If it’s April, that means that there’s Marquette basketball recruiting news out there. In this case, the news is that the MU staff has offered a scholarship to 2019 guard Jalen Gaffney.
Jalen Gaffney, a class of 2019 PG playing for Team Rio (NJ), just picked up an offer from Marquette.— Pat Lawless (@PatLawless_) May 2, 2018
Blessed to receive a scholarship offer from Marquette University pic.twitter.com/34TnGspABD— Jalen Gaffney (@thefuture12__) May 2, 2018
Gaffney’s 247 Sports page lists him as a 6’2”, 170 pound combo guard hailing from Columbus, New Jersey. He attends Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which means, yes, he’s a Philadelphia area guy.
His recruiting rankings are a bit misleading at this point, it seems. 247 has him at #239 in the country, and their internal system has him at #149. However, he has 16 scholarship offers listed without including the Golden Eagles, and that list includes Florida, St. John’s, Temple, Xavier, LSU, Minnesota, Rutgers, and Seton Hall. Three offers — Marquette, Xavier, and Temple -- have all come since April 1st of this year. At some point, having nine high major scholarship offers is a better indication of his abilities than the recruiting ranking that’s been given to him. There’s also this article from 247’s Brian Snow that highlights his impressive spring so far. Well, at least I presume it does as it’s behind the 247 firewall. That’s what the headline says, though.
He’s listed as a combo guard, but this article from Adam Zagoria from December calls him a point guard. It also says this about him from his AAU coach:
“Jalen Gaffney is one of a select few players that you find each year that once his body matures and catches up to his game (skills and athleticism), the basketball world asks where did this kid come from?” said Team Rio coach Mike Rice. “He’s a great decision-maker with Russell Westbrook like athleticism.”
Pro tip for everyone: Don’t compare high school juniors to perhaps the most athletically gifted NBA player. There are better ways of explaining what you’re talking about there. And yes, because I know you’re wondering, it’s that Mike Rice.
Anywho, the reason why I bring up the point guard thing is because it’s very clear that MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski is intent on bringing in a point guard/lead guard type for his 2019 recruiting class. Marquette has offers out already to Tyrese Maxey, D.J. Carton, James Bishop, and Paul Mulcahy in the class of 2019, and Nico Mannion, who also has a Marquette offer, is talking about reclassifying from 2020 to 2019. The offers to Maxey, Carton, and Mannion all date back a while now, but the offers to Bishop, Mulcahy, and now Gaffney are all since the beginning of 2018.
Here’s what the scholarship chart looks like right now:
As you can see from the chart, Marquette’s lead guard/point guard situation in the fall of 2019 looks to be just senior Markus Howard and redshirt junior Koby McEwen. While that’s probably fine for the 2019-20 season, it’s not as great for 2020-21, when that drops down to just McEwen in his senior season. You can see why this is becoming a massive priority for Wojo and his staff.
We’ll close on this highlight video of Gaffney, which has clips from just this past weekend at the Under Armour event in Indianapolis. It is, of course, merely highlights, but you get a good idea of Gaffney’s speed, agility, creativity, and athleticism.