Posted On: 08/5/19 4:00 PM
Yesterday, news broke that 2020 forward Jamal West, the no. 14 overall prospect in our 2020 player rankings, had committed to South Alabama, in a decision that came much quicker than expected.
South Alabama was West’s first official visit and the fact that he committed so quickly without taking any other visits speaks to what head coach Rich Riley and staff has established. The 6-foot-5 St. Frances Academy standout also had offers from Ohio, Delaware, Towson, Drexel, San Diego, Massachusetts, Marist, Mt. St. Mary’s, LIU-Brooklyn and Coastal Carolina.
“When I went down to South Alabama, they just treated me so well,” West continued, “everything was so nice. The coaches and players down there welcomed me right away and it just felt like the right situation.
West has been a proven winner since he’s entered the high school ranks. As a sophomore, he helped lead Dunbar to a Class 1A state championship. Transferring into St. Frances for his junior season, West was an immediate impact and a crucial piece to the Panthers capturing both MIAA A Conference and BCL titles.
While West may be undersized as a four, his relentless motor, supreme athleticism and impressive strength assist him in playing much bigger than listed. This past season in the MIAA playoffs and BCL title game, West was a force to be reckoned with, logging 40 points in a win over Glenelg Country and 28 points to lift his team over Mt. St. Joe. Prior to that, he gave coaches nightmares with his ability to dominate the glass on both ends.
You could throw West into any system and he’d find success with his knack of finding the right spots to score. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to produce. The questions that come to mind are things like how West fits in with Coach Riley’s system and what position will he play? West has usually filled in at the power forward position for much of his playing career. But at 6-foot-5, you don’t see too many players having great success at the Division I level at said position.
“They play a similar style of play that we do at St. Frances,” West told Prep Hoops. “They just get the ball and go. A lot of the players kept expressing to me how Coach Riley will give me freedom and let me play my game. He told me that he wants to transform me into a guard/wing. Coach Riley has watched a lot of film on me and told me he sees plenty of potential for that transformation to be successful
In my opinion, this will be one of the biggest steals when talking about prospects to come out of the Baltimore area. I would’ve bet that West was heading to a CAA school, but he should find immediate success in the Sun Belt Conference.