Louisville Men’s Basketball has been on a recruiting roll recently with the additions of 2020 4 Star players D’Andre Davis and JJ Traynor. This weekend, they kicked off the 2021 recruiting cycle with a commitment from 4 Star IL F Bryce Hopkins.
— Bryce Hopkins (@BryceHopkins24) November 11, 2019
Hopkins is a 6’6 220 lbs F from Oak Park, IL. He plays for Fenwick High School. Hopkins chose the Cards over offers from Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Xavier, among others. Luke Murray was his primary recruiter. Hopkins is currently ranked the 71st overall player nationally and the 16th best PF in the 2021 class according to 247sports composite rankings.
While listed as a PF, Hopkins has skills that I think will allow him to play up to 3 positions for the Cards. Those positions are PF, SF, and SG.
Hopkins is a talented offensive player with the capability to score from all three levels. His shot form is excellent and repeatable. The stroke is smooth and pure and the release is quick and high. He can shoot off the rhythm bounce or catch and shoot from the arc which makes him a versatile shooter. His ability to hit threes allows him to shot fake and drive for pullup mid-range shots which he can hit consistently as well. Hopkins should be a good three-point and mid-range shooter for Louisville.
Hopkins is a capable ball handler on the perimeter. This is one reason why I think he can play the SG spot in Coach Mack’s offense. He shows an ability to change speeds with the ball in his hand which helps him be able to get into the lane quite a lot. He can attack off the bounce with both his left and right hands. He prefers to get to his right though. Hopkins has a nice crossover and even displayed a nice spin move as well with the ball. He also utilizes a jump stop much like Terrence Williams once did here and it helps him freeze defenses and get shots up in the lane.
With his shooting ability, ball handling ability, and a good shot fake, Hopkins gets to the rim frequently. When he gets there, Hopkins is tough and finishes through contact consistently. This is something Coach Mack covets in his players. He can dunk and hit a variety of layups and runners in the lane. He has a nice touch on the runners.
Hopkins is a very smart player as well. It truly shows when he posts up smaller defenders on offense. He’s not just looking to shoot a jumper over them either. He displays a nice spin move and finish at the rim in one of his highlights. In fact, the opposition tried to bring a double from the back right. Hopkins felt it and made the spin baseline. I love that he recognized the mismatch, posted, felt the double, and made a decisive move quickly to avoid the double team and get a bucket.
Hopkins really is a dogged and tenacious rebounder. What I love about him is on the defensive boards he constantly fights for position and holds it. He’s already built well physically and should require only fine tuning under strength coach Andy Kettler. On the offensive glass he can fight around blockouts and rebound over defenders. He literally rips the ball down. When he takes shots in the lane, he follows them. Often, he will get his own misses and finish with layups. Hopkins is undeterred by misses. In one highlight, he is blocked a few times by taller players around the rim. He just keeps getting the ball, going back up, and eventually he gets the bucket.
The rebounding and tenacity is likely a product of his motor. Hopkins plays hard all the time; constantly hustling after loose balls, crashing the boards hard, and just giving 100% effort. It’s reminiscent of both current Card Dwayne Sutton and former Card Montrezl Harrell.
Surprisingly, Hopkins shows some good passing skills in addition to all his other offensive tools. He shows good vision and knows where to look for open guys on the break and within the framework of the offense. He knows who the shooters are on his team and likes to find them. This passing ability makes him a true triple threat on the offensive end. Defenses will have to account for all his skills and that makes him a truly special weapon.
Coach Chris Mack just got himself the type of player he adores in Bryce Hopkins. He can shoot and score from anywhere on the floor. He’s so skilled with his ball handling and passing ability. He’s physical and tough making him a tenacious rebounder and a great finisher through contact. His motor is always running strong. 2021 is off to a massive start with this Chicago area player.
Hopkins reminds me of a better shooting and slightly more skilled Dwayne Sutton. Think of what Sutton brings: rebounding, toughness, tenacity, and being a threat to score anywhere around the court. This is Bryce Hopkins as well, but Hopkins appears to be a more consistent shooter from 3 and is a more reliable ball handler. Hopkins can be relied upon more to get his own shot. What Chris Mack and Louisville fans are getting is a player in Bryce Hopkins that people are going to love. He is going to bring it offensively, defensively, and in general. He will definitely be a starter at some point and a key contributor for hopefully a championship contender.