2016 Intro: Sacha Killeya-Jones

Sacha Killeya-Jones isn't too proud to thank Jalek Felton every once and a while.

He gets a few more open dunks and layups each game because of Felton's vision and skill.

Coaches flock to Team Felton 16U games, bringing additional attention to Killeya-Jones and his teammates, hoping to make an impression on Felton.

Killeya-Jones is grateful for the chance to play in front of the coaches he's watched on television all his life.

His focus now, however, is on taking advantage of the opportunity in front of him. Playing high-major Division I basketball. It's a feat his AAU coach, Frederick Cannon, believes he is on pace to achieve.

"I think he definitely has the potential to play at that level just because of how fast he's grown in the last year," said Cannon, head coach of Team Felton. "If he keeps progressing at the rate he's going, I think the sky is the limit for Sacha."

A 6-10, 190-pound class of 2016 forward and native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Killeya-Jones has only been seriously focused on basketball for two years. He attends Woodberry (Va.) Forrest School, an all-male boarding school.

"He was in middle school and at the time we were looking for a school that offered strong academics, good social development as a young man and a great football program," his mother, Ley Killeya-Jones explained. "He was a quarterback and we thought he might outgrow football because he was 6-7 as a freshman."

Once the growing youngster decided basketball was the sport he'd focus on, he linked up with Team Felton. It was there, last July, that the UNC staff first watched him. Since then, UNC assistant C.B. McGrath has kept in contact with Cannon. He also watched Felton, Killeya-Jones and Team Felton last month at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest.

What McGrath saw was a wiry athlete transitioning from exclusively playing in the post to a combo forward.

"One thing I bring to the table is being an athletic defender and a pretty good rim protector," Sacha Killeya-Jones said. "I run the floor well and I'm developing into more of a wing player and less of a post player. I'm playing more like a slasher and diving to the rim for put backs. I think my biggest skills are running the floor and just making plays athletically."

Added Cannon: "He puts a lot of pressure on opposing posts because of his ability to run the floor and because of his elusiveness. His offensive ability has expanded to the point where he can stretch defenses out some, almost like a stretch ‘4.' His versatility is the main attribute that makes him so valuable."

Killeya-Jones draws his playing style from a unique set of players he tries to emulate. He loves Kevin Durant's shooting prowess, appreciates Julius Randle's ability to get to the rim seemingly at will and tries to "play bouncy around the rim" like Florida sophomore Chris Walker.

"I think that skillset makes me a ‘3' or a stretch ‘4' in college," he said. "I can't see myself playing the ‘5' unless I put on a ton of weight, but I haven't been able to recently."

Still in its early stages, Killeya-Jones's recruitment has picked up in the last month. He's added an offer from UNC-Charlotte and has started to receive interest from Virginia and Pittsburgh. He's consistently heard from Richmond, Old Dominion and East Carolina.

Growing up only minutes from UNC's campus definitely could play into his ultimate decision, were the Tar Heels to make him a priority.

"I love UNC as a school," he said. "It would be in my best-case scenario schools, probably one of my top three. Being from Chapel Hill, there's a lot to like about it and love about it."

A potential decision for the 15-year-old forward is a long way off though. His singular focus is on getting better.

"It's way too early to make any major decisions," he said. "I want to let my game improve, have top-level grades, be a top-level player and have my choice of top-level schools. I want to visit as many schools as possible so I'm not going into any decision blindly."

Sacha Killeya-Jones

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