2017 point guard Jaylen Hands was among the headliners on the first day of the Nike Extravaganza on Friday.
And Hands, a UCLA signee, certainly showed why he’s so highly thought of, scoring 34 points for El Cajon (Calif.) Foothills Christian in a loss to Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy.
Hands, a 6-foot-2 lead guard, was aggressive off the dribble and used his quickness to consistently get by the first line of defense and get into the paint. Although he looked to drive the ball often, Hands was under control and played at a good pace.
Playing against a team that had considerable more talent, Hands had to do everything for Foothills, which meant he was forced into taking some difficult, contested shots. Hands connected on multiple mid-range pull-ups, runners, finished at the rim and knocked down long-range shots.
Overall it was a strong showing for Hands, who was recently selected for the McDonald’s All-American game.
Q&A with Jaylen Hands
How’s your season going?
It going alright. You know, we had a rough stretch losing 3 of the last 4 games but we got some good wins and some bad losses. We’ll be alright.
How do you think you’re playing individually?
I could do better, I could make more shots, take better shots, you know there is always room for improvement but as far as me going out and competing, I am satisfied with the way I’m competing.
What does Steve Alford say he wants you to get better at before you get to campus?
They’re real big on pace so I he wants me to keep my pace up, we’re losing a lot of players next year so I got to be ready to step in and compete.
It seems you are more under control on the floor, do you feel that?
A little bit, I’m really finding my game in terms of pace and where I want to take my shots and where I got to be aggressive and where I’m not aggressive so I feel better about that.
Have you been following this UCLA run? What do you think about them?
Following them every game, man…It’s crazy the way they have changed from a year with Lonzo and TJ there. It’s crazy how much they came up from a year.
Have you been to many games?
I’ve been to the big games, the Arizona [game], Michigan [game], so I have been to a lot.
How do you see yourself fitting in with that team next year?
We’ll see when I get there, but I think I can really help. It’s not really for me to tell coach when I get there so I’m just preparing myself to the best I can I’ll make a difference.