As his reputation continues to swell, making the time he was lightly recruited feel farther and farther in the past, Saddiq Bey has just one request.
It’s not a big one. The 6-foot-7 scorer wants to grow two more inches. And if two became three, he wouldn’t mind that, either.
“I’m praying to god, I hope so,” Bey said through continuous laughter. “Look, I’m thankful for what I have now, but I also know that with my game a few more inches could really, really set me apart.”
When Bey got to Sidwell Friends as a freshman, he was a 5-foot-9 guard with a smooth jump shot. Then he grew 10 inches over the last three years, and colleges took note of a player still figuring out how to move in his distorted body. So when Bey went into the first of two April college evaluation periods this spring, he had received offers from Pennsylvania, Temple, Elon, Rhode Island and Towson. Then he lit it up at a weekend Under Armour event in New York City, and was a surefire high-major player by Monday morning.
First came an offer from Notre Dame for the Class of 2018 wing, who plays for D.C. Premier on the AAU circuit. Bey then took his game to an even higher level at the second April evaluation period in Indianapolis, and the floodgates opened with offers from George Washington, Miami, Northwestern, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Lehigh, Davidson, La Salle and Pittsburgh.
He is currently receiving attention from Virginia, Missouri, LSU and Stanford, which is waiting to see his most recent SAT scores. Bey also said Villanova has started to show “a bit” of interest ahead of the next three evaluation periods in July.
On May 10, he took an unofficial visit to Georgetown and Patrick Ewing pitched his vision as the Hoyas’ new head coach. This past Wednesday, Bey and Sidwell Friends Coach Eric Singletary traveled to Miami for an unofficial visit. Hurricanes Coach Jim Larranaga was at an Atlantic Coast Conference meeting, but FaceTimed in whenever he could to make sure Bey felt wanted and welcome.
It has all showed the difference a month can make.
“I’ve been talking to coaches, and the main thing that stands out to them is just how versatile he is on both ends of the floor,” Singletary said before the visit to Miami. “I definitely see what they see. I certainly knew he would get more looks this summer and this spring, but I didn’t expect it to be the firestorm that it was.”
Before that, Bey’s body struggled to adjust to how fast he was growing. He never missed time in his sophomore or junior seasons with the Quakers, but his knees ached after almost every game and workout.
It was nothing ice and rest couldn’t fix, but Bey still waited to feel comfortable in his frame. That came this past year, and he shined while Penn commit Jelani Williams sat for the year with a left knee injury. And now that Bey is 6-foot-7 with guard skills, Singletary has expanded his workouts to utilize every bit of his size. Bey and Singletary leave nothing out of sessions that include repetitions in the post, pullup midrange jumpers, catch-and-shoot threes, pullup threes, and so on.
College coaches are seeing the results on the AAU circuit, as Bey can regularly score from inside, midrange and beyond the arc. He can also guard multiple positions, with the foot speed and savvy to stick with ballhandlers, and the size and length to match up with interior scorers.
“His ability to play all over the floor and score the ball like he does could make him one of the most attractive players in the D.C., DMV area this summer and fall,” said a college assistant coach of a program who has not offered Bey, and who asked to remain anonymous due to NCAA rules about commenting on potential recruits.
“And the fact that he could still be growing is obviously really intriguing for any coach.”
The next step for Bey’s recruiting process is to nail down a list of unofficial visits. He said Sunday that he wants to visit Northwestern, Notre Dame and Florida in the next few months, and would like to make one more trip to Miami. After that, he will make a list of official visits for the fall and said those would likely be the final schools he will consider committing to.
But there is a lot of basketball to play before then, and Bey knows how quickly all of this can change.
“Now that I’ve showed the caliber I am and the level I can play at, I think it can just keep going from here,” Bey said. “But I just want to take it as it comes, and just focus on showing all I can do.”
» Gonzaga guard Prentiss Hubb verbally committed to Notre Dame last Wednesday. Hubb, a 2018 recruit who plays for D.C. Premier on the AAU circuit, was deciding between the Fighting Irish, Villanova, Maryland and Virginia. He previously had Syracuse and Kansas in his final six, and joins DeMatha’s D.J. Harvey as the second Washington Catholic Athletic Conference player to commit to Notre Dame in the last year.
» Jermaine Harris received an offer from Pittsburgh last Tuesday, Rock Creek Christian Coach Chris Cole told The Post. Harris, a 2018 forward who plays for Rock Creek Christian and D.C. Premier, picked up offers from Georgia and Georgetown after the first April evaluation period. He also holds offers from DePaul, Xavier, Miami, West Virginia, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Providence and Rhode Island.
» St. Mary’s Ryken guard Wynston Tabbs received an offer from Virginia Commonwealth on May 14. Tabbs, a 2018 recruit who plays for Team Melo on the AAU circuit, received a lot of attention after the two April evaluation periods. He collected offers from South Florida, St. John’s, George Mason and Cincinnati in the first four days of May, and also has offers from Rutgers, Penn State and George Washington, among other schools. After the first April evaluation period, Miami, Northwestern and Clemson were all showing interest in him.
» On May 8, Rock Creek Christian sophomore Earl Timberlake received an offer from Georgetown while on an unofficial visit to campus. Timberlake plays for Team Takeover’s 16U Elite Youth Basketball League team, and played some point guard during the second April evaluation period. The 6-foot-5 Timberlake previously had offers from Virginia Tech, Kansas State and Penn State.
» Old Mill forward Hollique Smith-Johnson will take an unofficial visit to Division II Wheeling Jesuit at the end of May or early in June, Coach Mike Francis told The Post. Smith-Johnson, who is in the Class of 2018, has also received interest from Division I Holy Cross, and D-II programs Newberry and Shepherd. He plays on the AAU circuit with Maryland 3D.