Not too many 6-7 wings arise as freshmen, but Jalen Lindsey's high-major talent became apparent from day one. The Tennessee native caught our attention at a John Lucas event way back in 2010, and he gathered additional admirers after touring with the Tennessee Travelers on the 17-under circuit during the 2011 summer.
As a sophomore at Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian, Lindsey showcased his smooth scoring tools and picked up offers from Memphis, N.C. State and Alabama, with many more expressing early interest.
He switched from the Travelers to the Georgia Stars for the 2012 EYBL campaign, and for the Stars he began to knock down jump shots at a higher clip and state his case for a spot in the national top 50. Louisville, Florida, Georgia and others joined the scholarship offer fray and pursued him aggressively.
Lindsey led his squad to a state championship this past season, generating significant momentum heading into the spring. By the opening of the April live period, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Providence had jumped squarely into the race.
He announced a school change to Huntington (W.Va.) Prep for his senior season and also moved to the Nike-backed Southern Stampede. In truth, Lindsey didn't perform as well as he might have this past spring and summer, but he certainly proved worthy of his widespread national interest. In what would have been a surprise a year earlier due to his heavy Southeastern suitors, Lindsey committed to Providence in July.
The Friars have recruited in a higher profile fashion recently, and even if Lindsey requires a couple years to mature, he's definitely worth the wait.
Like so many wings in the Class of 2014, Lindsey is very tall and skilled for his position. He's a graceful athlete with explosive one-footed leaping ability and a jump shot that's true to 22 feet. He's best off catch-and-shoot but also can maneuver around screens to launch jumpers from the middle areas as well.
He also handles and passes acceptably for wing forward, and down the road he could become an outstanding rebounder and defender. Lindsey has height, wingspan and quick feet, and with additional muscle and training he actually may stand out on defense sooner than he does as a scorer.
He's also entirely unselfish and has received three summers of battle-hardening experiences on the 17-under circuit. Playing against the country's toughest competition in college will be a simple extension for how he has spent his offseasons in high school.
Given his shooting, coordination, athleticism and size for his position, Lindsey's production at times has been very quiet. He sometimes fades into the background when it seems he could put his fingerprints all over a game.
Gaining strength will help, too, and his dribble could be tighter, but mostly Lindsey needs to simply become a more aggressive competitor. Everything else will follow.
Obviously, Lindsey enjoys too much promise not to rank among the best incoming freshmen to Big East programs. His achilles heel, a lack of consistent production, is something he can address once he joins high Division I basketball and learns (quickly) what he'll be required to do in order to maximize his playing time.
And as long as he accepts coaching and ratchets up his level of play, he could become a big surprise early. Even among the jumbo wings in this class, he's among the best in terms of complete, all-around talent.