Updated: Jul 5
Pro Insight’s Alex Brown caught up with Shelley at this year’s CrossRoads Elite Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana. Shelley is a 6’8” lefty wing with some elite athleticism and one of the highest ceilings in the 2024 high school class. He stood out at CrossRoads due to ability to make plays at the rim on both ends, handle, facilitate, as well as shoot the ball off the catch and off the dribble.
Jalen Shelley plays on the Nike EYBL Circuit with ProSkills (TX).
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Jalen Shelley, from Frisco, Texas:
Pro Insight: For those who may not know much about you yet, tell us a bit about your background and basketball journey.
Jalen Shelley: I was born in Frisco, Texas, which is a real big football area, everyone loves football there. Basketball isn’t talked about as much, so growing up I was really into football at first, more than basketball. Then, once I hit middle school, basketball started coming to me and I started getting better and loving it a lot more.
PI: That’s what happens when you end up 6’8”! Were you always one of the taller kids, or is this height new?
JS: Man, I’ve always been one of the tallest. I was tall ever since I was a baby, when I was in my mom’s arms, I was this huge baby that couldn’t walk yet. They would look at her crazy like make this man walk! Bruh, I couldn’t walk at all, or talk.
PI: How were you on the football field? How has that translated to basketball?
JS: I was always that go-up-and-get-it type of receiver. They threw me a lot of fades and such. I was still a lot faster than most of the corners that we played, and I have that shiftiness to me too. I am not a slow, lengthy 6’8” guy — I can move! When playing football, players are a lot smaller and like to get up in me with physicality. That ability to get off the line as a receiver quickly helps with my shiftiness.
PI: How about basketball: what do you do well on the court, and what do you want to improve on?
JS: I can shoot the ball really well, but I really want to get stronger finishing through contact. I want to get stronger, for sure.
PI: What is the latest in your recruitment? Any recent offers you’d like to talk about?
JS: My most recent offer was Iowa, they actually came to one of my football practices and talked to me after that. They wanted to watch how I move and such, then we talked about basketball and the next level. Been keeping in touch with UCLA a lot as well, I really like that school. Out in LA, great campus, nice area.
PI: Any schools you are hoping to hear from?
JS: My answer will always be Duke. Once you get that offer, you know you’re like that.
PI: What are you looking for in a college fit?
JS: I want to find the best development school possible to get me to the next level to make the league. All around, the school that gets me better the most.
PI: Outside of basketball, what do you like to do?
JS: If you know me, you’re gonna see me with a headset on all the time. I like playing the game. I’m always in the gym, but if I’m not, I like playing the game with my cousins or family. I play Madden and 2K a lot, and also started getting into Warzone a bit.
PI: How about music artists? Top-3?
JS: I mainly listen to the unknown, underground-type rappers. Other than that I like Drake, Lil Baby, and Nardo Wick. He’s kinda new and just coming in, not really out there yet.
PI: So you are calling your shot with Nardo being one of those guys, huh?
JS: Oh, yeah. He already had a couple songs blow up, but he’s gonna be top-5 soon.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve been given throughout your sports career?
JS: Trust in the work, and don’t lose confidence in yourself, because once you lack confidence, everything goes down. You could lose the love for the game and not play as well on the court from not trusting yourself.
PI: What are some ways you stay confident in your game?
JS: Honestly staying healthy and always staying in the gym. I remember a couple years ago being hurt a lot in my lower body, and I always had to sit out more than I wanted and felt behind. Now that I’ve been keeping myself healthy and staying in the gym, it really helps my confidence.
PI: What motivates you on the court?
JS: I feel like I am underrated, and feel like I am a top-10 player in my class. So, I go out there everyday to prove myself and show I am the best. Gotta prove everyone wrong, pretty much.
PI: When was your first dunk, and first actual poster?
JS: First dunk was in 8th grade in the first game of the middle school season, I dunked it on the fastbreak. First poster, I mean I had a lot of baby posters in 9th grade, but the first real poster was probably in Peach Jam last year, against UPlay I think.
PI: Do you watch a lot of film? If so, who do you study?
JS: I don’t really watch specific people as much above my class, but I work out with Trenton Walters (JL3), and work out with Ja’Kobe Walter here and there. We got a whole group out there with guys like Liam McNeeley, Micah Robinson, and RJ Jones.
PI: What has that been like training with that Tyler Relph group?
JS: It’s super competitive. We always get at each other every time we get on the court. We are all friends and love each other after, but we compete hard and get at it. The thing is, we were at one point with Drive Nation, and just stayed in touch even after we separated.
PI: One hashtag to describe yourself — what is it and why?
JS: #Versatile. I feel like I can play and guard 1-5 if needed.
PI: Lastly, what would you like to be remembered for, both as a person and as a player?
JS: I want to be remembered for never giving up on myself and playing through no matter what. Believe it or not, 8th grade year I barely played at all. COVID stopped it, and I also rode the bench a lot. All through quarantine I was working on my game to get better. I have a lot more work to do, but the ability to get my recognition is a great feeling.