From Collin Sexton and Kira Lewis, to even Trevor Releford and Retin Obasohan before them, Alabama’s basketball program has built a culture of dominating Point Guards. With the aforementioned Lewis departing for the NBA Draft after a stellar Sophomore campaign which saw him earn All-SEC honors and potential First-Round status, it’s time for another leader to step up.
The man who’s been tasked with replacing an all-time Alabama great? None other than the internet-icon himself, Jahvon Quinerly.
Jahvon Quinerly’s road to the Capstone has been a unique one, to say the least. A former 5-star recruit, Quinerly began his rapid ascension to stardom as leader of the “JellyFam” basketball collective in 2016. His incredible flare and feel for the game drew massive crowds across the northeast, showcasing his skills and signature moves at a few of the most recognizable street venues in America- most notably the iconic Rucker Park in New York. On the High-School circuit itself, Quinerly was equally impressive, winning New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year twice and nabbing a McDonald’s All-American selection as a Senior. By the time his High School career was over, Quinerly had arguably become the biggest name in amateur basketball— with highlight reels having received millions of views across YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. After a brief commitment to Arizona that was barred by the ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball, Quinerly reluctantly elected to take his talents to Villanova in February of 2018.
Ultimately, things at never worked out in Philadelphia. Quinerly struggled to find consistency and freedom in Jay Wright’s system, mustering only a meager 3.2pts, 0.8rebs, and 0.9asts in a full season of action— and, honestly, who could blame him? After the 2017-18 FBI probe into college basketball occurred, the Quinerly family became shrouded in controversy. His mother, Caren, was accused and later acquitted of accepting a $15,000 payment from Arizona’s Book Richardson- a situation that ultimately led to her hospitalization for emotional distress. Quinerly’s overall focus began to fall as a result of the brutal and unfair backlash, and his opportunities on the court shriveled.
In April of 2019, Quinerly entered the NCAA transfer portal in hopes of finding a new beginning and system that fits his style of play. He found just that in Alabama and Nate Oats.
“When I came to Alabama, I just fell in love, just being able to walk around campus and people are genuinely nice to you even though they don’t know who you are.”
Quinerly applied for an NCAA waiver that would grant him immediate eligibility for the Tide, but in one of the more egregious decisions of the year, it was denied. Alabama appealed this decision, but it was denied once more. As a result, Quinerly was forced to sit out the entire 2019-20 season.
However, in practice, it became overwhelmingly apparent that Quinerly was one of the best players on the team—If not the best.
“Shoot, there’s days in which he’s the best player in practice,” Crimson Tide Head Coach Nate Oats said. “Even when he’s not the best player in practice he’s right up there every day. He gives you a great look […] He’s tough to stop. He’s going to be an integral part of the program three years moving forward.
Not only has Quinerly performed in practice, he’s also helped on the recruiting trail—befriending 5-star Alabama commitment Joshua Primo, who cited Quinerly as a leading factor in his decision.
“Other than that, developing a relationship with Jahvon Quinerly and watching their fast-paced play night in and night out made a big impact.”
An unorthodox path full of twists and turns led Jahvon Quinerly to Tuscaloosa. Now, as he enters his Redshirt Sophomore year, all eyes will be glued onto the young playmaker’s journey— and with the dedication and chip-on-his-shoulder mentality that he carries I, for one, suspect he’ll be just fine.
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