By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
May 22, 2013 —
Four years ago, Jalen Stone had zero plans to go to college. As a freshman, Stone did not think his ability to play the game of basketball would take him anywhere.
Fast forward to May 14. He took an opportunity his senior season and put him in front his friends, family and teammates as he signed to play College Basketball at Kentucky Christian University.
“This year was crazy for me,” Stone said. “I never thought that I would get a chance to have such a big role on a good team. It was always a dream to play college basketball and now it’s come true.”
Stone did not start a single varsity game his whole career until his senior season. Most players would have been nervous for such a role, but not Stone. He responded by finishing in a tie for the leading scorer on the team with 14.3 points per game, making 34.7 percent of his three-point shots and leading the team in points scored (502) in helping lead Rowan County to a 21-14 record and a third straight appearance in the 16th Region title game.
“I put in a lot of hard work in my high school career before I got to show off my talents for my senior year,” Stone said.
His coach, Shawn Thacker cannot think of a player in his career that took the ball and ran, or in Stone’s case shot with it, in areas to earn the opportunity to continue his career.
“It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to do,” Thacker said. “The talent and ability on the court was there it was just a matter of putting it all together. To his credit, he decided to do the things he needed to do show everyone what we already knew, and what he could do on the court.”
Stone attended an open gym in Grayson one day and said after the visit, it felt right.
KCU men’s basketball coach Ron Reed expects Stone to come in to Grayson and play a big role for the Knights program.
“If he thinks he is going to sit on the bench and get a feel of the game,he’s going to be hurting,” Reed said. “He’s going to be expected to play and contribute right off the bat.”
And Stone would not have it any other way.
“I’m going to keep working hard and continue to better my game so I can be as good of a player as I can,” Stone said.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.