: What are some things you like to do in your off time?
Brandon: Sleep, eat, watch movies about crime and murder and all the good stuff, listen to music and look at YouTube vids on different moves and tips for the game.
The Quick Scouting Report on Huntley-Hatfield
Here’s what Jerry Myer, Director of Basketball Scouting for 247Sports, has to say about Brandon.
Fit In The Sip
It’s obvious why any coach would want Huntley-Hatfield in his program. His size and strength and basketball IQ mean he could make an instant impact on any team.
— Who's Next (@WhosNextHS) August 11, 2020
Brandon would thrive in an environment like that at Ole Miss because it’s more than just balling, it’s about family and culture. His leadership on the court is something that makes him a tremendous asset and he brings with him a contagious energy. In a sport like college basketball with a fast pace and quickly-changing momentum, every school could use a player like Brandon who is not only blessed with incredible talent, but who can bring out the best in his teammates. He possesses the best of the traditional power forward skills and also adds the versatility that makes him so sought-after.
A player as skilled as Huntley-Hatfield could connect a lot of dots for Ole Miss and help the Rebels produce a masterpiece in Oxford—one that would make quite an impression for years to come.