Hi. My name is Jalen James, 2013 commit to Illinois! I'm a 6'-4" point guard out of the West side of Chicago. I play AAU for Mike Mullins's Illinois Wolves 16U team. I go to a small 1A private school called Chicago Hope Academy.
Many people do not know much about the school, and that's why my parents, brother and I picked it! It was a chance for me to get a great education and to start something for myself.
My freshman year, I wasn't really known as a basketball player. So I told myself at night that I was going to be the top point guard in the state, starting today!
That summer, I started working out at Attack Athletics with Tim Grover, my brother Jonathan James, and D.J. Baker. I sometimes went twice a day just to reach my first goal! Summer past by, and I was ready for my 10th grade year of school. I told myself I was going to work hard in the classroom and on the court.
The season started, and the first tournament of the year I took off! I scored 21 the first game, 26 the second game, and 28 points and 15 assists the third game. I made first team all-tournament, and then my name and my "small1A school" started to take a buzz! Schools started to take hand!
The Jacobs Holiday Tourney was when I met my AAU coach Mike Mullins. He watched some of my games. I really didn't play well; in fact, I missed a wide open dunk! Anyway he still wanted me. I guess he saw something in me!
AAU season started, and Coach Mullins pushed me to my top levels. I play point guard for him, and he doesn't play with the point guard position, trust me! haha. One stupid mistake, I'm sitting next to him. I really thank him for sitting me and yelling at me, etc., because it made me a better point guard.
By the time spring ended, I had almost a full list of schools after me. Just because I hit my open shots and played hard D. I played hard all the time and got all my teams open shots.
My best game of the AAU season had to be vs the EG All-Stars. The funny thing about it, I only had two points. But I ended the game with 12 or 13 assists! It really doesn't matter to me if I score. If I can help my team win with rebounds and assists, I'm happy with myself!
June popped up, and schools really wanted J Rockem! I went to some camps and team camps where I played with my school. On June 22nd, I go up to Illinois Team Camp to play in front of Bruce Weber! I didn't play to well at first, but then I slowed down and started to kill. After the day ended, I had an offer.
I sat down with my dad and brother. We called my mother and talked. Afterward, I called Mike Mullins and had a long talk with him, my brother, and dad all on speaker phone. At the end of the day it's my choice, and I made the choice to commit to Illinois!
The whole coaching staff was happy! I was happy. My mom was happy. Dad was really happy. Brother was extra happy, and that's what counts. Some people I know, friends and family, thought it was stupid but hey, they won't be playing point guard for Illinois. I will, so I could care less what they think!
As of now, I'm out with a calf strain. It sucks to be out because I wanna play with my Wolves's teammates and enjoy the championships that we are winning. But hey, everything happens for a reason!
I do need to add a couple of pounds, so as of now I'm at Attack working out, lifting and getting shots up since I can't play. My summer so far is great, my Illinois family and my family are both happy, and at the end of the day, I'm happy. That's what counts!