Chicago Colleges: Jalen James
Illinois’ two Class of 2012 recruits, Crete-Monee point guard Michael Orris and Prospect combo guard Mike LaTulip, are hopeful to be playing for the Illini next season after the announcement of new coach John Groce on Thursday.
Orris is the Illini’s lone Class of 2012 letter of intent signee. LaTulip was recruited as a preferred walk-on.
“I intend to be at Illinois next season,” Orris said. “But you still got to talk to the coach, feel around and that sort of thing. I would like to talk to him and my parents. I would just like to get to know him and build a relationship like you do any coach with the recruiting process.”
James, a 6-foot-3 point guard, changed schools to concentrate on his academics, according to his club team coach Mike Mullins. James officially enrolled in La Lumiere on Thursday morning.
“The advantages academically of being a residential prep school environment where there’s tutors before class, small class sizes, study tables every night, ACT learning and six-day-a-week studies, the James family thought this was the best move to prepare Jalen for college and the ACT,” said Mullins, who runs the Illinois Wolves. “Hope was a wonderful school. James appreciated all the opportunities he had there. This offered an opportunity to get some rigorous academic preparation, which his family thought he may need.”
La Lumiere coach Alan Huss said a normal day at the school includes a full morning and afternoon of classes, basketball practice, two hours of proctored study tables in the evening, a couple 30-minute free periods throughout the day and lights out at 10:30 p.m.
“The way the day’s set up there’s not a lot of outside influences,” Huss said. “It’s just school and basketball, and school is first. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but I think he was torn because he felt some loyalty to his school, high school teammates and his team. This move is about him being in the best position to have success as a freshman at the University of Illinois.”
Mullins said James should have no trouble qualifying for college and being eligible as a freshman at Illinois if he does what’s expected of him at La Lumiere. Two other Wolves’ players, Bobo Drummond and Jay Simpson, are also students at La Lumiere.
“That won’t be an issue about him being eligible if he does everything he’s supposed to,” Mullins said. “Their success rate is high if he does all the work. We have monitored this. The James family has monitored this. I check our players’ grades regularly. I think everybody should commend Jalen and his family for placing his academics first.”
La Lumiere plays Farragut in the Bob Hambric Shootout at T.F. North on Saturday. James is expected to play.
Hope was 13-2 with James this season and was considered a Class 2A state title contender. The Eagles defeated Marshall without James on Wednesday.
James committed to the Illini in June.
Class of 2013 point guard Jalen James committed to Illinois on Wednesday.
James, a 6-4 point guard from Hope Academy in Chicago, was offered by Illinois after its team camp in Champaign on Wednesday. James discussed the offer with Illinois Wolves club coach Mike Mullins, his brother and father and committed an hour and a half later.
"I called [Illinois assistant] coach Jerrance [Howard] and told him it was a done deal," James said. "He was in the office and started screaming his lungs out.
"I really didn't have a second or third favorite [at this point.] I was waiting for an offer from them. I committed because of the players they're going to have, coach [Bruce] Weber, coach [Howard], and, most importantly, my family will be able to come to see me play and not have to travel too far."
James' stock improved with his play during the spring club season with the Wolves. He is now considered one of the state's top Class of 2013 prospects.
"I think he has a great frame," Mullins said. "He's a bigger point guard. He's still growing and filling out his body. He has a good feel for the game. He's not a point guard who has to learn the position when he gets to college. He has a great burst in the open court. He's a willing defender. He's a good rebounder for his position."
James will carry on the tradition of Wolves point guards going onto Illinois. The list includes Demetri McCamey, who is expected to be selected in Thursday's NBA draft, senior Sam Maniscalco and freshman Tracy Abrams.
"From Demetri to Sammy to Tracy to Jalen, we could have a 9-10 year run here," Mullins said. "It's a credit to the kids more than us. It's fun being able to see them and follow them being the state school. We have a lot of respect for coach Weber."
James is Illinois’' first Class of 2013 recruit.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35