In late December in the opening round of the Proviso West Holiday tournament, Proviso East guard Jacob Pullen had an off night. In a 55-53 overtime loss to Fenwick High, with DePaul assistant coach Gary DeCesare and Illinois assistant Tracy Webster looking on, Pullen finished with a subpar 10 points on four of 18 shooting from the field.
Pullen blamed the performance on being under the weather. "I just felt bad," said Pullen. "I wasn't feeling good. I had throat pain. I had a real bad cold. I didn't get much sleep that night. I was tired. My shot wasn't falling."
The next afternoon Pullen followed that up with 16 points and five assists in a 67-36 rout of Evanston. "I got a good night's rest," Pullen said. "I just tried to not worry about that and make sure my big fellow (center Brian Carlwell) had a good game."
Pullen has been receiving interest from a number of colleges including Ball State, Dayton, DePaul, George Washington, Illinois, Indiana State, Iowa, Missouri, and Southern Illinois. As of late, Notre Dame, Purdue and UNLV have entered the picture. Wisconsin has also come on recently. Pullen's former teammate Mickey Perry is redshirting for the Badgers as a freshman this season. Jacob took an unofficial visit to Purdue for their home game last weekend. He attended the DePaul vs. Notre Dame game in Chicago on January 7th and is considering attending the DePaul vs. Villanova game on February 11th. He is also considering taking an unofficial visit to Notre Dame.
At Proviso West, DePaul assistant coach Gary DeCesare, Illinois assistant Tracey Webster, Missouri assistant Lance Irvin, and a Ball State assistant coach all came out to see Pullen play. Pullen has yet to receive a scholarship offer from a high major school, but that doesn't have him concerned. "I'm not really worried about that," said Pullen. "I'm just trying to make sure have a good season and make it downstate. Coach DeCesare is one of my favorites, that's why DePaul will always be one of my favorites. He saw me play bad yesterday and he saw me play good today. I'm not sure about the other schools, I know Coach Decesare was there. I really like DePaul."
Pullen is a distant cousin of St. Joseph's guard Demetri McCamey. The two have been playing basketball against each other since one-one-one games in the Pullen driveway when they were in the third grade. It's no wonder that Pullen seems to have his best performances against St. Joe's. In the St. Charles East tournament title game against the St. Joe's Chargers, Pullen dropped a game-high 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and was six for nine from three point range.
"Jacob loves the competition," said Proviso East coach David Chatman. "He's great at stepping up to the plate when things get tough. He just loves being competitive with some of the guys that are supposed to be the best players. It brings the best out of him. But then again I'm in the situation now where I'm trying to get him to play like that every night. He's maturing to that level. He's going to be a wonderful, excellent player to watch for the next two years."
Pullen is not quite a complete player yet, there are areas of his game where he would like to improve. "I would say my defensive quickness," said Pullen. "I play good on the ball defense, but sometimes I might get lost."
Pullen's coach agrees on that score. "His biggest area of improvement is his defense," said Chatman. "He's really working on becoming a defensive specialist. He reminds me so much of (University of Illinois senior guard) Dee Brown in that area. Dee didn't always concentrate on becoming the best defensive player his sophomore and junior year at Proviso. But, his senior year Dee was going through the same thing that Jacob's going through right now. He's looking to be that person that wants to guard the top player on the other team. He wants to not only stop them, but he wants to play his best offensive game against that person. He's really working on becoming a complete, total player."
Many great guards have come through the Proviso East program, yet there is one that Chatman compares the most to Pullen. "He reminds me so much of Dee Brown," said Chatman. "I saw Dee Brown come into this program as a freshman. He reminds me of Dee in his competitiveness and the way he's willing to step up and be the leader. Right now he's doing a great job, doing it right along with (University of Illinois commitment) Brian Carwell. We've got a lot of good things to look forward to during the season."
Stay tuned to WeAreDePaul.com for the latest updates on Jacon Pullen.
Jacob Pullen Moving Along with Proviso East
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