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June 1, 2011

Jamel Artis stepping up his game

Jamel Artis isn't afraid to admit that his junior season at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., fell short of expectations.

The Baltimore native and former Dunbar player had a decent amount of individual success, scoring “about 12 points a game.” He also improved his academic standing. But the Gray Bees, a perennial national power, labored through a 13-12 season.

“We lost a lot of games,” said Artis, who hasn’t decided where he will attend school this fall. “It wasn’t a good fit for me. … But I was one of the major players on the team.”

This spring, Artis is back to his winning ways with some familiar faces by his side in his Nike Baltimore Elite 17-and-under teammates. Artis, a 6-foot-5 ½, 190-pound point guard, guided NBE last weekend to a 5-0 record during the third session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in Torrance, Calif.

“I think everything went pretty good, [and we] just came out strong,” Artis said. “I knew we were going to get the five wins, so we just came out and played aggressive. Everything came our way. I think everything went well. … The chemistry is very good. Everybody knows their role on the team. Nobody goes off on their own and [everybody] is good to do what they do. That helps, for real.”

Artis played the role of facilitator, setting up Isaiah Miles (Glenelg Country), Kayel Locke (McDonogh), Kameron Williams (Mount St. Joseph), Daquein McNeil (Vermont Academy) and his other scoring-inclined teammates. For the weekend, Artis averaged seven points, 4.6 rebounds and two assists. analyst Eric Bossi was impressed with what he saw out of Artis in California, writing that “the 6-foot-5 wing is strong, can handle the ball a bit and is an outstanding passer. We'll be monitoring him more down the road, but Artis looks to have some high major potential with a little smoothing out of the edges of his game.”

Artis said he’s still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but several high- and mid-major programs have expressed interest in him, including Connecticut, Maryland, Miami, Ohio State, Richmond, Syracuse, Texas, Virginia Tech, Washington and Xavier. Artis said three of those schools are at the top of his wish list.

“I like Syracuse, Xavier and Washington,” Artis said. “Syracuse, [in] their 3-2 zone, I can play at the top of the 3-2. Washington, it goes through their point guard. Everything runs through their point guard. And Xavier, I just think that would be a good fit.”

Most of the interested programs tell Artis that they like his ball-handling abilities, his floor vision and his size. He describes himself as a “point forward” that attacks the basket.

Thanks to Nike Baltimore Elite’s perfect showing last weekend, the program locked up an invite to the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., next month. Artis can’t wait to showcase his game for college coaches in attendance.

“I was expecting some offers by now,” he said, “but I’ll just keep working hard, and it’ll come.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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