Paradise Honors senior point guard Jalen Scott now has something few of his athlete peers can boast of right now — a sense of certainty.
Scott announced on Twitter July 8 that he has made a verbal commitment to play for Colorado State University starting in the winter of 2021.
After receiving an offer from the Rams June 24 Scott did not waste much time. NAU and California-Riverside offered him in January 2019 but he had not visited either school before COVID-19 scuttled the summer club ball season and Section 7 team camps — not to mention throwing off the NCAA recruiting calendar.
“It’s a huge relief committing because club didn’t happen or even Section 7, so with no colleges watching me live it kinda hurt. I don’t have to worry about schools watching (me) or waiting on them,” Scott stated in a Twitter interview.
Paradise Honors coach Zach Hettel said from talking to the Scott family, Jalen’s mother was excited to have him committed before school started.
When NCAA recruiting periods were canceled there was some worry on what the future could look like for Scott and other 2021 players not already in the national top 100.
“No one knew how schools would handle not being able to get out and see kids play. But I reached out to schools that I knew had seen Jalen in person. Sent video and made sure they were still thinking about him,” Hettel stated in a Twitter interview. “Colorado State (assistant) coach (J.R.) Blount, has always liked Jalen and this shutdown gave coach (Niko) Medved some time to really evaluate him. They watched a lot of film and decided they love his passing ability and his personality and character — the fact he has stayed committed and grinds it out no matter what.”
Scott said the Rams recruited me with an emphasis in the last couple weeks and that their systems really fits how he plays.
The 6-4 point guard is different than many recruits. He plays more like an old-school point that concentrates on distributing the ball before looking for his own shot.
Though he has started for the Panthers since his freshman year, 2019-20 was the first season Scott averaged in double digits (12.1) — and not because he had trouble scoring. He has averaged more than four assists per game in each of his first three seasons, including six dimes his sophomore year and 6.1 as a junior, not to mention 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals in the season just completed.
“I think that’s why he committed. CSU was recruiting Jalen for what he does. Not can he develop into a scoring guard, or can he shoot it in the 40 (percent) from 3? They loved his passing ability and how he fills the stat sheet up,” Hettel stated. “But most importantly his unselfishness. Preaching unselfishness to our players and to see a big time school value that. It’s huge.”
Things had to line up for Scott and Colorado State very well with no opportunity to visit Fort Collins in a pandemic.
Medved is entering his third season as the Rams’ coach. Colorado State finished 20-12 last year and was 11-7 (tied for fifth place) in the Mountain West Conference, which regularly earns multiple NCAA tournament bids.
“Learning about these programs it’s really cool and interesting seeing what’s going on and how they play, the numbers they put up and all that,” Scott stated.
If Paradise Honors, and Arizona for that matter, can play this season the Panthers can run out an all-Mountain West backcourt. Senior shooting guard Wyatt Bell committed to the Air Force Academy on Feb. 8.
The 6-1 Bell averaged 14.6 points a game for the Panthers last season, hitting 38 percent of his three-point shots.
“Air Force was a dream for Wyatt and was always where he wanted to end up. The academies are no joke and it takes a special kind of kid to want to go through that,” Hettel stated. “It’s pretty cool to look at it and being able to coach a backcourt duo that will be playing each other one day in the MWC. Already told them I’ll be making a trip to Colorado to see them go at each other.”
Scott said he wants to study business and finance at the university.