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Saturday / August 24.
  • Jamal Mashburn Jr. breaks down his recruitment

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Jamal Mashburn Jr. is blessed with his dad’s name and genes, but he isn’t trying to ride his famous father’s coattails.

    The 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard wants to make it to the NBA based on his own work ethic and skillset, and he’s already made a name in basketball circles independent of his father.

    Mashburn Jr., who lives in Miami and is about to become a senior at basketball power Brewster (N.H.) Academy, is the No. 9-ranked combo guard in the Class of 2020, per 247Sports.com. At the Peach Jam last month with the New York-based PSA Cardinals, his recruitment picked up heavily as he averaged 20.8 points while shooting 43 percent from the field and 47 percent (15-of-32) from deep.

    “Like I tell everybody, I’ve had my time, I’ve been recruited, I’ve been in the NBA and my time is over,” Jamal Mashburn Sr. said Wednesday by phone. “I’m just navigation at this particular point for him and giving him information that can help him through the process. But at the end of the day, it’s his journey and he’s going to pick the school and he’s going to have to be the one that goes to that school and performs at that school, not only on the court but off the court as well.”

    Mashburn Jr. is one of many sons of former NBA stars now rising up through the AAU and high school ranks. Bronny James, 14, drew huge crowds to his games at the Peach Jam, and his dad made headlines by dunking in the layup line at some of his games this summer. Bronnu will play this season at Sierra Canyon (CA) High School alongside Dwyane Wade’s son, Zaire.

    Scotty Pippen Jr. will be a freshman at Vanderbilt, while K.J. Martin, the son of Kenyon Martin, had initially committed to Vanderbilt before opting to play overseas. Shareef O’Neal , the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, is set to debut this season at UCLA after sitting out last year with a medical redshirt.

    “This is his journey,” Jamal Sr., a native of The Bronx who starred at Cardinal Hayes, said of his son. “I’m just utilizing my lessons to kind of help him along the way.”

    Mashburn Sr. said his son has a number of suitors but likes schools “that play at a fast tempo.”

    Minnesota, Wake Forest, Saint Louis, Cal-Berkeley, Miami, Florida State and Georgetown are among those in the mix. His most recent offers came from Saint Louis and Georgetown, while Auburn and N.C. State recently reached out.

    Mashburn Jr. has no visits currently planned.

    “I want to go when it’s during school time because that would make more sense for me,” he said. “I’m definitely getting those sorted out.”

    As far as Minnesota, there is an obvious connection in that Rick Pitino coached Mashburn Sr. at Kentucky, and Richard Pitino is now the Minnesota coach.

    “Obviously the Pitino connection, but the one thing I like about what Richard Pitino has done is he’s stayed away from me and his dad’s relationship and really built a relationship with Jay on his own rather than trying to be a legacy player,” Jamal Sr. said. “And I really appreciate that and Jay really appreciates that.”

    Said Jamal Jr.: “Minnesota, they’ve been heavy on me and they’re communicating….This is about me. I know the relationship with the family is important and everything like that, but as far as the whole Pitino, his dad coached my father, I try to take that out of it and I try to say that’s cool and all that they have history, but then again I’m doing it for the future.”

    Wake Forest is also in the mix.

    “Wake Forest has been communicating with me, keeping up with me every day,” he said. “I’m looking to take a visit out there. I’m trying to find the best situation for me. They pretty much say the same things, but it’s about finding the best situation for me.”

    Cal is another option as former Brewster guard Joel Brown is now a freshman at the Pac-12 school.

    “He was my former Brewster teammate so he’s doing real well out there,” Mashburn Jr. said. “They’ve been in contact and I’m trying to get visits set up with them, too. Yeah, see where that goes.”

    Miami is also in hot pursuit.

    “[Miami] has been there pretty much my whole basketball career since I’m from Miami,” he said.

    Mashburn Jr. wants to set up some visits this fall and hopes to decide in the fall.

    Wherever he lands, he wants to forge his own path, independent of his father’s name and fame.

    “I’m trying to be a pro and I’m trying to be at the highest level and play at the highest level,” he said, “so I want to develop and get better at the college level so that I can be prepared to have a long-lasting career in the pros, which is my end goal.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.