Jelan Kendrick offers a multi faceted game, offensively being able to create for others and score the ball. His versatility allows him to play the 1 through 3. It has led to dozens of college coaches positioning for his services. Rivals.com has recently listed him as the fourth best overall player in his class.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jelan Tuesday night as the LeBron James Skills Academy wrapped up. Jelan laughed about LeBron, “I didn’t get to play against him but got to see how big he was.” Jelan by all reports has continued his strong play this week in Ohio and with the active recruiting period in July currently going, I asked if he expected anymore attention from college coaches than previously before. “Not really, I’ve already developed a good relationship with all the coaches. They just might push for a commit while time goes by.”
Jelan is in no rush to make a college decision stating that, “I’d like to cut the list down 10 in the fall before my season then after that cut it down to a final 3.” Jelan has taken unofficial visits to; Georgetown, Miami, Marquette, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Stating that the latter three have been in touch the longest due to proximity. He’s unsure of whether he’ll taken anymore unofficials. “My dad and AAU coach kinda handle that part but I’ll decide on my five officials (visits).” Jelan’s school list a lengthy one that still remains as it has always been.
With an offer list of 32, that includes schools from Oregon to Georgetown, location is not an issue. Playing in a college town would be nice, Jelan said. It also would not matter. “Anywhere would be good. With the addition of me and others, hopefully we could turn a place into a college town.”
When Jelan makes his decision, academics will play a large factor. I asked if he’s started to look into what schools can offer academically. “Oh yeah, definitely. Business and law are the two I’m interested in.” Jelan has a strong head on his shoulders and with all the recent allegations against certain high major programs, I posed the question of what he makes of those situations as a highly touted recruit. “You know, from my standpoint, me and my family believe if success is in your future, it’ll happen. If the bigger man upstairs has it in your plan why jeopardize it? Why deal with agents and the outside stuff. And it’s a long process but one that’s well waited for. You have to make sacrifices, and one of those sacrifices is time. Just wait your time. And things will work out for the best.”
On the floor, Jelan has expressed interest in playing the point guard position at the next level. I asked what he has to offer at that spot and how he can improve, “My length and size. The ability to get my team flowing, rebound from the guard spot. I handle well in transition, and score well when the opportunity provides itself. I have to get stronger, and work on everything. To be a better player, going to Deron Williams camp and here helps. To see how pros make it look so effortless and you listen and study as HS players..I Try to mimic my game from pro players and talk to them If I can and see what techniques they use to make the game so easy and efficient.” While he’d like to play the 1, Jelan does not want to confined to one position, ” I want to play the 1 and 2. In and out. Really, anybody can bring the ball up, I don’t want to be strictly a PG. Whoever gets it can push it. And, I’ve played in every offense at some level, Princeton, triangle, you know, so I feel I’ll be prepared for anything.”
On the court this summer, Jelan has joined up with the Memphis Magic AAU Team. There even have been rumors circulating about a move to Memphis, something Jelan quickly dispelled “No. I’m staying in Georgia for now and the high school season. Me and Joe (Jackson) just linked up and decided we wanted to play in a few tournaments together. It’s just a one time thing.”
Jelan’s summer schedule will include trips to Memphis and Las Vegas for tournaments with the Magic, while he’ll play with his AAU Team, Hoop Planet in tournaments in Kansas City and Milwaukee.
With the topic of befriending players along the way in the summer circuit and through the recruiting process, I asked about whether that could be a factor in choosing a school, using as an example Georgetown commit Markel Starks. “Me and Markel actually met back on a visit to the University of Georgia and we really gelled, and now, you know he got to go to his dream school.” Would something like that influence his decision, “No. not at all. I’ll do what’s best for me.” He also mentioned that Mfon Udofia an Noel Johnson were two of the better competitors he had faced during his high school career.
As Jelan continues on this summer and fall, one goal is to increase his strength, noting “My AAU coach is setting me up with a personal trainer. Right now I’m 186 and the goal is to get to 205 to 210 for the start of college.” Jelan is also standing in at 6’6 1/2 right now.
Jelan also already has laid out some specific goals for the future, “To be a standout player here at LeBron camp, to leave my name as a coachable player, make the McDonalds and Jordan games, play in the Elite 24, and to win a state championship.” Most of all, “To just enjoy my senior year. Not to many people get the opportunity that I have. I just want to go out with a bang.”