(Flory attending the Wes Matthews Skills Academy on August 25th)
Reading Twitter early Saturday evening, I scrolled past a tweet from the VerbalCommits.com account saying something about Marquette. I scrolled back down, and sure enough it said Marquette picked up a commitment from a Wisconsin guard named Philip Flory. Not reading the tweet thoroughly, I quickly opened up a new tab to do research on the kid and found absolutely nothing. Confused, I went back to the tweet to check for spelling errors, and finally read the whole thing over again. Let’s just say I found my answer.
2017. The kid’s in ninth grade.
A number of questions zig-zagged through my head: Did he even get offered? In the first place, why would Buzz offer someone who hasn’t even played a game of HS ball? If this kid really is special, why are there no videos or articles on him?
The situation seemed very strange. I mean, this kid can’t even drive yet and he’s already committed to donning blue and gold. I did some extensive research, and would like to share with you everything I’ve learned about about Philip Flory in the last 24 hours. First, an overview:
This is Philip Flory, a 6’3, 160 pound freshman point guard at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin. He doesn’t look like a big guy in the picture, but 6’3 and 160 pounds for a freshman makes for a big point guard already. For perspective, incoming freshman PG Duane Wilson is currently 6’2 and 180 lb. Flory played AAU ball for the Wisconsin Playground Elite, the same program that Duane and 2014 recruit Sandy Cohen played for. He’s also the son of MU star guard Mike Flory, which some suspect to have been a factor in the fact that he committed within 20 hours of receiving a scholarship (more on that later). Next, the story:
Every commit has an commitment story – on how they got offered, their thought process, etc., and Flory’s is a rather interesting one. On Friday evening, Flory was playing pick-up games with current Marquette basketball players (we don’t know who, where or why, but just listen). After assumably standing out in them, the 15-year-old Flory was called into Buzz Williams’ office, and was offered a scholarship by the coach himself.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Philip said in this article by the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. “I had no idea why we were going up to coach Buzz’s office and he offered me a verbal scholarship.”
Father Mike Flory added, “We hoped to get to this point someday and it happened Friday night. All of us were completely shocked that Philip was offered a scholarship. I’m still in awe.”
As said before, Flory committed to the Golden Eagles just 20 hours after receiving the scholarship. Being a freshman in high school, he won’t even be playing with the freshman entering college this year at Marquette. However, he has his reasons for such an early decision – such as living in Wisconsin and having a dad who starred at MU.
“When I was a little kid I always used to go to Marquette games and watch them on TV or go down to the Bradley Center and get good seats, see the players, and I thought it would be a good fit for me,” Flory said in this article by NY2LASPORTS.com. “Plus, Coach Buzz is all about family, and I really like family.”
His father continued the praise, telling the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “It just felt right. We spent the last few days on campus and it just felt good. It’s a great high-level program and a great high-level coach. And for us, it’s nice and close to home. Now it’s over and Phillip can concentrate on being the best player he can be for Wisconsin Rapids in the next four years.”
Flory’s commitment makes him the 6th in-state player to commit to MU in the last year (Cohen, McKay, Du. Wilson, Burton, Noskowiak, and now Flory). Buzz seems to be overtaking Wisconsin-Madison as the go-to Wisconsin basketball school with every new commitment, especially since MU has been labeled as a “dream school” by all the aforementioned players. However, history has not been kind to players who commit this early – in a study by Sports Illustrated on 29 players who committed to a school 3 or more years before attending, 15 of them went on to de-commit – and 9 of the 19 who ended up playing their freshman season went on to transfer. As highlighted in this article by Paint Touches, this gives us a 49% chance Flory never puts on a Marquette uniform, and a 47% chance he’ll end up somewhere else even if he does at first. However, MU being labeled as his “dream school” makes us think elsewhere, along with the fact that there is family history for Flory in this school. As long as Buzz Williams in there in 2017, MU will assumably still be a top program, possibly erasing the factor of wanting to go somewhere better if he really blows up in HS.
Now that we know Flory’s story and thoughts throughout the commitment process, a more important question arises: what kind of player is Philip Flory? Without YouTube videos, we will have to rely our research on quotes ranging from people who may or may not be reliable, like his parents, or other sources like Wisconsin high school basketball coverer Mark Miller, who on the contrary gives us some very valuable, insightful information – get ready to hear a lot of him.
Here’s a quote from Miller after Flory received the scholarship, but before his commitment (click this forum to read the whole conversation):
The key part of that quote is “top 2017 kid in Wisconsin” – the fact that he’s portrayed as a confident player is just icing on the cake. Again, Miller deems Flory the top player in his class in the dairy state, this time in a tweet:
Though being named the top freshman in your state is a title with little to choose from, it’s nonetheless promising. On a more statistical standpoint, Flory is said to have stood out in the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Summer Tournament held in July, scoring in double figures in all four games. The previously-mentioned Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article said Flory attracted Buzz Williams there “with his length, quickness and aggressive play.” In the same article, Flory’s father added:
“Phillip plays at a fast pace and runs the court extremely well. He likes to play in the open court and is a very good teammate. We’ve been following Marquette basketball for a long time and this will be a very good fit for Phillip…He also shoots the ball very well from the three-point line.”
Philip sounds a lot like his dad was as a player – an aggressive-playing shooter who could run the court and lead a team well. Certainly, with such an early offer, Buzz Williams saw upside in him and even this early in his career we can see start seeing it too. Flory sounds like a promising player and we’re excited to watch his game grow throughout high school. It may not be for another four years, but we’re already excited for him to don blue and gold. As for Flory himself? “I’m looking forward to playing for coach Buzz and Marquette in four years.”
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