Ever since University High wrapped up its third straight Class 3A state title in boys basketball in March, Jalen Johnson has been searching for his happily ever after finish.
The 6-foot-7 Johnson says he’s found it in Saint Louis University. Johnson committed to the Billikens on Wednesday and hopes to sign as soon as possible.
“There were two or three schools that showed me their program was like a family,” Johnson said. “But it was more than that at Saint Louis. It felt like it was a family, but I also felt a real bond — the kind that means they’ll be there for me even when I’m older.”
Johnson, who missed most of one prep season with a torn ACL, was one of Louisiana’s breakout players in 2015-16. He averaged 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the Cubs and was voted the MVP of the 3A title game.
In the title game, Johnson scored 28 points and made 9 of 12 shots from the field. It would be the start of a series of a post-season honors.
In addition to being voted the Class 3A Outstanding Player by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and earning All-Metro honors, Johnson was the East MVP at the annual LHSCA East-West All-Star star. He scored 31 points in the LHSCA game, including four 3-pointers.
Johnson said UTEP, Louisiana-Lafayette and Southern Mississippi were his other finalists.
Saint Louis is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Another local player who made his mark in the Atlantic 10, former Christian Life star Langston Galloway of St. Joseph’s, is now with the New York Knicks. Johnson said he thinks Saint Louis’ style of play gives him a chance to take his game to a higher level.
“They run an NBA style offense,” Johnson said. “I like that, and I think I’ll be able to fit into that style well.
“I’ve been told there’s a chance for me to earn playing time, hopefully a lot of it, soon. I think all of this will give me the best chance to make my dream of playing in the NBA come true.”