Coming out of St. Patrick's high school in New Jersey, DeAndre Bembry was not particularly well-known when he announced his decision to attend Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia, only rated as the #251 recruit in the country at the time according to the RSCI.
He quickly showed that he's a much better prospect than he was given credit for, though, being named the Atlantic 10 rookie of the year. A strong sophomore campaign, where he was named a first-team All-Conference player, put him firmly on the NBA radar. He really broke out on the national stage as a junior, winning A-10 Player of the Year honors, and helping his team make the NCAA Tournament Round of 32, where they lost a close game to #1 seed Oregon.
Bembry has good physical tools for a shooting guard prospect, standing just a hair under 6'6 in shoes, with a 6'9 ¼ wingspan, and a solid frame he can continue to work on in an NBA weight room. He's a good athlete on top of that, capable of playing above the rim impressively in space off one or two feet, covering ground nicely with solid open-court speed, and being a little quicker off the floor than you might initially expect.
Bembry's calling card offensively lies with his versatility, as he showed the ability to slide anywhere between the point guard to power forward position at the college level, while being just as effective operating on or off the ball.
He is at his best in the open floor, where his long strides, ability to get low to the ground, and creativity operating at different speeds really shines through. He has excellent footwork and is really crafty with the way he finishes around the rim, never looking sped up and usually operating at his own unique pace.
In the half-court, Bembry is your classic fill in the blanks swiss army knife. He shows great instincts moving off the ball and sniffing out opportunities to make strong cuts to the rim and get easy baskets. He also uses his polished footwork and slithery body control to do some damage in the post, throwing in smooth hook shots and turnaround jumpers while drawing fouls at a nice rate. His long strides help him get to the rim off closeouts and other quick actions, as he often only needs a single dribble to make it all the way to the basket.
Bembry's most polished skill is likely his passing ability, as his 4.7 assists per-40 ranked third among wings in our Top-100 prospect rankings. He's a highly unselfish player with an outstanding feel for making his teammates better, regularly whipping the ball ahead in transition, finding the open man in drive and dish situations and showing excellent timing passing out of the pick and roll. He sees plays developing instinctually and doesn't need to dribble to facilitate for others, which keeps the half-court offense flowing smoothly, as he can pass the ball with either hand using his excellent court vision over the top of the defense.
The biggest thing Bembry will need to work on to find a niche in the NBA is the consistency of his outside shot. He's shown some potential in this area at times, knocking down 122 3-pointers in 102 games at the college level, which indicates he's far from a non-shooter. Still, he's just a career 31% 3-point shooter overall, and regressed every year beyond the arc with his percentages at the college level (35% to 33% to 27%), while his career 62% shooting from the free throw line is not terribly encouraging either. His footwork is not great and really slows down his release, as he takes too much time to 1-2 into his shot rather than hopping into it, and at times tends to flail his elbow out or even hold onto the ball too long, which gives him inconsistent results.
While Bembry was decent shooting the ball with his feet set through his college career, he really struggled at times pulling up off the dribble, as he tends to shoot on the way down too often. Bembry's struggles off the dribble could really limit his ability to make plays with the ball at the NBA level, as he is not the most explosive athlete you'll find in terms of his pure first step, being more smooth than he is overwhelmingly fast twitch changing gears, and won't be able to live inside the paint the way other wing players with limited range can.
Bembry is still evolving as a shot-creator, as even at the college level, he wasn't quite elite in pick and roll or isolation situations, and doesn't really project as a guy you simply give the ball to and ask to make magic off multiple dribbles as the shot-clock runs down. He can still stand to tighten up his ball-handling skills, particularly driving left, and can be a little bit predictable with what he's trying to accomplish in the half-court.
Scouts would like to see Bembry develop a little bit more of a sense of urgency as well, as there were too many games he competed in at the college level where he simply didn't really leave his mark, despite being by far the best player on the court. He has a bit of a laid back attitude, lending to a tendency to blend in, and can be overly unselfish at times.
This shows up most vividly on the defensive end, where despite having quick feet, solid length and excellent instincts and anticipation skills, his intensity level tends to come and go. He doesn't always fight over screens as aggressively as you might hope, and can lose his focus and fall asleep off the ball.
Some of this may have been systematic, as St. Joe's was a much better team offensively this season than they were defensively. Bembry was also simply too important for them to risk getting him in foul trouble, and at 37 minutes per game while shouldering a heavy offensive load, he probably needed to find somewhere to rest at times.
Nevertheless, Bembry's excellent timing covering ground and getting in the passing lanes, coming up with blocks, and going out of his area for defensive rebounds showed his potential on this end of the floor, so there's no reason he can't be better in this area when surrounded by better talent and this becomes more of a focal point.
Bembry's ability to develop a consistent jump-shot could be somewhat of a make or break factor in today's NBA, but he's demonstrated enough potential in this area to believe he can continue to improve in this area. It won't be surprising at all if some NBA front office or coaching staff falls in love with his overall feel for the game and versatility and decides to select him in the mid to late first round regardless, as it's difficult to find players in his mold who can be utilized in as many roles and configurations as he can (provided he can hit spot-up jumpers).