Tue Apr 06 11:15am EDT
Jaylin Fleming is a fifth-grader from Chicago. Like most boys his age, he enjoys playing basketball. There's one slight difference between Fleming and the others, though: They aren't considered the best 10-year-old basketball players in America.
The dribbling skills and jump shots demonstrate Fleming's ability, but the clip where he instructs his center on where to set a screen is most telling of how far along his game really is (it comes at about the 1:15 mark). Being successful in basketball is more than just shooting well, it's having an innate feel for the game, a basketball IQ. That can't be taught. It's an instinct, one that Fleming seems to posses.
However, being good as a 10-year-old has almost nothing to do with being good as an 18-year-old. This is why the process of trying to identify young athletic talent is always risky. It's not the same as being a piano prodigy; the piano stays the same, basketball changes. Competition gets bigger and better and can narrow the ability gap. Plus, there's a chance that young basketball prodigies don't grow as tall as expected, or see their speed slow down in relation to everyone else or stop improving, or burn out.
That's for the future, though. For now, Fleming is a well-adjusted 10-year-old who happens to have a wicked crossover dribble. If he keeps along this path, who knows, maybe we'll be writing about him on our college basketball blog, The Dagger, in 2018.