Photo courtesy of Position Sports/Nike
By David Cordova
This season, after years of being in the A & B divisions of the New York City Catholic League, the Monsignor Scanlan Crusaders gained a step up in competition by moving up to the AA division. It would prove to be a tough season, as the Crusaders finished 10-17 overall and 7-10 in the ultra-competitive Bronx/Westchester division.
Although the Crusaders had a rough season, they still remained competitive and had plenty of close losses. But one of their bright spots was a guard with great leaping ability by the name of Jalen Lecque.
The 6-foot-4 guard was a very integral part of the Crusaders’ offense, as he averaged 11 points a game this season. When he is on the court, Lecque is known for his athleticism, but can also score in bunches.
What motivates him to be successful in basketball is, “To try to be the best in the country, not trying to shortchange myself. I want to show everybody that I can compete with the best in the world.”
Lecque hails from Teaneck, New Jersey, which is right across the George Washington Bridge from the Bronx. When asked about being from there, he said, “Being from Teaneck, New Jersey, it’s a small town. Eveybody knows me, everybody loves me over there now. I just have to put on for my town.”
Teaneck High School, the local public school is the two-time defending state champions in basketball and one of the best programs in North Jersey. Although Lecque could have chosen to attend there, he decided to make the commute to Scanlan every day, which is on the Hutchinson River Parkway.
When asked what made him go to Scanlan, Lecque says, “You know Scanlan was a good school. We moved up from “AA” to “A”. They have a great coach, good players, it was such a good time.”
After his sophomore year, Lecque became one of the city’s top secrets and started to make a huge buzz playing with the New York Lightning. But then a knee injury sustained in a summer league game in New York sidelined him for months. But on January 3rd, against Bishop Loughlin, Lecque came back fully healed.
“I actually thought it was over, but when they carried on, it was just a great feeling that I came back and I’m stronger than ever,” says Lecque about coming back strong. He then went on a tear during the season and his one crowning moment came on February 19th in the CHSAA Bronx/Westchester Archdiocesan playoffs against St. Raymond, which had beaten the Crusaders twice before. With just a few seconds to go, Lecque let off a three-pointer which went in and stunned the St. Raymond’s crowned as Scanlan won 58-57.
Then in the spring, he chose to play with Southern Stampede, a Nike EYBL program based in Atlanta, Georgia. Lecque has made a name for himself on the premier sneaker circuit in the country, averaging 17 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
As of late, his offers have started to pile up. He has now been offered by New Mexico, Auburn, Texas Tech, Minnesota, Houston, Georgia, Wake Forest, Kansas State, St. John’s, Rhode Island, Iona, Seton Hall, Colorado State, St. Louis, TCU, Florida, Georgia Tech & Tennessee.
“Southern Stampede was a great opportunity, it gave me a chance to showcase my talents and that was the choice I made,” says Lecque about his spring season. For his amazing performances, he was named Breakout Performer for Session 1 of the EYBL in Hampton, Virginia and All-Honorable Mention by D-1 Circuit.
As for his next move, Lecque has decided to reclassify to the Class of 2019, and will do his remaining two years of high school at the Christ School in Arden, North Carolina. “The Christ School is a really good school, you know, it’s more about the education within. It’s about more than basketball for me,” says Lecque about his decision to transfer, “I have to just play basketball and get my education.”
Now that Lecque has improved his stock and has decided to reclassify, the high school scene has two more years to see him throw down dunks, but also improve. Once high school is over and a Division I scholarship is in his hands, everyone will see another great performance on the college level from the kid they call, “Rook.”
But for now, his plans are simple: “Just showcase that I can play with the best in the world and to just be the best 2019 player in the country.”
Highlights of Jalen Lecque:
Courtesy of Primetime Hoops.
Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.
Courtesy of Overtime.
Courtesy of Flo Hoops.