Posted On: 01/16/20 11:48 AM
In my five years that I’ve been scouting the Virginia area, I’ve encountered some kids that seem to get it right away and some that take some time to develop, and there’s no telling which one is better because it’s all different for every kid. However, it’s very rare that I see a kid from a young age that has the “it” factor that you watch as a freshman and say that he’s going to be a no brainer high major kid.
Most of the kids that I see like that are gifted with great genes that make them very tall or athletic for their age, but very rarely is there a 6’0” point guard that catches my eyes like that. Kings Fork sophomore Jayden Epps is one of those kids, and I’d have to say outside of Duke commit and Paul VI point guard Jeremy Roach he’s probably the most talented player that fits in those parameters I have seen at such a young age.
Last year, Epps made a name for himself in the 757 as the best young guard in the area at Granby, and this year he’s leading a Kings Fork group that despite having only one senior in their rotation is arguably one of the most talented teams in the state. While he’s just a sophomore, Epps has made it clear so far this season he is one of their leaders and their go-to guy as he’s routinely hung 30 on whoever has been put in front of him and averaging around 28 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals per game. Yes, he’s one of the best scorers in the state, but he says it’s been a great experience being able to join such a talented group and having the opportunity to grow with them moving forward.
“I’m just loving my new team,” Epps said emphatically. “My new team, we got so much time to play together and practice together and get to know each other, it’s been a great experience so far.”
A stocky 6’0” guard that can score off the bounce from anywhere on the floor, Epps has lit teams up with his range out to thirty feet and his ability to get downhill and finish with the floater in the midrange. He’s a guy who has been playing up in AAU for the past few years and was the starting guard on a talented Boo Williams 16U group last year, and despite his early success he’s a gym rat who knows he needs to keep getting better in a number of ways.
“I just been working, all summer I was working hard and I just want to keep seeing progress,” he said. “I want to just keep progressing and keep getting better so I can continue to be successful. I know I need to keep improving on my defense and get my teammates involved a little more and we’ll be a successful team.”
While he’s still young and ha shown some spouts of immaturity at times, the sophomore guard understands his game and knows what he does well when he’s on the floor. He’s a guy who can score the ball in so many different ways it leads to defenses game planning to shut him down, and he’s able to then make plays for others.
“I’m someone who can score the ball well while also getting other guys involved. I consider myself a team player and try to be one as much as I can and a guy who just gets Ws.”
With all the hype as a young prospect, it’s nice to hear him talk about how much work he still needs to do. He’s a fiery competitor that puts winning above anything else, and he just wants to use his talents to help his team win as much as possible. When asked about his goals, he didn’t mention All State or All Region, instead opting to talk about improvement and winning instead.
“Individually, I just want to keep playing how I’m playing and keep making my team better, make my team the best team we can be so we can win a state championship.”
Epps is becoming a nationally touted prospect who already holds offers from Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Florida, Providence, VCU, St. Louis and ODU, among others. While some young prospects want all the early offers for the clout on social media and elsewhere, Epps knows that all of that will come with time as long he stays focused and continues to work on his game.
“I’m hearing a lot from schools like Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, a lot of schools like that but I’m just trying to stay focused and stay poised and keep going and keep getting better.”
It’s still a while until he has to worry about picking a school, but when I asked him what he would be considering when the time comes he said he’s just looking for somewhere that he can fit in and make an impact immediately.
“I’ll be looking for a school that just lets me play my game. I’m a scorer that can get my teammates involved, my teammates trust me and I have trust in my teammates, and I like to play around good players so that would be good as well.”
I’m not one to usually overhype young players, but every time I watch Epps it’s hard to not talk about how special he is. Considering he doesn’t check all of the boxes from a physical and athletic standpoint, he still has high major programs all over him and the recruitment frenzy isn’t the only thing. Kings Fork has become the hottest ticket in the 757, as they’ve sold out a number of events this year and have become somewhat of a hated team with their demeanor and the way they have beat a lot of teams this year.
Whether you want to watch him hoping to see him lose, it’s hard to hate on the talent and passion that Epps plays the game with. I would suggest anyone who’s a fan of high school basketball in the 757 to check out Epps and his KF team, and if you’re a college coach that hasn’t got the memo yet, it’s time to get on him before it’s too late.