With five-star big men like Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander, it is easy to see why the Mac Irvin Fire are one of the best AAU teams in the country. But 2015 point guard Jalen Brunson from Stevenson (IL) might be the most important player on the entire roster.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound sophomore has emerged as the team leader and it showed during last week's Nike EYBL in Dallas. Brunson totaled 36 points, 18 assists, and just 2 turnovers as the Fire went 3-1 in their four games.
"I played alright," he said. "I really tried to get my teammates involved, especially Jahlil. I tried to get down on offense and get him quick shots."
Brunson showed off his poise and intelligence all weekend. He is a talented, fearless kid who can knock down open shots and get to the rim with ease. He plays with great body control and has a unique ability to get others involved.
"I'm good at running my team and being a vocal leader," Brunson said. "I can also be a really good shooter when I step into my shot, but I'm best at finding my teammates in good positions for them to make plays."
Brunson does not have elite athleticism or speed and must still develop on defense. But he might be the most complete guard in the state of Illinois. With off-the-charts basketball IQ and decision-making ability, Brunson has started being recruited by more and more schools recently.
"I'm just taking it slow," he said. "I'm waiting to take visits when I can do some things. Maybe when the season is over. Right now, I'm just trying to play basketball."
He already picked up an offer from SMU in January and says the coaching staff has told him all the right things so far.
"I think it's a great school, they have a great coach in Larry Brown," he said. "They are trying to build up a really good program, but I am still learning about SMU. I have been talking to the coaching staff a lot, but not as much since January. They were really on me during holiday tournament season."
Last season, Brunson led Stevenson to the 4A state title game, where they eventually lost to Chicago Simeon. The lefty averaged 21.8 points and shot over 60 percent on three pointers throughout the season.
His father, Rick Brunson, is a former NBA player and currently the assistant coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. Jalen said he plans on making a college decision before the start of his senior year. He also holds offers from Creighton, DePaul, Illinois, Purdue and Xavier.
Brunson Talks SMU Offer
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