Jahvon Quinerly: Hackensack’s Own Will Take His Act to Villanova Next Season

Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography

By David Cordova

This season, a lot of good basketball has taken place in the state of New Jersey, primarily amongst the Catholic schools, which have produced most of the talent in this year’s class.

There is one player throughout the state whose name has been ringing bells since his younger days and has left a major impact now that his high school years are now done.

That player is Jahvon Quinerly. The 6-foot-1 senior point guard out of Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City is one of the best players in the tri-state area and in the nation, and has proven so since his middle school days.

Aside from his exploits on the court, Quinerly is a National Honor Society student and a role model to many kids, including his two younger brothers. When asked what motivates him to be successful in the game of basketball, he replied, “Really, my family. I got two little brothers that look up to me, so just knowing that I got them looking up to me, just pushes me hard every day.”

Quinerly points out a spot for a fellow teammate. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

Quinerly hails from Hackensack, a suburban town in Bergen County that is more than 20 minutes away from New York City. In a local tournament at Carver Park last summer, Quinerly delighted the crowd in his town when outplayed his defenders in a pro-am game.

When asked about what it’s like being from Hackensack, Quinerly replied, “You know, it’s kind of the suburbs, but coming to New York a lot to play basketball, it brought a lot to my game, it’s brought a lot of toughness, that’s why I’m always out here, playing in different events.”

On the basketball climate in the state of New Jersey and in his hometown: “I don’t really play a lot in Hackensack, but I grew up playing in Jersey, in different parts of Jersey, like Montclair, Elizabeth, but I feel like the tri-state area brings a different type of toughness to your game.”

Quinerly was also a part of the quintet of players that played for the Sports U/Team Izod AAU program, which included the Garden State’s finest in Nazreon “Nazi” Reid (Roselle Catholic), Atiba Taylor (Hackensack) and his Hudson Catholic teammates Louis King and Luther Muhammad.

Quinerly playing defense. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

When asked about the brotherhood between him and the other four, Quinerly replied, “Those are my brothers since I was in the sixth, seventh grade, traveling to tournaments around the country with them. Those will always be my brothers at the end of the day. Being able to sign a Division I scholarship, all five of us, together, it’s a blessing and it’s been amazing.”

In high school, Quinerly had a very successful career for the Hawks as a four-year starter, leading them to a 92-17 record, four Hudson County titles and a North Jersey, Non-Public B title. In addition to that, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of New Jersey during his junior and senior seasons. Last season, he averaged 20.4 points and 5.4 assists. This past season, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.

When asked about his high school days at Hudson Catholic, he replied, “Other than the TOC, we’ve been very successful, we didn’t lose any county championships, we beat St. Anthony’s. They [Hudson Catholic] ain’t beaten St. Anthony’s in 40 years until we beat them. Beating the arch-rival in their last game, that was amazing, but coming up short, not winning the TOC, that was tough.”

On March 28th, Quinerly reached a pinnacle that many kids set out to accomplish in their high school careers, as he was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Atlanta, Georgia. And the best part? Both Reid and King were also selected to play in the game, as New Jersey had three representatives in the prestigious event.

Quinerly looks to make a move. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography/Northeast Basketball Club)

When asked about playing in the McDonald’s Game, he replied, “That was a dream come true. That was something I’d been working for ever since I entered high school. Seeing that come true for me showed me that anything is possible. That’s what I try to tell the youth, that anything is possible.”

Quinerly is also a part of the basketball conglomerate, the “Jelly Fam,” which includes Minnesota freshman guard Isaiah Washington, former Robert Morris guard Leondre Washington, Ole Miss redshirt Milicia “Mimi” Reid, Seton Hall freshman Jordan Walker, UConn redshirt Sid Wilson and Teaneck senior Ja’Quaye James.

The “Jelly Fam” is a nationwide movement that has captivated many kids around the country. The “jelly’ is a layup that is similar to the finger roll, which was created by NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin. The move has become popular for kids who do not have the athletic gifts as far as dunking the ball, so the layup gives them a certain type of flair and style.

On August 4th, at the famed Dyckman Tournament in the Inwood section of Manhattan, the Jelly Fam held their “Jelly Day” event and had the crowd of at least 2,000 people in the park in a frenzy during a high school division game between Tenth Ave and Northeast Basketball Club. The mere presence of the crew members, including Quinerly, made the game feel like one big concert.

Quinerly shows off the razzle-dazzle at “Jelly Day” at the famed Dyckman Basketball Tournament.

Also, in the dunk contest of the McDonald’s All-American Game, instead of a dunk, Quinerly showed off the “jelly” in front of a nationwide audience and the crowd inside the gym at Clark Atlanta University.

When asked about being a part of that famous group, Quinerly replied, “Jelly Fam, it’s blowing up. It’s blown up so much over time, as you can see in the tri-state area at first, and now the nation. Eight or  nine of us, we’re brothers and sister off the court. Mimi’s our sister and that’ll never change, and we just stay true to each other, we never switch up.”

Now that his high school days are officially over, Quinerly’s next move is the college game. On February 14th, he committed to Villanova, which most recently won the national championship, its third in school history and second in the last three seasons.

When asked what made him commit to the Wildcats and what he will bring to the Main Line next season, he replied, “I committed to Villanova because they was recruiting me since my sophomore year. I like what Jay Wright does with the program, it’s a great culture at Villanova, a great education, I want to major in business, they have one of the best business schools in the country, close to home, an hour-and-a half away from my house, so all those things, they played a huge part in my decision and I look forward to going out there this summer.”

Quinerly and fellow Hudson Catholic seniors Louis King, Luther Muhammad and Shackylle Dezonie wait to be introduced before a home game. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

Quinerly will go into Villanova with the task of replacing Jalen Brunson, who will graduate early and will go into this year’s NBA Draft and also competing with freshman Collin Gillespie, which looks like it could be an interesting battle in practice.

But as he moves on into the next level, he leaves the Garden State with a huge legacy.

“My legacy at Hudson Catholic: four Hudson County championships in a row, which is seven in a row for the school in its history, me and Louis were the first McDonald’s All-Americans out of Hudson Catholic, 1,800+ points, all of that goes together, and I’m just happy with how I’m leaving there. Middle schoolers are looking at that, and they’re trying to beat that, they’re trying to go to Hudson and prove a point. What’s next for me? Next level.”

Next year, Quinerly will be showing off the “jelly” before crowds at the Pavilion, the on-campus arena or at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. But one thing that Wildcats fans can bank on is that they will be getting the best out of Hackensack’s native son, the called they call, simply, “JQ.”

Highlights of Jahvon Quinerly:

Courtesy of In The Lab News.

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.

Courtesy of Unguarded.

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.

Courtesy of Hoop Major Media.

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of Home Team Hoops/Primetime Hoops.

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.

Courtesy of Rivals.

Courtesy of Hoop Journey.

Courtesy of Hoop Major Media.

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