NATCHITOCHES – After a sensational sophomore season capped by Mid-Major All-America honors, Northwestern State junior guard Jalan West is listed among the nation’s most exciting under-the-radar college basketball players for 2014-15 in a feature by BleacherReport.com national columnist Kerry Miller.
West, a 5-10 point guard from Bossier City and Bossier High, was Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Southland and All-Louisiana selection last season. He won Mid-Major All-America honors from CollegeInsider.com and College Sports Madness.
“West has the skill to be the next player in the Stephen Curry/Damian Lillard club of mid-major NBA stars,” wrote Miller, who cited 10 players from Division I programs that are not constantly in the glare of national media attention.
West was the only player in college basketball to average at least 19 points, 6.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 4.0 rebounds last season. He was one of just two players in the NCAA Top 10 rankings for assists (6.4 per game, eighth) and steals (2.5, eighth).
A career-best 36-point eruption, only taking 16 shots from the floor, in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament, nearly lifting Northwestern to a season-extending victory over eventual NCAA Tournament entry Stephen F. Austin, raised West’s scoring average to 19.4. It made him the fourth player in 101 years of basketball at NSU to top 600 points in a season, and gave him the best single-season scoring average by a Demon since Eric Kubel and Larry Terry each averaged better than 22 points in 1993-94.
West shot 46 percent overall, 41 percent on 3-pointers, and sank 87.6 percent of his free throws, third best in school history.
West, who blocked eight shots during the season, had 10 rebounds at Sam Houston State. Among his four 30-point games was 30 with nine rebounds, six assists and three steals in a 111-92 win at Auburn. He is on pace to set new school career records for assists, steals, and 3-pointers, and may threaten Billy Reynolds’ career scoring mark. West had at least 20 points, five assists and five rebounds in four different games last season.
He is 74 career points shy of becoming the 28th member of the Demons’ 1,000-Point Club. His 362 assists rank him seventh in school history and well past halfway to shattering Ryan Bundy’s record 552 from 1994-98. With 153 career steals, he is sixth all-time at NSU and on pace to break Tyronn Mitchell’s school record of 264 from 2002-06. West already has 120 made 3-pointers, with the school record at 200 by Jermaine Wallace from 2002-06, and his 70 this season ranks fifth in NSU history.
Along with his NCAA top 10 rankings last season in assists and steals, West was 25th in free throw aim, 36th in points per game and 54th in assist-turnover ratio (plus 2.35).
His production helped the Demons rank second nationally in scoring average (86.6 per game), seventh in steals per game (8.7), eighth in assists (16.5), 24th in turnover margin (plus 2.7), 25th in blocked shots (5.4), 36th in free throw aim (74.1 percent) and 40th in field goal aim (47.0).
West was ranked as the nation’s fourth-best player under 6-foot tall late in the season by BleacherReport.com analysts.
Northwestern has won 40 games, with an overall 40-23 record, in West’s first two seasons, and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2013 when he was the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year.
– – Northwestern State Sports Information