August 24, 2011

Early interest in 2014 star

On Saturday, the University of Alabama hosted an elite group of prospects for its skills camp, and the best player on the court may have only been a sophomore in high school.

Jalen Lindsey, a 2014 recruit from Nashville, Tenn., looked as good as anyone in the camp, and the 6-foot-6 wing still has room to grow and is just now learning how to play on the perimeter.

"He's very good for his age, obviously," Lindsey's head coach Drew Maddux said. "Physically, there's a lot of kids in his age group that are more mature and may be a little bit further along, but in terms of upside, I think he has the highest upside of any kid I know.

"If you watched him this year, he's a work in progress. He's an elite player right now, but I think a year from now, 18 months from now, 24 months from now, he's definitely going to be one of the top players in the country."

At 6-foot-6, Lindsey has always been the tallest player on his team growing up and because of that, he has been forced to play in the post. This year, he's making the transition to more of a small forward where he can shoot and get out in transition.

At Alabama's camp, Lindsey competed in some drills that the current UA players go through on a regular basis and also learned some new tips from the Crimson Tide coaching staff.

"It was a good experience," Lindsey said. "I like the drills. It was fun and hard work. During the drills, you have to go hard every second. The coaches taught me something, and I learned new things over here.

"I learned it's non-stop movement, and you have to work at your game. During practice, you have to go 100 percent. It's all mental, and you have to be conditioned. You just have to be ready because it's a whole other level."

Lindsey attended Alabama's skills camp the year before, but Saturday marked the first time he had worked out in the newly renovated practice facility, which is all but finished.

"I love the facilities," Lindsey said. "It's nice, and I like how it's all brand new. I think it will look even better when they start putting the stuff on the walls. I'm excited to see what they do with it."

During his trip to Tuscaloosa, Lindsey picked up an offer from the Crimson Tide. He has now has offers from Alabama, Memphis and North Carolina State, but that list will likely grow before the end of the year.

Maddux mentioned Florida, Georgetown, Georgia, Marquette, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Vanderbilt and Villanova as schools that have expressed interest in Lindsey, but Alabama is squarely in the mix early in the process.

"Alabama is in consideration for sure because I like the coaches, and the biggest thing for me is how I relate with the coaches and what they mean to me," Lindsey said. "They really mean a lot (at Alabama), and they're really nice. I like the coaches here."

Maddux also believes that with Coach Grant and his staff at Alabama, the Crimson Tide program will continue to rise and could be a serious contender for Lindsey in his recruitment.

"Anthony Grant and his staff coupled with the upgrade in the facilities that we saw Saturday, I think Alabama is going to prove to be a perennial top 20 program, year in and year out, just based on what Coach Grant and his staff are going to do and the players they're recruiting there."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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