And for Jaylen Fornes, his greatest blessing as a player also can be a curse. Not only have fans — and some college coaches — regarded him as a one dimensional player, in the past he at times actually has played a little too much for his jumper.
But no more. The Team Loaded N.C. performer has showcased newfound athleticism and explosive leaping ability over the past year, evidence by this dunk at last weekend’s David Rose MDC:
Though Fornes doesn’t possess a lightning first step, he possesses fine size for a combo guard, a solid frame and now a penchant for powerful dunks and aggressive drives.
And, of course, he still can shoot the ball. Albeit streaky, when he’s on Fornes can carry an offense. His shooting stats with Loaded on the Adidas circuit have been subpar relative to what he’s capable of doing — and has shown during the high school season — but his form and track record suggest he’ll provide ample perimeter impact in college.
”When those guys are out, I get to step up into that dominant spot and lead the team,” Fornes said.
As for the slam:
“I knew I had it in me, just needed the opportunity,” he said with sly smile. “I actually was most athletic when I was like 15, but then had some injuries and am just getting back healthy.”
More significantly for the next level, Fornes is attempting to prove to coaches that he’s a combo, rather than an undersized wing. He isn’t a pure game manager but certainly handles and defends well enough to spend some time at either backcourt spot.
”I want to become more of a point and solidified combo guard,” Fornes said. “So, say a point guard gets tired, I can step in with no problem.”
”Tennessee hasn’t really seen me play yet consistently. That’s all they’re waiting on (to offer). Georgetown just likes the fact that I can play any guard spot. They don’t like to call them ones or twos, they just call them guards.”
Fornes intends to attend the Volunteers’ elite camp this summer and likely East Carolina’s as well.