Johnson turns in big junior year

High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan’s bid for a state championship ended disappointingly against rival Greensboro Day School in the final of the 3A NCISAA division last weekend, but overall Jalen Johnson profited handsomely from his squad’s season.



There’s an upside and a downside to playing alongside a superstar talent, but 6-5 junior wing Jalen Johnson clearly has benefited from his time with Harry Giles. While Giles commands the lion’s share of the attention and provides the greatest production, Johnson clearly did his part to drive a successful season for Wesleyan.

Johnson did more than share space with Giles, of course. Wesleyan also featured top-100 combo guard Kwe Parker (who missed the latter part of the season with a broken foot) and Wake Forest-bound guard Brandon Childress. The sheer amount of talent precluded Johnson from being a big numbers guy this year, but he elevated his game over the weekend in Asheville and appears to be peaking just in time for spring.

The southpaw said his current stats are 6-5, 165 pounds, so clearly he has a long way to go in terms of strength. Nevertheless, Johnson has begun to fashion a more complete offensive game. He always has been a capable three-point shooter and explosive leaper, but now he’s handling a little more often and slashing to the rim.

As he gains strength he should become a better traffic scorer, and he projects as a versatile long-term defender as well.

At this juncture he claims four scholarship offers.

”Wake Forest, UNC-Greensboro, Old Dominion and NCCU (N.C. Central) (have offered),” Johnson said. “I also have Charleston, George Washington and ECU.”

He understands that further progress is in order yet is encouraged with his current rate of progress.

”I’m happy with how I’ve played this year,” Johnson said. “I’ve just been more comfortable.”

He added that he intends to continue working on his strength as well as his dribbling, which could be tighter. He plans to suit up for the Boo Williams Summer League squad this spring and summer.



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