Philadelphia athletes have a reputation of being very confident. Some would say they have "swagger." In the case of 2015 point-guard Jared Armstrong, he learned to develop his confidence from a former Syracuse star. Dion Waiters, recently taken No. 4 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, has had a big influence on the 5'8" prospect. Their relationship has helped Armstrong in many ways, and has been developed over the last few years.
"I met Dion when I was in sixth grade," explained Armstrong. "I was practicing at Life Center with my former AAU team and he saw me play. He really liked my game and talked to me after practice. Since then we have been really good friends. He gives me very good advice, mostly pertaining to basketball."
Armstrong says they don't talk as much as they did when Waiters was in high school, but are still in contact. Before Waiters came to Syracuse, he would give Armstrong advice on a regular basis. Even while at Syracuse, the two stayed in constant contact. Waiters mentored Armstrong on how to act on and off the court. That advice has been very important to Armstrong as he looks to develop his game.
"I'm a very poised player with high confidence," Armstrong said. "I don't panic no matter who I play against. I'm an honest shooter. I always think way ahead of a play. My strengths are I can dribble and always get my teammates involved. I score when needed and make huge plays in clutch situations."
So far, Armstrong has heard from UCLA, George Mason, Boston University, Detroit, North Carolina, and South Florida. Cal Poly is the only school to extend an official offer. But Armstrong is hoping to hear from Syracuse.
"I think Syracuse is known as a guard school that produces pro level talent," he explained. "I think coach (Jim) Boeheim is a very good coach who has been in the game for a long time. He understands how to win a national championship. I think the zone is great. It's hard to breakout and score upon."
Armstrong said he is interested in Syracuse, and his relationship with Waiters has helped him develop that interest.
Armstrong is looking at a variety of factors in a school he could play for in a few years. Academics, athletics, history, and coaching are among the most important criteria for him. However, his mom is going to play a vital role as well.
Said Armstrong, "She will be a big factor with the decision. She's been there since day one, and will continue to be here until the end. She is the reason for who I am today."