When Wright State faces Tennessee in the NCAA tournament at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, no Raiders player will have a bigger cheering section than freshman Jaylon Hall, who grew up 230 miles away in Houston.
“I’m definitely going to have a lot of family here,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how many, but it’s going to be a lot. I might have a mini student section just for me.”
Hall moved to Louisville prior to his freshman year in high school to play for his uncle and Doss High School coach Tony Williams and hasn’t often been back to Texas to see the rest of his family.
“My extended family hasn’t seen me play, and some of them haven’t seen me at all, since my eighth grade year,” he said. “So me just being in the state of Texas, it’s special.”
Hall has continued to grow throughout his freshman year. He’s scored in double figures in three consecutive games and 11 of 16. But where he has shown the most improvement is on defense.
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“Jaylon was one of our best defenders in the last two games,” assistant coach Brian Cooley said. “He was unbelievable. He’s made such a big improvement since the beginning of the year.
“We’ve been on him forever,” Cooley continued. “The vast majority of kids in high school don’t know what it means to play hard and play defense and play with toughness. With us, if you’re not going to do it, you’re not going to get on the floor. He took that to heart, and he’s locked in more. Part of it is just between the ears, knowing how important it is. He’s always had the ability to do it.”