NBA’s Rick Brunson weighs in on Stevenson son
Stevenson players (from left) Jalen Brunson, Connor Cashaw and Andrew Stempel celebrate a victory Feb. 20. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:15AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson is not just one of the North Suburban Conference’s best players, he’s one of the most highly recruited sophomores in the Chicago area.
Joe Hendrickson of the City/Suburban Hoops Report has the 6-foot-2 guard ranked among the best players in the class of 2015, along with St. Rita’s Charles Williams and Simeon’s DJ Williams. Brunson said he has received offers from Illinois, DePaul, Purdue, Xavier and SMU.
His father is Rick Brunson, a former NBA player and current assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats. Rick Brunson answered a few questions about his son — who led the Patriots into the postseason at the Class 4A Mt. Prospect Regional Tuesday — before Stevenson’s game against Evanston Feb. 12.
What is your reaction to all the attention Jalen is receiving? “I’ve been through it as a player. This is my son’s time, I don’t get involved. I don’t do interviews. I let him get all the (publicity). I’m excited for him, but we also keep it in perspective.”
In looking at colleges, how do you advise Jalen? “What we stress in our family, me and my wife (Sandra), it’s the same thing when we picked out a high school. When we moved here we lived in a hotel. We went around to all these different high schools and I wanted to pick a coach, not a school. Jalen’s going to pick a coach, a guy who is going to mentor him, make him a better player, a better person. A guy who is going to motivate him. I could care less about a school. Education is education, that’s my belief.”
Early commitments are commonplace in college basketball. Do you expect Jalen to wait? “Definitely. There is no sophomore or junior signing. I’m not into committing. He going to do it the right way. That’s when he’s is going to sign, November of his senior year. If he’s comfortable in the next year or two and says ‘I’m comfortable with what I want to do,’ then I will support him.”
Do you like the offers? “As a father, I love them. It’s a tribute to all of the work he’s put in last summer and summer before. Also, it takes a good coach to say, ‘That kid has potential.’ His offers come on what he can do, not what he’s doing now.”
As a coach, what do you tell Jalen Brunson he has to work on? “We talk about the moves you do in high school. I want Jalen to pull up, pull up, pull up. In college, you won’t get to the rim against 7-footers. I hate him shooting layups. If you notice, he does a lot of pull-ups. When he gets mad, he goes to the hole when he wants to score. Defensively, last year, he was probably the worst defender in the state on the ball. This year, he’s better. Off the ball, he has to get a lot better.”