JUCO PF's Coach Talks Jamison's Plans

Larry Brown has used any and all free days he has had this season to fly around the country so that he could meet with recruits and watch them in action. One of these trips was to West Plains, Missouri, to watch junior college power forward Justin Jamison, who recently received an SMU offer.

Jamison's coach at Missouri State-West Plains Yancey Walker said Brown did not get to see the big man play in a game but instead watched him practice.

"He came to watch the practice and I thought that Justin did fine," Walker said. "Justin's kind of a hot commodity just because of his size and the fact that a lot of the bigger guys signed early."

Jamison stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 260 pounds but has greater athleticism than one would expect from a player his size.

Jamison has already been a professional athlete as a pitcher in the Texas Rangers' minor league system. However, after falling out of love with baseball and suffering a torn labrum, the young man decided to make the transition to college basketball.

"Justin's biggest advantage is he's 23-years-old and he's already made the mistakes that 18-year-olds make. So he's already learned from the things he needs to learn from," Walker said. "And even physically he's a man. He's 260, 265 and just looks like a pro athlete (with) broad shoulders. He's built like a pro."

This year Jamison is averaging around 10 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Walker says that his player is picking up his second sport quickly.

"Early in the season he was getting in foul trouble because his guards were putting him in bad spots by not guarding the ball so he's had a few double-doubles to get those averages," Walker said. "He's got a nice touch from outside. He's a decent free throw shooter. His best basketball is ahead of him.

"Just now is he what I would call the equivalent of a college freshman. In his high school he didn't play and he didn't play summers because he was a baseball player. Under the right coach and the right tutelage I think he can play professionally, if not in the NBA because he's already been through the wringer as a pro athlete then definitely in Europe."

Because of his maturity and ability to contribute right away, many schools have been looking at Jamison but he has begun to narrow down his options.

"The schools that he is most interested in (in no particular order) are SMU, Texas Tech, Wichita State, Oregon, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh. Those are the ones I've heard from the most and heard the most about," Walker said. "(He likes SMU because of) Coach Brown, because, I mean you know. Coach Brown would be the main reason he would want to go there.

"He's got a chance to be a pro in two sports and if Larry Brown called anyone in any front office in the NBA and say take a chance on this kid and they'll probably do it."

While Ohio State may seem like the ideal choice for Jamison, a native of Ohio, Walker says the power forward is looking for the best place for him to develop into a professional basketball player. Walker expects Jamison to take an unofficial visit to Ohio State and then take official visits to the other five schools high on his list.


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