Negron is an undersized four with a motor that never stops running, and though he is just about 6’-7” tall now, he plays much taller than his listed height. If he continues to grow, he will be a serious monster in the paint.
Still, his youth means that some areas of his game are a work in progress, and he identified a few specific areas where he knows he can get better.
"Just looking to expand my game,” Negron said. "I want to get more comfortable between 15 and 18 feet out. That and I want to improve my ball handling to become a more versatile player.”
Negron’s role in grassroots basketball will be a bit different than his position on his high school team. But for the most part, his mindset is no different, and his motor will be his identity.
"We had a big team, so I was able to go outside some,” he said of his Larkin team. "I led our team in rebounds though. My role really is just to play hard and bring the energy."
One of the most noticeable traits Negron brings to the table is his motor. Playing with constant intensity and effort allows him to not only pick up his own game, but it is also infectious to those around him.
"That what my high school coach stresses,” he said. "When I play with a lot of energy and motor, it picks up my team’s energy. It gives me confidence and keeps me going."
Playing aggressively, Negron does draw a lot of fouls, and he knows that when he steps to the free throw line, he has to convert at a higher rate.
"My free throw shooting is one thing that’s huge. My numbers are lowest there,” he said. "I need to get my turnover rate down too."
Recruiting to this point has been slow for the sophomore, but especially after an impressive showing during the live period with the Mac Irvin Fire, Negron should be a hot target in no time.
"I haven’t heard as much lately,” he said, "but I’ve been talking to coaches from Wisconsin, a couple Creighton coaches, and coaches from Northwestern. In June I plan on going out to Creighton for one of their camps."
Negron wants more than just a great basketball program in a college. When he says he wants a good education, he means it.
"I’m looking for what any player is looking for: A place to get a great education and continue develop as a player,” he said. "Education is vital, because you never know how far basketball can take you."
For now, Negron isn’t as focused on his recruitment, but with the attention that is about to come his way, he may have no choice.
"I think right now I’m going to focus more on our team,” he said, "but when things calm down, I’ll look more at recruiting."
Illinois is aware of Negron and has seen him on a couple of occasions. Illini assistants have seen Negron at his high school and most recently watched him at the Nike Spring Showdown in Romeoville, IL.
"I’ve talked to Coach Parham before,” he said. "He came to an open gym. I haven’t spoken to them as much recently, though."
One thing that has been noticeable about Negron in the past is how frequently he wears Illinois gear to events. He didn’t hesitate at all in saying he has long been a fan of the in-state Illini. Should Illinois pick up the heat, they would quickly rise to the top as a serious contender in his recruitment.
"Most definitely (Illinois would be up there),” he said. "I grew up an Illinois fan ever since I was young. They’re a big ten school and a big time school. It would mean a lot. Of course I want to stay patient and keep my options open, but they would be a huge one (if they recruited me harder)."