On Saturday afternoon, Jaylen Hoard of Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) announced his verbal commitment to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons via Twitter. The 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward is a member of the class of 2018 and held offers from Oklahoma State, Kansas, USC, Providence and more. Of those schools, Hoard relayed that the Trojans came close to being his college choice over Wake Forest.
“I picked them because I feel like it would be the best for myself,” said Hoard. “Also, I feel like I’ve built a good relationship with that coaching staff.”
The France native – he came to the United State just last year – averaged 14.9 points and 6.4 rebounds this past AAU season for Team CP3 on the Nike EYBL circuit. Hoard had visited Wake Forest unofficially earlier in the week and left impressed.
“The vibe of the campus when I went down there and also when I went to the game I really liked the atmosphere,” said Hoard. “
With his scoring and rebounding ability, the lanky forward feels optimistic on what he can bring to the team come his freshmen season next year.
“I feel like I can come in and bring versatility,” said Hoard. “I can play multiple positions and guard multiple positions.”
Hoard joins Sharone Wright Jr. of West Florence (in South Carolina) as another hard commit for the Deacons’ 2018 class. Hoard is also the second French prospect to commit to playing for head coach Danny Manning, as 6-foot-11 center Olivier Sarr had committed to the team this past spring.
Manning, a 19-year NBA veteran, along with assistant coach Randolph Childress, who played 16 seasons mainly overseas, stood out to Hoard with their professional experience.
“Coach Manning and Coach Childress played at the next level, so I figured that learning from them would benefit me a lot,” said Hoard.
Hoard is aware he has to continue to develop and follow the tutelage of his coaches if he wants to have a chance of pursuing a professional basketball career. As the developmental process of his game continues, his focus is on helping the Deacons improve on their 19-14 record in 2016-17. He’s optimistic the team will improve for this upcoming season, as they’ll aim for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2009 and 2010.
“Next year, I just expect to go there, work hard and win games,” said Hoard. “They’re going to have a good team this year and so when I come in I expect to keep that going.”
Hoard is viewed as a 5-star prospect by ESPN and a 4-star recruit by 24/7 Sports.