Brunson Likes McCaffery

Jalen Brunson comes from good bloodlines. The son of former NBA player, Rick Brunson, already is getting the recruiting push as a sophomore. The point guard from Illinois visited Iowa this past weekend. He talks about that trip and the rest of his recruitment here.

It's been more than 20 years since Fran McCaffery pounded the pavement in Massachusetts pursuing Rick Brunson. The then Notre Dame assistant worked tirelessly trying to secure a commitment from the flashy point guard. In the end, he landed at Temple.

Fast forward to 2012, McCaffery again finds himself courting a Brunson who runs the show. Rick's son, Jalen Brunson, is a 2015 point guard with NLP AAU and Stevenson High in Lincolnshire, IL.

"Me and coach McCaffery talked about how he recruited my dad hard, which I thought was pretty funny," Jalen said.

McCaffery played host to the young Brunson this weekend from his current post, head coach at Iowa.

"The Iowa trip went really well," the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Brunson said. "I had a good experience. I had fun getting to know them. I really like Coach Fran McCaffery."

McCaffery explained to Brunson that he likes his point guard to use his natural ability to create opportunities for himself and others.

"He talked about how he trusts his players," Brunson said. "I thought it was really nice how he gives his players so much trust and the freedom to do what they can do. I really did like that."

Brunson said he began his relationship with Iowa about a month ago when NCAA rules allowed college coaches to begin courting high school sophomores.

An open period began Sept. 9. Coaches have been dropping into workouts all over the country. Brunson said that Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Virginia and Michigan all have been at his open gym in the last week.

"I think I'm approaching it pretty well," Brunson said of the early recruiting attention. "This doesn't happen to a lot of players my age. I'm definitely blessed that it's happened to me. I think I'm taking it very maturely. I'm not going around to friends and drawing attention to myself. I just try to go with the flow."

Rick Brunson is guiding his son's recruitment.

"My dad does pretty much all of this recruiting stuff for me," Jalen said. "Me and him decided that I'm going to focus on my game and not get caught up with that at such a young age."

Jalen said in addition to Iowa and the schools that attended his workouts recently, Wisconsin also has shown quite a bit of interest. He's still awaiting his first scholarship offer.

"Most people would call him a true point guard but sometimes that label means a player his offensively challenged," said Josh Foster, Brunson's coach with NLP. "That's not the case with Jalen. He's a pick-and-roll technician. He can score in bunches. He has a nice mid-range game. His three-point shot needs some work, but it's coming.

"He's a point guard a coach loves. He runs the show and is very coachable."

Brunson said he prefers McCaffery's up-tempo style of play.

"I like to get up and down," he said. "I feel like I can outlast a lot of players in how long I can go. That run-and-gun type of offense is really for me. I don't really like setting up offense because that gives time for the defense to set up, too."

Leadership is what Brunson feels is his best asset. The left-hander considers himself a scoring point guard.

"I try first to get others going, but if I'm feeling it I can go (and score)," he said. "I feel like I'm aggressive on the offense end. On the defensive end, I know I can get better. I have the heart and will to stop someone, I just need to do it more consistently."

Brunson, who wants to study communications in college, is scheduled to visit Indiana's Midnight Madness event on Oct. 20. Atmosphere and support will play a big role in his college choice.

"I look at the fan base. I look at the students; the tailgating and stuff like that," Brunson said. "I'd like a fan base that supports the team. I like for them to be part of a family with the team. Fans can change the momentum of a team."

While Brunson continues to gather information on his campus visits, don't look for the prep sophomore to select a school anytime soon.

"I already have my mind set that I'm making my decision around the beginning of my senior year," he said. "I want to do it before that so I don't have to worry about it. I hope this process keeps getting better and better."


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