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The Next Rajon Rondo?

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That’s Jaylen Beckham on the left.  Billy Gillispie is rumored to be in the background holding scholarship papers and sipping a Dr. Pepper but I can’t make him out.  As you can see, Jaylen has been good for awhile, but is he the next Rajon Rondo? That’s a pretty bold statement, but Rajon is a player that the 2012 Lexington Catholic guard has been compared to. Here’s what Darnell “Tate” Johnson, a scout with over 10 years of experience, had to say about Jaylen on HoopsReport.com:

Jaylen may be one of the best defensive players in his class nationally. After his showing at the Fab Freshmen All-American Camp, he made a statement on the court that he definitely is one of the elite kids in the 2012 class. He has no problem getting to the rack on anybody. He finishes great with contact; his only knock is a consistent jump shot, which he works on daily. If I was to compare him to anybody at this stage, it would be Kentucky great Rajon Rondo.

Beckham stands 6 foot tall and weighs in at 160 pounds so the physical likenesses are definitely present. When I saw him on the court on Saturday, he showed flashes of why he has received such praise from scouts. His quickness is his bread and butter, both on the offensive and defensive sides, but Jaylen also showed an ability to make spot on passes and good decisions with the ball. What impressed me most was how Jaylen reacted when things weren’t going his way at the beginning of the day.  After two shots were missed and one dunk was blocked, Jaylen remained focused, determined, and positive with teammates, showing a maturity level that most prospects lack at such a young age.

Overall, he lived up to the positive reviews but, to be clear, Jaylen is still young and still has a lot of developing to do.   Added muscle and continued work on his outside jump shot would top the list. He knows that the potential is there as well, but also realizes that something more will be needed to make him a high division one competitor. “Potential doesn’t mean nothing unless I keep working hard. I’m good going around defenders but I need to develop a jump shot and be comfortable with it,” he said.

Jaylen’s hard work is already beginning to show dividends as big name coaches have begun to contact him to say that they’re following his development. He called off the names Ohio State, Syracuse, Alabama, Depaul, Washington, Oklahoma State, Indiana and Kentucky when asked which schools were currently on his list.  He recently added an offer from Oklahoma State to go along with his previous one from Coach Webster and Depaul.

So where does Kentucky stand?  I had heard that Jaylen was a UK fan growing up, so I asked him if this was true and he answered with a smile, “Yes sir, born and raised.” Playing backyard ball, most young Cats fans envision themselves as their favorite UK star and model their play after them, so I had to know who Jaylen’s were. “It’d have to be between Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince,” he said, which makes a lot of sense being that both former Cats have the wiry athleticism thing in common with him.  Jaylen confirmed that the UK coaching staff had been in contact with him and that Coach Calipari himself had called. Currently, he includes the Cats as one of the top two schools on his list, along with Syracuse, and has said in the past that he “would love to see himself in a UK uniform.”  With Jaylen’s skill set, I think a lot of UK fans would love to see that too.

Other notes from the games:

Desmond Dorsey of J-town showed great defensive abilities while matched up against Beckham. He has an elusive quickness about him on the offensive end but seems to not be playing at full speed at all times. I’ll be watching a couple more games of his tomorrow to try to get a better read on him. I’ll also try to get some info about his recruitment.

Josh Sewell of Trinity has a Jodie Meeks type of build. He was pretty impressive against Fairdale on both ends of the floor. Western Kentucky is in on his recruitment as well as Coach Webster at Depaul. UK is not involved at this time.

– The fiancee will be joining me for the games tomorrow, so I’ll be able to report back to you guys on who has the cutest “outfits” and which little boys are going to be heart breakers when they grow up.  You can follow me on twitter for some of the instant scouting and recruiting news from the wireless-less PRP high school.

Article written by Dustin Rumbaugh

I enjoy basketball, Kentucky sports and extremely short walks on the beach, followed by a nap. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.