More and more, players are being discovered at earlier ages. Also true, is that the city of Memphis has become a hot spot for college coaches looking for talent. Mix those two things together and you can understand why Memphis (Tenn.) Central sophomore Jarnell Stokes has burst onto the scene so young.
Then again, the fact that he's a sturdily built 6-foot-7 insider with length and skill hasn't hurt when it comes to getting exposure an attention from college coaches.
"I feel like people like that I have size and that I'm a total player," said Stokes. "I also get my grades taken care of and I work. I think I just need to continue to work harder."
A strong kid who is most comfortable operating with his back to the basket, Stokes is a bit of a throwback. Unlike many young big guys who want to try and show off non-existent perimeter skills, he prefers to score over either shoulder, use the glass, dunk and operate at close range.
Already, an impressive group of schools – all of whom he claims scholarship offers from – has taken notice.
One of the programs showing the most attention to this date has been Mike Anderson's Missouri Tigers. Assistants have been out to games and workouts this season and Stokes also had the opportunity to tour Mizzou's facilities when he attended an elite camp last June.
"It was cool, I liked it. I got hurt early so I missed the next three months," Stokes told ShowMeMizzou.com. "There's a player, Tyler Stone, that goes to Missouri who played at my high school. He's the reason I went up to Missouri really."
With Memphis having exploded as a producer of high school basketball talent just as the Memphis University's basketball program has taken off it isn't a surprise that there's tons of pressure from locals to stay home. Stokes admits that the hometown Tigers will be tough to beat. But, for now, he's trying to focus on high school basketball and isn't anywhere near making a decision.
"It's pressure to stay in Memphis," said Stokes. "I like Memphis, that's my favorite school so far. My options are still open but there's pressure to stay home."
"It's way too early to talk about a decision, though."