NBA Scouts Eye 10-Year-Old Hoops Prodigy
Basketball prodigy Jaylin Fleming, 10, is attracting attention not only from college coaches, but from the NBA.
"As far as his age, he's the best that I've seen," Refiloe Lethunya, a former Division I player, coach and NBA scout, tells the Chicago Tribune.
High school and college coaches have started courting Fleming, a 5-foot-1-inch fifth-grader at Beasley Academic Center in Chicago.
"They invite us to games and they call on a weekly basis and let us know that they're interested in him," says Fleming's dad, John Fleming. "They ask about his grades. They understand that it's 'no books, no ball.' And I'm not going to let him play if he's not doing what he's supposed to be doing in the classroom."
Some disagree with the practice of courting athletes this young.
"He represents much of what is wrong with our athletic system," says one NBA assistant who asked not to be identified. "He already has so many hands in the batter it is almost sickening. ... If he gets big and strong, stays healthy and is actually coachable ... he may succeed. (But) the track record for child prodigies is not an uplifting one."
So far, though, the pressure doesn't seem to be affecting Fleming. He is an A and B student, who does two hours of homework each night, goes to Bible study on Thursdays and plays video games and football with his younger brother, the Tribune reports.
"I never feel pressure to play," Fleming says. "I want to play basketball. I just stay humble and keep working hard."
Related: Kindergarten Student Gets Early Start as a Basketball Referee
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.