Roselle Catholic duo Jalen Grant and Eric Hillsman break down recruitments at NJ Hoop Recruit Classic | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / May 26.
  • Roselle Catholic duo Jalen Grant and Eric Hillsman break down recruitments at NJ Hoop Recruit Classic

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    Coming off a New Jersey state championship, powerhouse Roselle Catholic has one of the toughest tasks in high school basketball this season: replacing two top-50 recruits in Mackenzie Mgbako (Indiana) and Simeon Wilcher (St. John’s).

    Sophomores Jalen Grant and Eric Hillsman gave a preview of what’s potentially to come for the Lions this season at the NJ Hoop Recruit Classic on Friday.

    Grant, a 6-foot point guard, has taken over the point guard position for Roselle Catholic this season.

    Roselle Catholic coach Todd Decker is happy with the young guard’s performance thus far.

    “He’s been great,” Decker said. “We coach him really hard and he’s accepted that. He’s a student of the game and a gym rat. We’re happy with his development.”

    “I’m still trying to adjust to it [starting]. It’s crazy to be starting for Roselle Catholic, a national powerhouse,” Grant said. “But now that I’ve got the ball in my hands, I’m sure I can showcase what I do: get the others involved and show I can make winning plays.”

    As an undersized guard, Grant’s quickness, competitive fire and quick hands make him a high-upside prospect.

    “I just say I’m quick. I’m able to get past anyone that can guard me, I can dump it off, shoot the floated, shoot the pull-up or catch-and-shoot it,” he said. “My speed can let me play off-two, kick it to the corner or just getting all the way to the basket trying to get the foul.”

    “I’m trying to bring intensity every night,” he concluded. “I’m playing every game like it’s my last.”

    Grant has received offers from Seton Hall, Providence, Auburn and Kansas State, among others.

    Syracuse, Washington, Florida Atlantic and VCU have shown interest as well.

    He broke down some of his options to ZAGSBLOG:

    Seton Hall: “I love Seton Hall. They come to my workouts sometimes and practices; I go to a lot of their games as well.”

    Providence: “I got an offer after my game at the Peach Jam final four. Coach [Kim] English offered me after the championship at the airport. They’re in season right now but I’m trying to visit.”

    Auburn: “The coaches say they love my game. They tell me a similar thing, I’m quick and tough because I’m from New Jersey.”

    Hillsman, a transfer from Rochester, N.Y., got the Roselle Catholic gym going early on Friday night, finishing several tough contact dunks and putbacks.

    The 6-foot-8 wing’s athletic ability gives Hillsman an incredibly high ceiling early on.

    “He’s been awesome,” Decker said. “You see some of the big-time plays he makes out there. We’re just on him for all the little things and the details. I think once people come out and see him it’ll be big. The big thing is he can play anywhere on the floor and play one through five. That’s stuff college coaches love to see and offensively he’s getting better every day.”

    Hillsman holds offers from Fairfield and Hampton.

    “The process is going well,” he said. “I’m just working for everything I earned and want to earn.”

    “The appeal of playing at the Division I level is really good,” Hillsman concluded. “I’m playing against the best of the best and trying to be the best of the best.”

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