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Lauren Betts is 6-foot-7, 16 years old, and hasn’t even touched the ceiling yet

The scary half? Lauren Betts is 6-foot-7 and hasn’t even touched the dang ceiling but.

“I think she’s going to be able to knock down the 3, long-term, on a consistent basis,” Keith Van Horn, the previous NBA and College of Utah standout, mentioned of Betts, Grandview’s sophomore heart and one in every of his star pupils. “To me, it’s just getting her to believe that she’s a good shooter, to kind of get her out of the mindset of, ‘I’m just a post player.’”

She’s only a submit participant the way in which Andrea Bocelli is only a tenor.

This previous June, on the FIBA Americas 16-Below Championship in Chile, Betts introduced her presence to the world, one swat at a time. The Wolves submit began six video games for the gold-medal-winning U.S. squad, averaging a double-double for the tourney (12.2 factors, 13.5 rebounds), posting team-highs in boards per sport (13.5) and blocks per sport (2.5), whereas taking pictures at a 58.6% clip from the ground.

Betts pulled down 14 rebounds in an 87-37 rout of Canada within the gold medal sport en path to being tapped as one in every of three People on the all-tournament workforce. The whispers of a budding basketball star alongside the Entrance Vary turned to shouts as ESPN. The Collegiate Ladies Basketball Report declared Betts the No. 1 girls’s basketball prospect within the nation for the Class of 2022.

“It just really shows how hard work can get you somewhere,” Betts mentioned.  “And I’m really thankful for all the people who got me to where I am today.”

***

A shout-out to Mother and Dad. Michelle and Andrew Betts met as student-athletes at Lengthy Seaside State: Mother was a 5-foot-9 volleyball standout; Dad, a 7-1 heart from the East Midlands of England, a second-round draft decide of the Charlotte Hornets in 1998.

“It’s crazy over the last year, how the exposure has gone up,” mentioned Andrew, who performed professionally in Europe — Lauren was born in Spain, 16 Octobers in the past — for a decade-and-a-half. “The nationwide workforce clearly was large with that.

“We’re just trying to keep her feet on the ground. She’s still very young. She’s got a lot of developing to do. It’s still early for her.”

We neglect how early, generally. The sport is coming alongside so quick, the upside so highly effective, that we neglect it is a child, nonetheless. A child making an attempt to navigate a world of faculty recruiters, Disney princesses and driving assessments.

“With basketball (conflicts), I still haven’t got my (driver’s) permit,” Betts laughed. “It’s so bad. So bad. Because I’ve been so busy. Me and my teammate Marya Hudgins, we’re both trying to get our permits. My sister keeps making fun of me. She’s like, ‘When are you going to get your permit so you can drive me?’”

RELATED: 20 Colorado highschool ladies basketball gamers to look at in 2019-20

They develop up quick lately, and Lauren quicker than most. On the age of 12, she shot to 6-feet. At 13, she was pushing 6-Three.

Grades 6 by 9, on their finest days, play out like one lengthy, unforgiving Twitter feed, the place the one fixed is judgment. Now think about wading these waters for those who’re a 6-Three teenage lady.

“Middle school was so hard,” Michelle mentioned. “Actually, her freshman 12 months was fairly onerous. I don’t suppose folks understand what it’s prefer to be greater than all people, and to be a woman and be greater than all people.

“Adults can be just as bad as kids. It’s shocking.”

To wit: On the Style of Colorado a couple of years again, Michelle needed to go all badger mama on a number of adults on her daughter’s behalf.

“People can be so rude,” mother mentioned.

“They’d be like, ‘giraffe,’ or ‘Oh my God,’” Lauren recalled. “It’s like, obviously, I did know I was tall, thank you for pointing that out.’”

Lately, Betts is the one having the final snigger, each on and off the courtroom. She averaged 12.7 factors, eight.6 boards and three.9 blocks off the bench for the Class 5A runners-up final winter and saved one of the best for final: A 7-point, 6-rebound, Three-block efficiency in a 48-38 win over rival Regis Jesuit within the state tourney semis, a contest that noticed Betts and 6-Three teammate Addison O’Grady frustrate Raiders star and Stanford commit Fran Belibi from begin to end.

“I think she gained confidence as a basketball player,” Wolves coach Josh Ulitzky mentioned. “In general, she just matured as a basketball player. You could just see her confidence grow, just reassurance, I think, if nothing else. By the time we got to the playoffs, she was just a different player.”

***

A shout-out to Ulitzky, to Van Horn and the coaches who lit the trail.

A spotlight for Van Horn, whose Premier Basketball Membership Lauren joined final 12 months, has been sprucing Betts’ arsenal within the paint whereas additionally growing her consolation in working outdoors of it. The emphasis typically falls on decision-making, recognizing double-teams, passing out of them successfully, footwork and ending.

Throughout layup drills, a jab with a pad. One other layup, one other jab.

“The biggest thing is to help them just to have the mentality to finish through contact,” he defined. “An ‘And-1’ mentality. Your mentality should be to finish the play and get to the free-throw line and not back out of the play. And she’s really improved in that area.”

Subsequent on that space bucket listing: Proudly owning it.

“One of the things I’ve been trying to get at the moment is dunking,” Betts chuckled. “And I’m so shut. I’m virtually there. One among my issues is, that’s my aim: In one of many video games, I actually wish to dunk.”

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