CHICAGO -- It wasn't supposed to be easy. And that's, in part, the reason why he did it.
North Carolina signee Jalek Felton's transfer to Gray Collegiate Academy for his senior season has been a learning process.
His team opened the season at the Chicago Elite Classic last weekend and were routed by a school from Kansas, with Felton struggling to the tune of seven points. He followed that up by hitting the 30-point mark in his next two games, including a 26-point second half capped by a buzzer-beater in a come-from-behind win on Thursday.
While he's still finding his footing, to a degree, Felton said he's very happy in his new school as he begins the final chapter of his high school basketball career.
"It's fun - it's an adjustment," he said. "I'm still trying to continue to work. Really just bringing that intensity. This isn't like the talent (in high school) back at home so I've had to adjust. There are other great high school teams all over the country, so I'm trying to take that mindset and apply it to college knowing that I have to get used to everything."
One of the changes that Felton has made coming from Mullins High School is that he doesn't have to take as many shots. Playing with other Division I talent, he doesn't have to be the go-to scorer at all times for Gray. Felton is trying to become more of an overall floor leader while also improving his intensity on the defensive end.
"It's been a tough road. [My new teammates are] better players. I have to trust my teammates more," Felton said. "Back home, I had to take a lot of shots, kind of be the man and do everything. Here I can share the ball. I have to be a better teammate to my new teammates. Really just playing my game. As point guard I need to run the team and run the show and if [Coach] can just sit and focus on coaching defense he would be really happy with that."
When he's not focusing on his senior season, Felton has tried to watch as many North Carolina games as possible.
"It's off-and-on [watching North Carolina]," Felton said. "We looked really good when we went out to Maui. Won that. Won a couple games before that. A tough loss to Indiana -- didn't rebound the ball ... and once they rallied it was a little too late."
Felton has spent a lot of time monitoring the play of junior point guard Joel Berry this season but he's also decided who he thinks is the key to UNC's ultimate success this season.
"Joel Berry, his play has been pretty steady and consistent. I think he's gotten a lot better," Felton said. "Isaiah Hicks is the guy who is going to take us over the hump. As long as he works hard, stays in the game, stays out of foul trouble, we'll be alright."