To conclude April’s live evaluation periods, a sizable contingent of college coaches and national media descended onto the campus of Legacy Sports USA located in Mesa, Arizona for Nike’s EYBL Session II.
Pro Insight was on-hand to cover the event and caught up with Jalil Bethea of Team Final (PA) and Archbishop Wood (PA). Bethea led Team Final to a 4-0 weekend in the desert, including a 34-point explosion (14-17 FG, 5-5 3FG) against AZ Unity (AZ) on the final day. The 6’4” guard is shooting 42% from deep through the first two sessions of the prestigious Nike EYBL circuit. One of the late-bloomers in his class, the PIAA 6A First Team All-State guard is a multifaceted scorer with shooting range and efficiency as well as the capability to play on-and-off-the-ball.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Bethea talked about growing up as a football player, studying Steph Curry, Devin Booker, Jordan Poole, and Tyler Herro, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Jalil Bethea, from Warminster, Pennsylvania:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today?
Jalil Bethea: Basically, the only thing I did was put the work in, ‘cause people really ain’t know me so that just gave me more reason to work and have the chip on my shoulder.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
JB: I played football growing up. That was like my first love.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
JB: My cousin is D.J. Newbill and he’s playing overseas right now in Asia.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and playstyle?
JB: I would definitely say I'm just a basketball player. I can do everything. I can play defense, put the ball on the floor, shoot, pass — all of that.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
JB: Like the person I watch the most is Curry, but Curry is not really that athletic. But, it's just the way that he plays. He's really smart. I also watch Devin Booker, Jordan Poole and Tyler Herro.
PI: What do you feel you have improved since last summer? What’s been the key difference?
JB: I would definitely say just me getting a little stronger. Just improving the mental side of things, too.
PI: How do you see your role at the next level?
JB: I see my role as a person who’s in the game to win. It doesn't matter if I start or not, I want to be that player that is in the game and that has a big impact in the game.
PI: What is your recruitment update? Who have you been hearing from the most, lately?
JB: Villanova and Kansas, recently.
PI: Did you have a dream school growing up?
JB: Kentucky, like the blue bloods where all the people that's in the NBA right now went to.
PI: Who would you like to hear from?
JB: Well, not any particular school. I'm just real open right now. I'm just waiting.
PI: Which schools are you hoping to visit in the near future?
JB: I really don’t have any particular schools.
PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?
JB: Oh yeah, I have, but I’m not really into the internet and stuff. I kind of stay to myself, for real.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
JB: Outside of basketball, probably just listening to music or like just playing video games. Probably the only two things that I really do off the court.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
JB: I would say probably Brent Faiyaz or Lil Baby, or something.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
JB: I probably would’ve been playing football because I've always watched football growing up and also played when I was younger.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
JB: Success means just going forward in life, never going backwards. There's always steps throughout life so we’re just going up from now.
PI: What is your dream NIL deal and why?
JB: Well, I haven't really thought about it. I let probably my parents or my inner circle worry about that NIL stuff. I really don't worry about that stuff.
PI: Besides the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years?
JB: I’d definitely see myself probably playing college ball or probably the pros.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
JB: Humble, that’s one. Hardworking. Disciplined. Unexpected.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
JB: I just want to be remembered for who I am, not really who I was with or anybody, just basically myself. I want to be known for me.