Bloomington – Jalen Packer is ready for the spotlight.
After playing for the Evansville Basketball Club last season, the 6'3" point guard from recently crowned Class 3A state champion Princeton (Ind.) H.S. has made the move to the Indiana Elite program this summer. Now, he'll get the chance to not only play with other big names in the 2011 class such as Cody Zeller, Spencer Turner and Marshall Plumlee, but against some of the top high school players from around the country.
That, in turn, will give one of the state's up-and-coming Class of 2011 prospects a chance to get noticed by more college coaches as well.
"(The move to Indiana Elite) is going to help me a lot," Packer said. "We'll be familiar with more players and get a chance to play against better players, and that's going to help us improve and get ready for the next level."
Packer is already showing that he's a player with a future beyond the high school ranks. One of three standout sophomores on Princeton's title team this past season along with Dontray and Rontray Chavis, Packer averaged 14.3 points and 5.6 assists per game. He helped guide Princeton to a 28-0 record, capped by an 81-79, double-overtime win over Rochester in last month's state title game.
Midway through his sophomore season Indiana Elite Coach Bob Pryor talked with Packer's father about joining his program in the summer, and Packer was in town this past weekend working out with his new AAU teammates and getting ready for next weekend's IndyBall Classic.
With the Jordan Hulls headed to IU and Ray McCallum relocating to Michigan, Packer will be one of the new point guards that Pryor counts on to lead a relatively young 17-and-under squad along with Matt Carlino and Tipton's Greg Dickey.
"I think I'm a player who can get into the lane easy, dish it out to the open guy, and I can see over defenders," Packer said. "I'm going to try to do that all summer."
While those are some of the skills he already possesses, Packer is hoping to refine some other areas of his game throughout the spring and summer months as well.
"I'm trying to improve on my outside jump shot," Packer said. "In the state game they left me open a lot and I couldn't hit much. I was about 2-9 in the game, so I wasn't really comfortable with the 3 that game, so I'm going to work on that this summer."
As that part of his game comes around, more college programs figure to take notice. Packer said he's already getting some level of interest from Indiana, Illinois, Butler and a couple of schools from the Big 12, although he's still waiting for his first scholarship offer.
While Indiana hasn't offered yet, IU Coach Tom Crean has appeared to take some interest in Packer. He watched Princeton play Zeller's Washington H.S. team during the regular season, and was also on hand for the Class 3A final March 28. Crean also had Packer on campus for Indiana's regular season game against Illinois in mid-February for an unofficial visit.
Packer said he's been a fan of Indiana since he was about 10 years old and is hoping that IU's interest in him only intensifies in the coming months.
"I like Coach Crean," Packer said. "I'm not that familiar with his style yet, but hopefully I can talk to him a little more and get familiar with his style because I like Indiana a lot."
More and more schools figure to find a lot they like about Packer and his game throughout the course of the upcoming AAU season. That's when interest will likely begin to turn into offers, something the Evansville-area guard would welcome.
"I'm going to let it come when it does," Packer said. "I'm not really anxious or expecting one, but maybe it will come sooner than I thought."
Princeton's Packer Ready to Shine
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