Felton A Regular In Chapel Hill

Following an instructional session at his invite-only guard camp in July, Stephen Curry asked for a few minutes to work one-on-one with Jalek Felton.

Arguably the NBA’s best shooter, Curry saw a small tweak that could be made in the 6-3 guard’s shooting motion.

“He knows my uncle (Raymond) and I met him a while back at Muggsy Bogues Camp,” said Felton, the No. 12-ranked overall player in the 2017 class. “He kind of remembered me from that and said he wanted to work with me. He was just saying I need to jump off my shot a little more and I really need to get a higher arc and get the ball out of my face so I can get a good look at my target. He kept saying ‘don’t aim it, just let it ride.’”

It might be surprising that the nephew of a nine-year NBA veteran gets a little star-struck around other NBA players. It happened to Felton, he said, because of Curry’s energy.

“He was so great,” explained Felton. “It’s not like he was just like walking around, he was actually involved doing the drills with us. He was going to different stations and doing what we did. Having an opportunity to work out with him, knowing he loves the game how I do, that was real good.”

Already known as a competent shooter, the hour-long tutorial led to improvement from deep in subsequent tournaments for Felton.

“He taught me so much that I feel a lot more comfortable now than I did before the camp,” Felton explained. “It’s changed me and I’ve seen my numbers going up since.”

Surveying the high school basketball landscape, identifying the country’s best players and finding a way to compete with them was one of Felton’s goals entering the summer.

Through Adidas Nations events in Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas, the UnderArmour circuit with Team Felton and specialty events like Curry’s inaugural camp, he accomplished them.

“I think I did every well, “said Felton, a native of Mullins, S.C. “I competed and battled with guys who I know are going to be great. Some of them made me better and I tried to do the same with them.”

When he’s not playing organized basketball, Felton gets better by working with his uncle and trainer, Gilbert Abraham. The two usually train together in Chapel Hill at the Smith Center. He’s also played pickup with UNC’s current team several times this summer.

“I can’t even remember how many times I’ve been there,” said Felton. “Every time I get free, I’m there. It’s not really a visit to me; it’s just like playing pickup and being with my uncle.”

Thanks to the pickup games, Felton has been able to come to some on-the-court conclusions about the current version of the Tar Heels.

“Marcus Paige, hands down, is the best player out there,” Felton said. “His shot is great and just how quick he is. He’s quicker than he looks on TV. Theo Pinson – I knew about him, but I didn’t know how it was going to be to guard him and play with him. I didn’t know he was that good and could jump like that. Just being on the court with him and the other guys, knowing that’s going to be the Carolina team, that’s good for me.”

Felton will see plenty of the Tar Heels next week. He’ll be in Chapel Hill to watch a few of the team’s practices before it leaves for exhibition games in the Bahamas.

“I talked to Coach Roy (Williams) a couple of days ago and he told me to come back then,” said Felton. “They’ve been in contact with me a lot more than they have recently. I think I’ll get an offer from them during the school year.”

Despite public declarations of his love for Carolina, Felton called his recruitment “open.” He’s received interest in the last few weeks from Syracuse, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Kansas and N.C. State.

“I like Kentucky and I like Syracuse,” said Felton. “But Carolina, it’s something about it that stands out more than other schools. Wake Forest, as soon as their coach comes into town, they’re supposed to offer. I’ve been talking to them and N.C. State a lot.”

Aside from his visits next week, Felton hopes to take trips to a few of the schools he’s interested in. He also plans to attend “Late Night with Roy” in Chapel Hill on Oct. 3.

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