CT’s Tyler Betsey is UConn’s Men’s Basketball Goal of the Year 2024

MONTEVILLE – A glance at the walls of Jerry Quinn’s office reveals the tremendous success that he and the St. Thomas More boys’ basketball program have had over the years.

Comprising nearly every square inch of wall space are photos, paintings, and press shots celebrating over 1,000 wins, dozens of Division 1, NBA and multiple championships over Quinn’s 43 years in school.

This is why he is in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and has been nominated multiple times for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. That’s why future NBA players like Andre Drummond, Eric Paschal and Amari Spellman played at St. Thomas More.

Which is why Tyler Betsy is there now.

Betsy grew up in Windsor and played the past two seasons at Windsor High, averaging 23 points and six rebounds per game as a sophomore and earned GameTimeCT honors in all states.

But Betsy announced in May that he was moving to St. Thomas More. He’s exploded from 6-foot-2 to 6-8 over the past two years and has been looking for better competition, more access to the gym and the leadership of Quinn, who is familiar with navigating the hiring process.

“I come into his office, and I see all the guys on the wall, he’s been doing it for a long time,” Betsy noted. “Pictures don’t lie. I know he can do it for me, which is why I decided to come here.”

It was the right decision at the right time.

Quinn heard that Betsy was considered a low-to-medium talent in the first order. Then he had him work with the staff shortly after his commitment.

“It took me two minutes to realize that a kid has a very high ceiling if he wants to work and continues to make great decisions,” Quinn said.

When colleges were first allowed to call Betsy in mid-June, he heard from schools like Illinois, Penn State, Iona, Rhode Island, and yes, UConn. Penn State and Brown offered right off the bat.

Then, a month later, came the prestigious Nike EYBL Peach Jam.

“This is where I really exploded,” Betsy recalls.

Indiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Iowa, and others are featured in the photo. UConn made him a scholarship offer. Betsy is currently ranked 68th in the 2024 Players category, according to 247Sports.com. He’s the nation’s 17th youngest striker and the highest-rated player in his class in Connecticut.

While playing for the New York Rens at Peach Jam, Betsy believes he has attracted more programs’ interest with improved defensive intensity.

“I can play good defense, because I’m tall and tall,” he said. “But sometimes I would sleep in the back, or let my defender go in the middle — little defensive lapses. But in July, we were locked up as a team, we wanted to win badly. And I wanted to play more. If you play defense, you stay on the field.”

Sounds like music to Dan Hurley’s ears.

Betsey made an unofficial visit to UConn, and went to a football match.

“They were very generous in hosting us,” said his mother, Georgina Rush. “He’s definitely into running. This program is very comprehensive academically, and their basketball obviously has all the elements that Tyler would be looking for in a program to advance his career in basketball.”

But UConn does not have any inherent advantages in appointing him.

“I didn’t grow up playing basketball, I’m not one of those kids who grew up with the ball in my hand, so I don’t really have a dream school,” he said. “Right now, regarding my recruitment, every school is on the same ground. There is no school here, down here. Everyone is on the same ground. I hope the new schools will connect, but no school really separates itself at the moment.”

Is there a school he hasn’t heard of yet and would like to?

“You obviously want to hear from the blue blood,” he said. “But it’s not like I’m stressing. It’s my first year. I don’t focus on schools much at the moment, I just focus on getting better at basketball.”

“Wow, that’s what work does.”

Betsy definitely popped out during a small game inside the gym at St. Thomas More on a recent Friday afternoon. At some point he grabbed the ball at the low post, shook the defender and hit a nice spinning jump. But that’s not much of his game.

“Pick up and pick up is what I look for first,” he said. “I build everything out of my shot. If I close hard, I’ll go by your side. Nothing too crazy. I do a little bit of everything: shoot the ball, catch it, pull it… Not flashy, but I’ll do it.”

This was evident later in the game, when he dropped two 3-pointer throws that were picture perfect and a buttery smooth touch. Limiting it all was a monster drowning in traffic that had Saint Thomas More’s assistant sighing jokingly, “Why can’t everyone do that?”

“I listen to my coach,” added Betsy, who considers himself a junior striker but would ultimately like to be a next-level goalkeeper.

“He’s a first-rate kid,” Quinn said in agreement.

When he was in the fifth and sixth grades, Betsy was more focused on football, as he was a talented receiver and safety who helped lead the Hartford Hurricanes to the Bob Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

“Football was easier for him, he was really good,” his mother said. “But he didn’t want to pursue football. Basketball was a lot of work for him, but he loved it.”

Betsy began taking episodes seriously in the summer between the eighth and ninth grades. He played in the high school fall league that year, and played well against the high school seniors.

“Once I saw that I improved, it made me work even harder,” he recalls. “As soon as you see yourself doing things that you’re not used to doing, it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s what work does. “It makes you want to go to the gym constantly.”

Playing two seasons under legendary Windsor coach Ken Smith, Betsy led the Warriors to the CCC and League One semi-finals before deciding to take his talents 40 minutes down the road to St. Thomas More Country Campus.

Now, the barrage of DI shows has begun. Quinn advises Betsy to take his time, and let the process run.

“I think about it quite a bit, I wouldn’t say I don’t think about it at all,” Betsy admitted. “But I have some of my post-graduate teammates, it’s time for them. I’m not around the clock like them. I think about it a bit, but nothing crazy.”

Both Betsy and his mother are looking for similar things from a college program and coach.

“I just want a coach who allows me to get over my mistakes,” Betsy said. “I want to be able to come in and play as a freshman. And I want someone who will help me get to the next level. If I have to stay for a year, two, three, four years… I just want to go to the next level.”

Echo Rush: “At this point, we don’t have any specific program we’d like Tyler to go to. For him, I think what he’s looking for is a school that fits his own style of play. He’s looking for a coach who he trusts being a young player, and a freshman, allowing him to Playing through some of his mistakes. He’s relatable, he’s always been a great player on the team. I think he’s just looking for the right person. I think all the institutions will have campuses and facilities and things like that. I think it’s going to have to do with the relationships with the coaching staff and the coach, in the end “.

There is one word Rush uses often to describe her son and her approach: consistency. He has kept himself on a familiar path, has kept the same personal trainer (Brian Heron out of Waterbury) since he started playing basketball, and has maintained the same demeanor and values ​​even after a change of school.

“As a parent, I gave him wings,” Rush said. “He has wings, and he can fly as far as he needs to go to get what he needs.”

david.borges@hearstmediact.com DevBorges

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