Indiana in the mix for rising point guard Jalen James

  • 05/09/2011 4:33 pm in

Illinois Wolves director and coach Mike Mullins is no stranger to coaching elite Division I talent, particularly at the guard position.

The Wolves have produced several notable alums, including Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers and Demetri McCamey, who recently finished up a stellar career at Illinois.

As Indiana looks for point guard help for its 2013 recruiting class, the Hoosiers have been in touch with Mullins about another member of the Wolves’ program, Jalen James of Chicago Hope Academy.

“Coach Buckley and I talked. We’ve had Coach Buckley and Coach Crean recruit plenty of our players before,” Mullins told Inside the Hall at the Spiece Run ‘N Slam All-Star Classic. “Jalen’s been recruited by most of the Big Ten already. I think Tim (Buckley) has been looking for someone else in that class for another point guard option.”

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound James is beginning to emerge on the national scene with his strong play this spring on the AAU circuit.

Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Northwestern were in to see James during the most recent open period and Baylor and Cleveland State have already extended scholarship offers.

“He’s a kid that came from a very little school that didn’t get a lot of publicity,” Mullins said. “I think he’s going to be a pretty good player. He has good size, frame and skills.”

Mullins said James has improved in several areas, including becoming more of a vocal leader, since last fall.

“We’re very hard on our point guards. Our point guards have done very well in college,” he said. “They’ve started as freshmen for many, many years. They’re playing all over the place. He knows that. He’s taken coaching very, very well. As long as he does that, he’ll continue to improve.”

Despite the recent flurry of recruiting attention, James is still wide open and has no early favorites.

“It’s brand new. He’s flattered at the attention he’s received. It’s brand new for him and his parents,” Mullins said. “I think they need to go through it and be educated a bit.”

Check out video of James from the Spiece Run ‘N Slam over at UMHoops.

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  • Marsh21

    This kid will be very good and will not play second fiddle to other PG’s. Having Yogi in 12 and Blackmon in 14 will eat up most of the PG time. When James comes to this conclusion IU will be low on the list.

  • Kelin Blab

    I think we tend to over look that these kids are competitors. I don’t this kid would care who is in front of him or behind and just come in and compete. He has some clear advantages over Yogi and other kids IU is recruiting ….he is a 6’2 180 pound PG…and still has room to grow and get better…..big PG are not too bad with westbrook, rose, ty evans etc. I like the offer and interest and for the dribble drive this could work with yogi.

  • Anonymous

    With Remy Abell, Yogi, and James Blackmon coming in, I’m not sure this is a kid we need. Still think we should recruit him, but not sure if he should be high on IU’s priority list. It feels good to be able to look at a good basketball player, and say I’m not sure if we really need him.

  • Blackmon isn’t a point guard.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, Blackmon is a SG first of all, and secondly, I’m not all that convinced Yogi won’t be able to go to the next level pretty quickly. Even so, Teague committed not knowing that Brandon Knight would go pro. Why not the same for James?

  • Kelin Blab

    Don’t forget folks….after Hulls, we have ONE pure PG on the roster in the next 3 classes…ONE

  • Anonymous

    So was Quinn Buckner a “pure” PG? I don’t think so. But he was the undisputed “Captain” of the last undefeated NCAA championship basketball team! I like Ron Patterson!

  • Anonymous

    I also think that it is important to push guys on the roster with new recruits. Yogi seems to be a very motivated player, but that doesn’t mean CTC should not recruit another PG during Yogi’s 4 (hopefully) years in Bloomington. Having a player like James, or even Newkirk, on the roster will push Yogi to be a better player.

    I think PGs are like starting pitchers in baseball: You can never have enough of them. There is never a time that you hear a coach say, “We have too many players who can handle the ball really well and distribute.” I think we should always have at least 2 PGs, and then one or two more combo guards who can handle those duties in the event of an injury or foul trouble. This team is sorely lacking in that department right now.

  • Kelin Blab

    I don’t know I think Quinn was a pure PG, a pass first guy and a leader. Similar to what he was in the NBA.

  • Marsh21

    After watching him handle the ball, pass and set up other players with ease I cannot see this kid sitting at the 2 spot in college. If CTC wants Buss to play some point he will want Blackmon at that position as well.

    Unless he grows his only option at the NBA will be at point.

  • Anonymous

    Great ball-handler, great passer, couldn’t shoot much, team leader…I’d say, yeah, Buckner was a quintessential point guard.

  • Anonymous

    I think a bigger point guard would go well with Yogi. He could always be out there on the court at the same time. Remember, teams that aren’t rebuilding don’t usually have freshmen starting from the very beginning of their career. North Carolina doesn’t play a lot of their freshmen, they usually work their way into the line up. I think they plan recruiting by worst case scenario, and have huge years when everything works out.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, PG is the most important position in the game. Without a solid set of PGs you aren’t going to win much. And putting all of your eggs in one basket is not a good idea if you have national championship aspirations.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait to see how our current recruits attract more players to IU in the future……look what Crean was able to bring in when the current product wasn’t that great

  • Anonymous

    My org did a educational program at chicago hope prep today, and I was looking around fo jalen james. Could not find him though… Is it a recruiting violation if I talk to him about the advantages of joining the Indiana basketball family??

  • IUeconAlum

    No. Talk away.

  • Anonymous

    But not in the “modern” sense of a guy penetrating to the rim and finishing or pulling up and hitting the “tweener” shot. But yes, I agree, he was a pass first, good dribbler, strong on the drive, awesome defender, total team leader type of PG. I think that Ron Patterson can do these things with the addition of very good offensive shooting skills. So we may have a PG-A (Yogi) and a PG-B (Pattterson).