Jerel Stephenson, a 6-4, 210-pound guard from Glenn Hills High School, says he plans to take an unofficial visit to Auburn in November to check out the Tigers the weekend of the Georgia at Auburn football game. He is rated a three star prospect by Scout.com for the 2008 signee class.
Despite it being more than a year until he can sign college scholarship papers in November of 2007, he is already attracting a lot of attention from coaches.
"I have offers from Auburn, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Wilmington and I am being recruited by Oklahoma, Miami, South Carolina, Georgia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Illinois," Stephenson tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.
He notes that he has a good relationship with Auburn assistant coach John Cooper and that AU head coach Jeff Lebo saw him in action this summer at the Super Showcase, an AAU tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Stephenson says that he is looking for a college program that has good academics, is not too far from his home in Savannah and a place where he will have a good relationship with the coaching staff. His points out that Auburn could fit all three categories.
The guard says he has a 3.2 grade point average (2.8 in the core) and is currently taking a college level advanced placement course. He plans to take the SAT at the end of his junior year at Glenn Hills High.
Stephenson says he averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game as a sophomore on a sophomore-dominated team. "We got off to a slow start because we were young last season, but we improved as the season went on and we were the runnerup at the region tournament. This year we have everybody back with a transfer coming in so we are expecting to have a strong team."
The guard's AAU coach, Curtis Wheeler, says that he believes Stephenson is a promising Division I level prospect and so is another member of his AAU team, forward Toby Veal, who plays for Johnson High in Savannah.
Stephenson points out that he and Veal are friends who have talked about playing together in college. "We have known each other about three years," the guard says. "He plays the four (power forward) and is about six-foot-eight and is very long defensively. We are both planning to come visit Auburn for the the Georgia football weekend. That should be a good rivalry game."
Stephenson previously was a two-sport athlete, but has given up football to concentrate on hoops. "I decided I have more potential in basketball," he says.
Wheeler says he believes that Stephenson is an exciting young prospect. "He is a slashing type of player," the coach says. "He has the ability to score 25 points per game with eight to 10 assists per game.
"His style of play is like Scotty Pippin when he played for the Chicago Bulls. Jerel is a very smart player like Pippin although he isn't as tall or as athletic, he does a lot of things well on the basketball court. He has a high basketball IQ.
"I have been watching Jerel play since he was 13," Wheeler adds. "He needs to work on his three-point game, which is something he is doing. He usually only shoots two or three per game and normally makes one. He still has two more high school seasons to do that before he goes to college so he will improve.
"Jerel is a hard worker who really loves basketball and knows a lot about the game and the history of the game. I believe he is going to be a very good college player. Coach Lebo at Auburn is coming to see him on Oct. 13th and Coach Cooper is coming on Oct. 20th."