Jalek Felton was one of the most entertaining high school players in the country, but now he’s just doing his best to earn playing time. After struggling in his first few games, the first-year guard is finally hitting his stride.
Felton set career highs in points, assists and rebounds in Wednesday night’s game against Western Carolina — in which the Tar Heels ran away with the 104-61 victory.
“The coaches do a great job at reminding the younger guys that whenever you take the court, that’s your audition,” Joel Berry II said.
You could say that Felton passed his audition.
He capped off a solid first half with the ball in his hands. With eight seconds remaining in the half, he caught the ball near the left sideline and steadily worked up the court. He used a slick behind-the-back move and pull-up from the free throw line to drill an easy shot with two seconds to spare. It’s this level of poise that you need in big-time scenarios.
“When I hit my first two shots, got an assist and it just felt like everything was rolling,” Felton said.
Felton also had an extremely well-rounded game. He finished 15 points, five assists and three rebounds. Time and time again he made good passes to find wide open shooters or big men under the basket.
In the second half, the court was his. Just past the 10-minute mark, Felton had an instance where he showed off his handles, slashed into the lane with a spin move and dumped the ball off to Brandon Huffman for a slam. There was little that Felton didn’t do in this game.
He is producing at the perfect time, as well. Seventh Woods, who has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot, has sat out the last three games and will be unavailable for a while.