PHOENIX – Fresh off its first dance in the NCAA Tournament, Grand Canyon University is a finalist for the services of Jaelen House, the Arizona State transfer and local product out of Shadow Mountain High School, who made the announcement on Twitter.
House, a 19-year-old guard entering his junior season, made a name for himself at Arizona State with his defensive effort, compiling 72 steals in his two seasons at ASU, second only to Remy Martin’s 75.
His announcement comes a week after former ASU teammate Taeshon Cherry announced his transfer to Grand Canyon after playing in only seven games for the Sun Devils this past season before leaving the team for personal reasons.
If he were to choose GCU, House would not only stay in Phoenix, but also be reunited with high school teammate Jovan Blacksher Jr. In their four years at Shadow Mountain, House and Blacksher led the Matadors to four consecutive state championships.
GCU has flexed its muscle on the recruiting trail. The potential addition of House would only further improve a program that’s on the rise.
In its eighth season at the Division I level, GCU won the WAC championship and made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament this past March, when the Antelopes lost to second-seed Iowa in the first round.
“This was an unbelievable year for our program, to get to the NCAA Tournament,” coach Bryce Drew said. “We definitely want to keep elevating this program and try to get it to higher levels.”
House would bring energy and budding leadership abilities to GCU, both of which made their mark on his former ASU teammates.
“He brings energy every day,” ASU guard Alonzo Verge said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s practice or a walkthrough. He’s talkative. As he gets older, he’ll get better and better. I really respect him because of the things he does and how he carries himself. He’s a good player and a good teammate. He’s somebody you want to have on your team. He motivates you and does the right things. He doesn’t make any excuses and he goes hard.”
It was House’s offensive improvement, however, that became a major story for the Sun Devils. Coming off the bench, House put up 5.3 points per game, bettering the 3.9 points per game he averaged as a freshman. He was also the team’s best 3-point shooter (minimum of 10 attempts), hitting 23 of 59 (39%) from behind the arc.
“I’m not just a defensive player,” House said. “That’s not how I am. Next year, I feel like I’ll be able to be a better offensive player … and I feel like I’ll be able to shine with my other teammates.”
Those teammates could be wearing purple.