Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future
Sunday, July 27, 2003
By Thad Mumau
Shuler sorts through suitors
Jamal Shuler wouldn’t mind being a Pirate. Of course, he
wouldn’t mind being a Hokie or a Seahawk either.
Shuler, a hot guard prospect from Jacksonville (NC) High
School, has seven colleges on his favorites’ list right now, but it could
expand as he is in no hurry to wrap up the recruiting process.
N.C. State was his favorite, but the Wolfpack has not shown
much interest. East Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth and UNC-Wilmington
have offered scholarships, with Clemson, Notre Dame and South Carolina also
paying plenty of attention.
Shuler, a 6-3, 175-pound combination guard, averaged 24.8
points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists as a junior for 13-12 Jacksonville. He
shot 56 percent from the floor, including 43 percent behind the arc, and
sank 72 percent of his free throws.
He threw in 38 points against New Bern and had a 33-point outing against
Wilmington Laney, with 30 and 31 in other games. He dished out 12 assists
vs. Eastern Wayne.
"Jamal is a player," Jacksonville coach Russell Stephens
said. "He plays two guard and the point for us and will be a combo in
college, too. Shooting guard would probably be his main position, and he
could slide over and fill in at the point.
"He handles the ball well and is a very good passer. He can
put the ball on the floor and is very good at attacking the basket and at
creating. He will drive it and kick it out and he will set up teammates for
"He can spot up for threes and can finish in a lot of ways.
He has a nice little floater in the lane, and he has a good mid-range jump
shot. He can pull up on a dime and hit the jumper. He will ball-fake and
pull up, and he works on that a lot.
"Jamal is a long, wiry kid," Stephens said. "He could use
some upper-body strength, but he’s stronger than he looks. To average 10
rebounds a game in a 4-A conference, he has to have some strength. His arm
span is so long that he plays taller than he is, probably 6-5 or 6-6. He has
a 39-inch vertical leap."
Shuler is already academically qualified. He has a 3.1
grade-point average, 2.7 in core courses, and has scored over 820 on the
"I would say Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth are at
the top of his list right now," Stephens said. "Virginia Tech offered him a
scholarship before school was out, and the whole coaching staff came down to
see him at the East Coast Invitational (in July).
"Virginia Tech basketball has not been all that strong, but
the fact that the school is joining the ACC is a factor. Kids want to play
in the ACC. But Conference USA, with Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis and
some others, is a big-time conference, too.
"Jamal is looking at East Carolina and UNC-Wilmington. You
see what those schools have done in the last few years, how much those
programs have improved, and you have to look hard at both of them."
Shuler said the proximity of ECU, which is about an hour and
a half from Jacksonville, is an advantage and a disadvantage.
"Sometimes I think I would like to be close to home so my
family and friends can see me play a lot," he said, "and sometimes I think I
would like to get away and see another part of the country.
"I’m considering East Carolina strongly. They made me feel
real wanted, and they are high on my list. Their coaches have been very nice
and have recruited me hard. And their basketball program has really gotten
"I have a hard decision to make, and it’s getting tougher
Shuler is expected to decide in September.
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