Top-ranked freshman fills leadership role early in career


Freshman guard Jalen Avery passes the ball during the first half of the Kent State vs. Youngstown game on Nov. 14. The Flashes won their home opener 79-70.

Kyle Samec

If you bring up Jalen Avery’s high school accolades that made Mid-American Basketball Consultant rank him the No. 2 point guard in Ohio, he chooses to dismiss that hype, and instead, he’s focused on showing everyone he’s for real.

“I really don’t look into what I did in high school because that’s nothing but memories,” Avery said. “Those are just for the books. Now it’s a whole different level. I’m not playing against juniors and sophomores, I’m playing against grown men.”

Avery played his final two years of high school at Shroder Paideia Academy in Cincinnati after transferring from a local high school in his home state of Kentucky.

The point guard was named the Division III Player of the Year as a senior by The Cincinnati Enquirer, and he scored a school-record 51 points against Lockland High School.

Besides his basketball skills, his leadership ability comes with high expectations, said Avery.

“Even as a freshman, I think I bring a leadership role,” Avery said. “My coaches and teammates told me they expect me to be a leader as a point guard.”

On the basketball side, his skills as a point guard opens up the offense for all the shooters on the team.

“I think what I add to the team is a passing element,” Avery said. “I think I can pass the ball really well and be a pure point guard. We have a lot of scorers on our team, and I feel like I (will) be able to distribute and get everybody involved and make my teammates better.”

Avery’s roommate Jaylin Walker, a freshman guard, said Avery is special.

“He (Avery) has a very high IQ on the court, so he can easily pass it,” Walker said. “He’s also creative off the dribble so he can easily find people and get his shot off, too.” 

Contact Kyle Samec at [email protected].