MULLINS, S.C. — Mark Gerald has coached a lot of good backcourt duos in his more than 20 years of coaching at Mullins.
Alex Brown and Jalek Felton definitely are near the top of the list. The duo averaged 35 points last year in their first season together but expect more both on and off the court this season.
“ Last year, we didn’t hang out each with each other like that off the court and went our separate ways,” said Brown, a senior. “We hang out more now and got a got lot more chemistry.”
Felton, the nephew of New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton, moved to Mullins in late August and said it was an adjustment getting used to his new school and teammates. Gerald used to have Brown and Felton go against each other playing one-on-one after practice.
“ He used to tear me up at first and fly right past me,” Felton said of Brown. Now we are even.”
Gerald said he has seen in a difference in chemistry between the two players and is hoping for bigger things in year two together.
“ Alex is the leader and Jalek is right there,” the longtime Mullins coach said. “Alex leads by example. He is first in every drill and we pair them two together.”
Gerald calls Brown the hardest worker he has worked with since Raymond Felton. Brown, 6-foot-3, was the Auctioneers’ leading scorer and rebounder last year at 20 points and nine rebounds a game playing small and power forward for the Aucs.
But Gerald is moving him to shooting guard this season because that is the spot he will have to play in college. The senior has drawn interest from some mid-major and Division II colleges.
“ It is a major adjustment,” Brown said. “I have been working on my ball handling and seeing the court. I think I have become a better shooter and I am quicker on my feet.”
Despite the position switch, Gerald said he won’t be afraid to play him at forward if the team needs it during a game.
While Brown is the team leader, Felton has the potential to be the best to ever put on a Mullins uniform. As an eighth-grader, the point guard averaged 15 points, six assists and four steals. But Felton’s stock really took off over the summer and fall as he was named the top freshman at the Fab Frosh Camp in Lexington, Ky., and Jim Crouch Camp in New York.
Felton, 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, already is drawing interest from high profile Division I schools, including North Carolina and attended Late Night with Roy, the Tar Heels’ version of Midnight Madness last month.
“ Over the summer he made one of biggest jumps I have seen in a kid,” Gerald said. “He is a legit 6-foot-3 now. He is long and is finishing and can shoot it. Every part of his game got better.
“ But Jalek also knows all the attention he is getting because of the projection people think he is going to be. He can’t stay in same spot but he is always looking to improve. Sometimes, you get a real good player and they don’t like working out. But he likes working out and getting better. “
Felton said the biggest part of his game he has worked on during the summer is being more aggressive. He said he was a little passive last season, deflecting the attention to the older guys on the team, but plans on being more assertive this year.
“ I want to get to the basket a little more,” Felton said. “I was a little tentative and wasn’t aggressive. But I learned to be more aggressive at these camps so it will be a different story this year.”