Impressions of Quante Berry
The Friar pledge came on strong after a rough start at the Under Armour Association event in July.
Ed Cooley and his staff were in Georgia in early-July for the Under Armour Association event to watch class of 2022 commit Quante Berry and his Bobby Maze Elite team take on competition from across the country.
Berry is a 6’3 combo guard from Cleveland, TN who committed to Providence on July 5th. He visited PC in June, and there were strong indications for a few weeks that Berry would eventually become a Friar. Berry is Providence’s lone commitment for the class of 2022 to date, after point guard Jayden Epps decommitted in the spring (Epps committed to Illinois in July).
Known as a bouncy athlete with upside as a scorer, I was eager to get my first look at Berry. Under Armour offered a stream for the four day event, giving me my first opportunity to watch him. I was able to see part of Bobby Maze’s 68-59 loss to a Team Rio squad led by point guard Ben Roy (Manasquan, NJ), and both games the following day against Team Curry and the Illinois Wolves.
I was particularly intrigued by the Roy/Berry matchup, as Roy has been quoted as saying that Providence had expressed interest in him. Also, Team Curry features Christ Essandoko, a seven foot class of 2022 prospect that Providence is recruiting. Berry and Essandoko are teammates at their high school, Winston-Salem Christian in North Carolina. Team Curry also has a top 25 player in the class of 2023 in point guard Caleb Foster, as well as Virginia Tech commit MJ Collins.
Bobby Maze has plenty of backcourt talent in its own right, with Berry and backcourt-mate BJ Edwards, a top 100 point guard in the class of 2022 who is committed to Tennessee.
Berry struggled to find the rhythm with his jump shot early in this event. He went just 1-9 in a loss to Team Thrill on day one, and when I saw him against Team Rio Berry was really off when taking jumpers. This game stayed tight throughout, with Berry’s best play coming when he finished an and-1 through contact with his left hand. Team Rio pulled away late en route to a 68-59 victory — a game in which Berry finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds on 5-17 shooting.
The second day of of the event wasn’t any kinder to Bobby Maze Elite, as they dropped to 0-4 following losses to the Illinois Wolves and Team Curry. Berry was again inconsistent with his jumper against the Wolves (14 points, 10 rebounds, 6-14 shooting) in a tough 56-52 loss. Berry has been billed as a very good midrange shooter, but that wasn’t on display through the first two games I saw. After three relatively subpar quarters against the Wolves, he really turned it on late by attacking the basket in a way he hadn’t in the games I watched earlier in the tournament.
Then came the matchup with Team Curry. Berry showed his full repertoire in a heart-wrenching 58-57 loss. His final line (17 points, 7-17 shooting) does not do justice for the terrific performance Berry put on in this one. He was outstanding, scoring on reverse layups in traffic, flashing a floater, and shooting from both mid and long range. This is a guard who isn’t afraid to seek out contact, but is also athletic enough to score over and around bigger defenders. It was this kind of effort that had to have drawn the eyes of the Providence staff, as he scored not only on difficult opportunities, but in big moments.
Team Curry was leading 10-1 early before Berry willed B-Maze back into the game with an early spurt. He appeared to run out of gas late in the second half, hunching over and grabbing at his shorts at times, but he scored a pair of buckets in the closing minutes to keep his team close.
Bobby Maze rebounded from an 0-4 start in Georgia with three straight wins to close out the weekend. I was hoping to see Berry one more time during his team’s final game of the session, but he was sidelined early and was being stretched out by a trainer in the first quarter. He returned in the second quarter for a brief stint, but did not play in the second half.
Berry played both on and off the ball throughout this event. He’s athletic, and would have great size (with long arms) for the point guard position if that’s where he ends up. He is an above average athlete who demonstrated good body control in the air on drives to the basket. His stroke at the free throw line was very good.
Essandoko was a factor off of the bench for Team Curry when they faced off against Bobby Maze Elite, scoring ten points. His stock has taken off this spring and summer, thanks to his size/coordination combo.