Is Jalen Lecque next to skip college, go straight to the NBA?
Could five-star senior guard Jalen Lecque be the next in line?
A member of the 2019 class that will be a full year removed from his high school’s graduation and of the proper age, Lecque is in position to make such a leap. And, thanks to his physical dimensions and elite athleticism, there is a real chance that he could decline his chance to star at NC State as a freshman next season and instead receive an NBA paycheck.
THE PROSPECT & THE SITUATION
A blessed athlete that is growing into the lead guard position, Lecque first broke out onto the scene in the spring of 2017. Originally a member of the 2018 class, he remained hidden to a degree and began the travel season with offers from the local MAAC and NEC programs. The New York native then ascended the Rivals150 thanks to his transcendent abilities in the open floor, competitive approach and ability to impact the game on both ends.
After enjoying more than 30 high-major scholarship offers, Lecque completed his time on the Nike EYBL circuit in the summer of 2017 by averaging 17 points (46.8 FG percent), 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
Transferring into The Christ School in North Carolina, there was talk that he could make a move back into his original 2018 class. Instead, he decided to give his hand at the Nike EYBL circuit for another year, where his scoring and shooting numbers went down some, averaging 14.4 points (43.6 FG percent), 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Furthermore, after making slightly above 30 percent of his perimeter attempts two years ago, he failed to make 16 percent of such shots this past summer.
Lecque is now is finishing out his prep career at the mighty Brewster Academy program in the New England prep ranks. He committed to NC State in October, but has not signed.
The 6-foot-3 Lecque is enhanced even further by his plus-five wingspan, 40-plus-inch vertical leap and the ability to facilitate.
During his time at the National Prep Showcase over the weekend, Lecque drew close to a dozen NBA scout for potentially their first live look at the five-star guard.
Whether he will jump straight to the NBA remains up in the air, but he did discuss with Corey Evans the matter.
WHAT LECQUE SAYS ...
Corey Evans (CE): Where are you with things in making the direct leap into the NBA?
Jalen Lecque (JL): I am not really focused on that right now but more about my family and my high school season. Once I get that out of the way, the next step is college. I am just focused on one thing at a time.
JL: It is a good thing to look at guys that have done it in the past but I am my own person and I have different games than the guys that had done it in the past.
CE: What is your timetable for making a final decision and what is going to go into it?
JL: I don’t really have a timetable. It is just whenever I feel ready. It is more about staying in the gym and working as hard as possible and just playing as hard as I can and then going from there.
CE: You said when you are ready? What would be "ready" for you?
JL: I just need to become a complete player. I feel like my game is good but I still know that there are a few other things that I need to work on. I need to become the ultimate player and guys that are tough because the NBA isn’t just about the 18-, 19- or 20-year-old kids but rather guys that are 30 years old, too, so I need to be prepared for that.
CE: What else is there for you to work on?
JL: I need to become more confident and mature, on and off of the court, becoming stronger and a better player.
WHAT NBA SCOUTS SAY ...
We asked an anonymous NBA scout what his feelings are about Lecque and if it would be in his best interests to make the leap to the league.
“It is a tough call. If he gets cleared to come out this year, he probably gets drafted somewhere, but there are big flaws that could shrink his guaranteed money. If he goes to college and figures out his jumper, he could be a lottery guy. ...
“I think he and Simons are different. Simons could already shoot. He wasn’t physically there but there were signs he could get a bucket in the NBA. I know Lecque can dunk on NBA players right now, but does he have the skillset to get things done in the halfcourt offense?”
WHAT COREY EVANS SAYS ...
Will he make a direct leap to the NBA or decide that NC State is in his best option for long-term success? I fall toward the latter, although Lecque might be too difficult for an NBA franchise to pass on in the draft.
The 2019 draft is already being talked about as one of the worst in recent memory. Add in just how slim the point guard class is, and this should definitely help Lecque. Beyond Zion Williamson, Lecque could be the second-best athlete in the draft and one of the few that singlehandedly dominates the headlines of June’s NBA Draft Combine due to his physical measurables and athletic testings.
Does Lecque have his deficiencies? He does. He needs to shoot it with confidence and consistency as he attempted just two 3-point jumpers at the National Prep Showcase and converted just five of his 11 foul shot attempts.
However, he has become a much better playmaker in recent months and if a franchise is willing to invest in his development, potentially sending him to its G-League affiliate for weeks at a time, the upside and potential might be worth the risk for both sides.