'Baby Westbrook' Jalen Lecque Aims For Peach Jam & USAB, Trimming Schools

Jalen Lecque has a huge couple of weeks ahead of him.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard who has drawn comparisons to a young Russell Westbrook is attempting to both qualify for Peach Jam with his NY Rens team and make the USA Basketball U18 team. He's also in the process of narrowing an impressive list of college suitors. Oh, and did we mention he also won a state championship in the high jump?

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"He's doing track because it's fun and he ends up winning events because he's just a freaky athlete," Rens coach Andy Borman said.

Lecque jumped 6-foot-4 in the high jump to help the Christ School (N.C.) win the state title.

"I came in third in the triple and long jump, and then high jump I came in first," he said. "Yeah, it's something new I just did. It's my first year."

The accomplishment speaks to Lecque's "freaky" athleticism that has led to offers from a who's who of high-major college programs, including Kentucky, Indiana, Villanova, Louisville, Georgetown, Oregon, Tennessee, Kansas, N.C. State, Florida, St. John's, and others.

"It's looking like I'm going to cut my list down soon," he said. "I'm still deciding with my parents and stuff like that."

He said his list will have a mix of "big-time schools" along with others.

Kentucky and Indiana are the last two programs to offer him.

"It's crazy because last year I had Iona and Manhattan [offers] and then going from that to Kentucky, it was just crazy," he said.

On Kentucky, he said, "I like how they push one-and-dones and it's real exciting."

Villanova is also in the mix.

"I feel Jay Wright is a really good coach and I feel he can produce [one-and-dones] if he wanted to," he said.

Duke has also shown interest but has not yet offered.

"I believe that they will soon," he said. "It's just a great offer [to get]. I'm kind of used to it now but it's kind of like what is the next step? I'm trying to better my game."

First things first, though. Lecque and his Rens' teammates, including big man Kofi Cockburn, are 5-7 entering this week's Nike EYBL Session IV in Hampton, Virginia. They need to go at least 3-1 to qualify for Peach Jam July 11-15.

"We gotta push through it and I feel like I've gotten better because I've been home a lot more," said Lecque, who is averaging 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists on the EYBL circuit. "I've just been able to work out a lot more consistent. I've been getting about three workouts a day, so I feel I should be really prepared for the sessions."

After EYBL, Lecque heads to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the U18 training camp beginning May 31. Lecque already participated with many of his fellow U18 players during a USA Basketball mini-camp at the Final Four in San Antonio. 

"It should be good," he said. "I did pretty good in San Antonio. I feel like I should always stay aggressive as a point guard and play defense like I'm playing and I'll be fine."

Lecque, who grew up in The Bronx and Teaneck, N.J., could be one of several players with New York and New Jersey ties to make the team. Cole Anthony, Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis are all in the U18 pool as well.

"We're all in a group chat together," he said. "[New York] is one of the top basketball places in the country so it just shows that we're coming up with better guys."

Lecque is known as a tremendous athlete and dunker who is still developing his shot, but he says he's working on that aspect of his game.

"I believe my shooting's getting way better than it was," he said. I just have to get more reps up and then I'll be fine."

Because of his athleticism and body type, Lecque has drawn comparisons to Westbrook, who is sponsoring Team WhyNot, which features Class of 2019 shooting guard Cassius Stanley.

"I think he's more in the Westbrook category just because of his frame and his physical makeup," Borman said. "He's 6-4, long and wiry. He's got a similar build to Westbrook and he's a high-flyer. And he's a high-motor kid, so athletically he does not have an equal.

"If you're talking about the guards in the 2018-19 class, he doesn't have an equal when it comes to his natural abilities. He's learning how to be a point guard and he's picking it up pretty quick because he's a willing passer. A lot of kids who have his physical makeup, the ball sticks in their hands, i.e., Westbrook. That's the part where it's a little bit of a hard comparison. Everyone wants to call him 'Baby Westbrook' but he's more of a natural point guard.

"But he's a good kid. He's a great kid when it comes down to it."

Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who runs ZAGSBLOG.com and contributes to The New York Times. Follow Adam on Twitter.

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