Posted On: 08/17/18 11:30 AM

People may think a basketball player is just built off physical attributes.

Not true.

The mental state of a basketball player is just as important.

A crossover, a dunk, a layup, a jump shot, a block, and a steal are things people see on the basketball court. Fans can’t see what’s going through the mind of a basketball player. Spectators can’t tell what’s he’s thinking and what he’s wanting to do on the court.

Baylor School’s Blake Pruitt is a testament to the importance of being mentally strong while facing adversity. Here’s a kid that’s been to a different school in each of the last three years due in part to his parents owning their own business. Here’s a kid that’s 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, with long shooting range, but doesn’t jump off the page to college coaches. Here’s a kid that stayed in the gym with his father, working on scoring from different areas of the court. Here’s a kid that wasn’t getting a lot of attention from college coaches until recently, thanks to AAU basketball this summer with the Chattanooga Elite.

Pruitt went from an unknown guard to a team-leading point guard in the last three seasons. In the same time frame, he also went from a spot-up shooter to a guard that can score from different areas of the court.

Pruitt always knew he could score, especially from long range. He had gotten so comfortable with the jump shot that he caught himself sort of settling with one dimension. In order for Pruitt to be looked at as more than just a jump shooter, he knew he had to expand his game.

“I worked on scoring from anywhere on the court. That’s kind of what me and my dad wanted to do. We wanted to show everybody this summer that I can score from anywhere on the court,” Pruitt said.

“We worked a lot on using the glass. We worked a lot on shooting off the dribble and creating my own shot, not having to depend on help-side defense every game.”

Pruitt is an underdog, sort of underappreciated when it comes to the hard work he has put in over the summer. He could have easily given up when things weren’t going his way, but Pruitt stuck with the progress and remained patient. Now, he has the attention of college coaches and will be one of the leaders for the Red Raiders this upcoming season.

“I think, me mentally, I’m able to have that underdog edge,” said Pruitt, whose father, Joe Pruitt, has instilled the underdog role in his son. “Since I started playing basketball, I have always been the underdog. I’m just now starting to get recruited.

“And I’m just now starting to get my name out there more, and I think it has a lot to do with how mentally strong I am and how much adversity I have gone through throughout my high school career.”

Heading into his senior year, Pruitt is starting to see his hard work out in the open. He has an offer from Guilford College, and schools such as Air Force, New Mexico State, BYU, Oklahoma, Flagler, Lee, Yale, Princeton, Belmont, and Rhodes are showing interest.