Pull-en No Punches

It's an impressive list: Doc Rivers, Michael Finley, Shannon Brown, Dee Brown. Jacob Pullen hasn't gotten the exposure that most of his Proviso East (Ill.) predecessors received, but he's starting to get more than his share of attention from college coaches.

Many players would look at trying to follow in the footsteps of guys like Doc Rivers, Michael Finley and Shannon and Dee Brown as a negative because all of the expectations that follow the next star at basketball power Proviso East (Ill.).

Not Jacob Pullen.

``It makes it easier for me," said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior guard. ``Maywood loves me. They just love their basketball players and everyone is 100 percent behind me because of the tradition we have here."

It didn't always appear that Pullen would be the next standout player out of Proviso East. The speculation was that he'd be better as a shortstop heading into high school.

``I was terrible back in middle school in basketball," Pullen admitted. "But Tai (Streets) told me he was going to make me better."

Streets, the NFL wide receiver who coaches nearly every tournament during the spring and summer, was right.

Pullen comes off an impressive junior campaign in which he averaged 20.7 points, 8.3 assists and 5 steals per game and despite playing at one of the most high-profile high school programs in the country, he's still found a way to remain under the radar.

Pullen has led his Meanstreets team to a trio of Elite Eight berths already in April –including one at Kingwood in Houston.

Pullen is a guy who can run a team, but also pick his spots when to step up and score. One college coach compared him to Chauncey Billups because of his ability to do a variety of things with the ball in his hands.

``I think I can do it all," Pullen said. "I can run the point, but if I need to go to off-guard, I can score. I distribute the ball, play defense. The only thing I can't really do is dunk on someone. I can dunk – just not on someone. That's why I think Derrick Rose has got me – he can dunk on someone."

Pullen said he's got plenty of interest, but three schools stand out at this point: Xavier, Dayton and Marquette. Both Xavier and Dayton have offered, according to Pullen – who also mentioned Iowa State, Miami, South Carolina, Purdue, Notre Dame, DePaul, Nebraska, Southern Illinois and St. Louis.

``The key for me is the relationship with the coach," Pullen said of what will be important to him in the recruiting process. "With me being a point guard, I need the coach to trust me."

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