At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, over one hundred players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today’s edition will highlight Darien Long of Rolesville.
Being able to maximize a role is one of the most underrated things we see within high school recruiting, but it’s begun trending upward as of late. This is a major plus for someone like Long, who wasn’t necessarily the leader of his high school team but always found a way to make his presence felt. He has a solid frame with IQ, unselfishness, and a pretty nice two-way motor. Long is an efficient scorer from anywhere inside the arc and, although he can shoot three-pointers, he typically chooses to limit his attempts from distance. Long is a willing defender and rebounder that understands how to push the break in transition with or without the ball in his hands.
We’ve seen Long at various different camps, including one of our most recent NC Phenom 150 events, where we stated: “Moving onto a player that showed a clear willingness to do anything possible to give his team an edge, Darien Long. He’s a smart, strong, unselfish forward prospect with the ability to cause mismatches with his combination of skill and physicality. Long is quick, which allows him to get downhill and score effectively in the paint, where he’s able to make plays for himself or others. Next in his development process is working to become a craftier passer, as it would make him even tougher to contain with the ball in his hands. Coach Bernardi on Long: “Darien was an awesome team player all day. He consistently made the right play over and over, more often than not resulting in good plays for others. Darien’s release time and shooting mechanics are very solid. He has the potential to be a high-level shooter. He also has great quickness and footwork, allowing him to get paint touches and guard the ball. Darien’s overall effort and spirit could have been better. He also needs to focus on his rebounding, as he had the tendency to leak out.” Long did a ton of things well at camp and should have a productive upcoming senior campaign at Rolesville.”
Throughout the season, Long essentially furthered our previous thoughts about him and remained a capable glue-guy. His ability to affect all facets of the game without being a focal point should speak volumes about his contributions with a given group of teammates. Long might not be the flashiest player, but he’s certainly effective and someone that could benefit numerous programs at the next level.