Oakland Park Northeast freshmen Matthew and Ryan Bewley have the chance to be special.
The 6-foot-9 twins rank among the top high school prospects nationally in the Class of 2023.
Friday, Leonard Hamilton and Florida State became the latest high-major program to throw its hat into the mix, offering the Bewleys. The ‘Noles’ move follows scholarship offers from (alphabetical) Alabama, DePaul, Florida, Iowa State and USF.
What makes the Bewleys so intriguing is that with all of that size and skill, they are not the same player.
“With the twins, they’re twins but they complement each other,” Northeast High coach Zach Gillion said. “So, you have two 6-9 guys who are freshmen who dominated this year.
“Florida State saw us at the MLK Tournament that we go to every year. They saw them and they loved them. Matt and Ryan are the first ’23 kids that have received an offer from Florida State. They don’t usually offer that young, either. That kind of shows you how good Matt and Ryan are and how much they believe in their talents.”
In drawing it up on a board, Matt Bewley is more of a 3-man or a 4; Ryan Bewley is a power forward (4) or post (5).
Matt is more of the slasher, shooter of the pair at an early age. As a ninth-grader, he was named to MaxPreps’ Freshmen All-America squad and was a Class 5A first-team All-State selection in Florida.
“Matt is a good wing man,” coach Gillion said. “Matt can hit the trey-balls. Matt can take you off the dribble. Matt is 20 pounds bigger than Ryan. And Matt is a confident kid — sometimes he’s too confident. Matt walks on the court like I am the best person on this court. That’s one of the things I love about Matt is that Matt really honestly believes he’s the best player to ever pick up a basketball.”
Ryan has showed he has high-level skills as a rim protector and a rebounder as a ninth-grader.
“Ryan can hit the trey-ball,” Gillion added. “Ryan finishes well around the basket. He has very good post moves. But the crazy thing about it is Ryan dribbles the ball extremely well. So both of them have things that are good but also complementary to each other. They are the best high-low tandem in the country.”
The talented freshmen jumped right into the Northeast starting lineup and showed promise early. But it would be a game versus Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair at the Tarkanian Classic that would really jump-start the twins’ profile.
Northeast fell behind a Josh Christopher-led Mayfair squad by 20 points. At the half, the Hurricanes’ staff made the pledge to pound the ball inside to the Bewleys against the shorter-Mayfair squad.
Slowly, Northeast rallied in the second half before pulling out an electric 72-70 victory in Vegas.
“The older guys on the team started to depend on them a little bit more [after that],” Gillion said. “The team’s belief in the twins kind of changed our season. Matt and Ryan had been earning their respect but after that game we became a closer team.”
Northeast would finish 21-7 in 2019-20. Three of the seven losses came on that trip out West. The Hurricanes made it to the FHSAA Class 5A regional semifinals before falling to eventual state finalist Pembroke Pines Charter, 76-69.
Northeast has a lot to look forward to. The Hurricanes return four starters with multiple Division-I offers: the Bewleys and 2021 guards Wesley Cardet Jr. and JJ Harris.
Gillion praised the twins’ work ethic … their attention to detail. He believes the sky is the limit for the 6-9 youngsters.
“Those guys they started to become … the term I use is they started to become more professional,” Gillion said. “Watching film, working out individually after practice, and picking up on the defensive schemes and rotations. You add that with their offensive games and you’ve got two really good guys that went from I would say a 7 to a 9.5.
“And they still have a lot to go. If 10 is the end of the scale, I think they are going to get to 11 or 12. I think they’re probably going to be some of the best players in this history of Broward County and I’ve been in this county since 1980. They have that potential.”
If you have high school or travel basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer at PatALammer@Gmail.com