Lafayette High product Jalen Dalcourt to get his chance in Division I at San Jose State
Jalen Dalcourt has heard it all before.
For years the naysayers have talked about how he lacks size, or his game isn't good enough to play college basketball, or he's not as good as his brother Corey Davis Jr., who starred for the Houston Cougars and now plays professionally overseas.
Nevertheless Dalcourt, a former Lafayette High guard, remained focused on fulfilling his dream. He focused on the voices of people who believed in him such as the coaches at two junior college programs — Tallahassee Community College and Iowa Western Community College — that each gave him a year to prove his worth.
"I've been told that I need to stop trying to live in my brother's shadow and all of that," Dalcourt said. "I don't like being referred to as Corey's little brother. I know that it is going to happen, but I'm trying to make a name for myself."
Dalcourt, who enjoyed two solid seasons in the junior college ranks, will get the opportunity to blaze his own trail after committing to play Division I basketball at San Jose State University.
"I'm so excited about the opportunity to play Division I basketball and to play for San Jose State," said Dalcourt, who will be playing in the Mountain West Conference. "That has been my goal the entire time. To be coming from juco, it is good to see all of the hard work paying off. I knew I could do it."
Dalcourt, a 6-2 guard, chose the Spartans over Idaho, North Dakota, Jackson State, Prairie View A&M, James Madison and Jacksonville University. With the Spartans, Dalcourt will be reunited with childhood friend in Northside High alum Seneca Knight and former juco teammate Richard Washington.
"I chose San Jose State because I really felt comfortable with the program and the coaching staff," Dalcourt said. "They are in a good conference and they play against some really good competition. I'm a very competitive person, and Coach made sure I knew that nothing was going to be given to me. I like that because I like being able to prove myself to people.
"Also, two good friends of mine are playing there," Dalcourt continued. "In the end I just wanted to go somewhere that I knew I'd be happy."
As a sophomore last year at Iowa Western, Dalcourt averaged 10.6 points while shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range. In his freshman campaign at Tallahassee, Dalcourt averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists en route to earning an invite to the elite Jerry Mullen Top Juco Camp that summer.
"Jalen is a combo guard that has a scoring mentality," Spartans men's basketball coach Jean Prioleau said in a release on the school's website. "His versatility gives us quality depth. He can get into the lane with penetration and he can shoot the three with range from the perimeter. Depth on the perimeter is not only essential in the Mountain West, but around the country."
Admittedly, Dalcourt wasn't happy about starting his college career at a junior college, but as he reflects on the past two years, he's glad he did.
"I didn't really want to go the juco route, but it was the only options I had coming out of high school," Dalcourt said. "I knew that I was going to have to really work hard in juco because everyone there is looking for the Division I opportunity. The juco experience was really good for me. I feel like I really found myself as a person and as a player."
Despite being on the verge of fulfilling his dream of playing Division I college basketball, Dalcourt isn't resting on his laurels.
"It's time to get right back to work," Dalcourt said. "This is just another stepping stone to get where I want to be. There is still more to come."
Eric Narcisse covers high school sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @eric_narcisse.