Getting to know the University’s next basketball star
In a recent trend that features an increasing number of athletes choosing prestigious academic institutions over traditional athletic powerhouses, the University has landed 2 four-star recruits from the class of 2022. Among the recruited class next year, Princeton students will get to watch Jaelin Llewellyn, a four-star point guard from Canada. Llewellyn turned down major programs such as Wake Forest University, where his father played, and University of Virginia, currently the top-ranked basketball program in the country.
Llewellyn grew up in Mississauga, Ontario. He describes this experience as great not only for giving him a taste of city life, but also for affording him the opportunity to experience a quieter suburban environment. Llewellyn has spent the last two seasons playing at Virginia Episcopal School, a small and selective college prep school in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Growing up, Llewellyn followed players like Tracy McGrady while he was on the Houston Rockets, Rajon Rondo while he was on the Boston Celtics, and LeBron James. Llewellyn has tried to incorporate these players’ strategies on the court.
Nationally ranked as part of ESPN’s ESPN 100, four-star Llewellyn comes in ranked the 16th best point guard prospect in the class of 2018, and one of the top two point guards from Canada. The six-foot, two inches and 160-pound point guard is ranked as highly as 89th in the country by Rivals.com. Last season at Virginia Episcopal School, he averaged 17.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. This year, through 23 games, he has improved all of these numbers, with 23.0 ppg, 5.6 apg, 5.5 rpg, and 1.5 spg.
Over the summer, Llewellyn was afforded the opportunity to compete in the Adidas Circuit as part of Team Loaded. The team won the summer championship, going undefeated. At 8.8 ppg and 3.8 apg, Llewellyn described this experience as a big moment in his career, as it gave him the feeling of winning something major. Next season, the University will receive a player with a real hunger to win. Of the memory, Llewellyn said it “really makes me crave for moments like that again.”
Of his playing style, Llewellyn said, “It could be described as a quick, athletic, and aggressive guard that can score, and loves to put teammates in positions to be successful.” Llewellyn seems to take the role of a facilitator seriously. The aforementioned players that he looked up to as a child are all known for giving their teammates opportunities and elevating their team’s overall level of play.
Additionally, as he looks to further his skills, Llewellyn tries to take bits and pieces from today’s elite point guards, including Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, and Stephen Curry. DraftExpress.com labels him as “an explosive athlete with strong footwork off the dribble,” also saying he should make an immediate scoring impact for the Tigers next season.
Of his success on the basketball court, Llewellyn credits much of it to his dad, Cordell Llewellyn, for his dedication to his son’s basketball career.
Furthermore, on his motivation, Llewellyn says that what motivates him most is “wanting to be able to live my future life the way I want, and live comfortably, for myself, my parents, and other family members.”
As far as music goes, Llewellyn usually listens to rappers that are up-and-coming and fairly close to him in age before games. Lil Peep and Lil Tracy have been some of his favorites for over two years. Once he hits the court, however, he said, “It doesn’t really matter what music is being played because I’m just in a different zone.”
Off the court, he really enjoys videography. He has been filming and editing videos since he was in middle school.
Outside of videography, he was also developing skills in another game, Call of Duty. In ninth grade, Llewellyn says he was actually ranked 97th in the world at one point.
It is no secret that the University offers world-class academics, a quality that would be hard for any recruit to overlook. In an interview with Phenom Hoops Report’s Patrick O’Brien, Llewellyn said that the University is “a place where I know I’ll develop each year I’m there because I have goals of playing professionally. And a place where I have the opportunity to play as soon as I step on campus.”
Llewellyn was also given offers by other prestigious universities, like University of Virginia and Harvard, but he had a special eagerness to play at Princeton.
“I chose Princeton because they were one of the first schools to show interest in me athletically, and I feel like they would be most accepting of me as a person,“ said Lewellyn. “I just felt like I’d fit in.”
When asked what he was most excited for, Llewellyn responded “It’s hard to pick one thing to be excited for because it’s everything really. Maybe just being on campus for that very first day.”
Stepping on campus for the very first time is a memory very few University students can forget. When Jaelin hits the court next season, students will be given the opportunity to witness more memorable moments, hopefully some of them being next March.