FAIRBORN — This season, it has become evident that Wright State University’s men’s college basketball program has several options for offense on any given night. One of them has been their 6-foot-5 true freshman guard from Houston, Jaylon Hall.
The Raiders were struggling offensively Feb. 8 against Green Bay after scoring only 19 points in the first half. In the second, Hall accounted for 12 points and three steals, including one late in regulation, to help spur a 68-64 WSU victory.
“I am really proud of Jaylon Hall and how he came back after that bad first half,” WSU coach Scott Nagy said following the game. “It would have been easy for him to fold up the tent and go home.”
“The coaches believe in me and I’ve always been an aggressive offensive player, because it comes natural to me. I know I can contribute coming off the bench when we’re struggling,” Hall said. “I knew I could make a pretty big impact at the beginning of the season, once I started practicing with the guys and getting to know everybody’s game. It was a role I fell into and established with my teammates.”
Shortly after his campus visit to WSU Hall was ready to commit, because he felt that the personalities and playing styles on the team would gel together well.
“I felt like the culture here was changing. The coach (Nagy) and my teammates were a big part of it because, throughout the year, that’s who I’m with the most,” Hall said. “I just had to make sure I had a good bond with the guys and (be) somewhere that I could come away from home and feel wanted. I love it here.”
Coming primarily off the bench, Hall has recorded 18 total steals, which is a skill he attributes to the coaching of Nagy.
“He’s helped me grow defensively and become a two-way player,” Hall said. “In high school I played defense, but that wasn’t really my focus during my senior year. He motivates me and keeps me on the right track.”
Off the court, Hall contributes to his team through one of his hobbies.
“I’m the team barber,” Hall said. “My dad cuts hair, so that is something I grew up with. I can’t explain it, but it just comes naturally from seeing it so much in my life.”
When he is in the midst of a game, Hall’s source of motivation is about 1,000 miles away in Houston.
“When I’m on the court, my motivation is my family in Houston,” Hall said. “Every time I step on the floor I know they’re watching. I just try to give them a show, because I don’t get to see them that often.”
With five games remaining, the Raiders are in the stretch run of their regular-season slate. Though Hall probably has a case for Freshman of the Year in the Horizon League, individual accolades are far from his mind.
“I don’t have any individual goals, because that isn’t who I am. I’m more of a team guy and, as long as we’re winning, I’m happy,” Hall said. “I just want to make it to the tournament my freshman year.”
The Raiders will host Northern Kentucky at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 for their next game.