BY NICK MEDLINE
SPECIAL TO ZAGSBLOG
CHICAGO — Jalen Poyser recently set his five official visits to Hawaii (Sept. 6), Oklahoma, Cal, Rhode Island and Dayton, but UNLV and St. Mary’s are also now involved.
Over the weekend at the Nike Global Challenge, Poyser also proved that many coaches will regret missing out.
Poyser made his finalists look smart in Chicago, averaging 20.5 points in four games to place himself among the weekend scoring leaders. He earned International All-Tournament honors in the process.
Better, the success came against elite competition. He scored 25 points in a Saturday matchup with Team USA South — which boasts top-20 talent including Jaylen Brown and Antonio Blakeney.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Poyser told SNY.tv on Friday. “It allows me to excel. Being able to compete with the best players in the world allows me to see what I can do against the best.”
By all accounts, he did well. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla compared him to Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins, who averaged 11 points this past season. Poyser showed an ability to score from anywhere, play smooth, and help Team Canada make its usual splash.
It might have taken coaches extra effort to find the Mississauga (ON) guard. But listed as a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, Poyser also excelled for the prestigious Team CIA Bounce.
Hawaii, Oklahoma, Cal, Rhode Island and Dayton are scattered across the map, obviously. Poyser said that the key was building relationships with coaches. Each staff committed to recruiting him — which earned them important visits.
Poyser said weather will be an important factor, and when he travels to each campus, he wants to feel comfortable in the environment. Several of the coaches, he said, are looking to him as a key part of their future.
“They like the way I attack the basket, how I can create for myself and how I can get into the paint,” Poyser said. “I want to be that guy they can count on.”
But for now, Poyser can take pride in the All-Tournament honors, and for proving more than just about anyone else on this elite stage.
“I think I can go up against the top-ranked players,” he said Friday.
And without question, he did.