Stevenson High School hosts inaugural Jalen Brunson Skills Academy
NBA rookie Jalen Brunson was recently back where it all began, sharing his experiences with the next generation of youngsters looking to follow in his footsteps.
Brunson’s alma mater, Stevenson High School, recently hosted the first Jalen Brunson Skills Academy, where about 100 campers, ages 8-14, convened over a two-day period of introspection and instruction.
“This camp shows the cycle of life,” Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose told the Chicago Tribune. “He is coming home and giving back.”
Brunson played college basketball at Villanova, where he led the Wildcats to a national title in his final season. He told campers none of it would have been possible without his time in Lincolnshire.
“I really matured here as a player and a young adult,” Brunson told the Tribune. “That is why I wanted to come back to the community for this camp. The relationships I had with my high school teammates are among the most meaningful to me.”
Brunson’s run at Stevenson is one that won’t soon be forgotten. Over his last three seasons, the all-time leading scorer in Lake County history led the Patriots to a 91-10 mark, including a Class 4A title as a senior.
“He is a hall-of-famer, on the Mount Rushmore of Illinois players,” Ambrose said. “His work ethic, his personality, his drive and desire to be in the gym and how much he loves being around with his teammates and coaches — he is just a winner and he knows what it takes.”
Brunson just remembers growing up wanting to do everything he saw his dad do. Rick Brunson spent nine seasons in the NBA playing for seven different teams.
“I remember training with my dad and he was really getting on me about the little things,” Brunson said. “I was a young kid, but I realized if I got it at that age, I’d be great by the time I got to high school or college.”