Joe Gaiter: What does basketball mean to you?
Jalen Lovett: Basketball means a lot to me. It has taught me many lessons that can be applied to real life situations. Basketball has taken me to some great places. Birmingham, Alabama, which I would’ve never went there if I wasn’t playing basketball. I created so many lifelong relationships with a variety of people and I’m thankful for that. Now, I’m heading to San Francisco, California. Hopefully, I can do the same there. I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.
Joe Gaiter: What is your untold story?
Jalen Lovett: My untold story is that I’ve never really played organized basketball until I got to Lawson State. I played one year or Junior Varsity basketball in 9th grade but I didn’t get any playing time. I was academically ineligible 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. I had zero HS basketball experience and I was still able to play college basketball at a high level at junior college. I even garnered a lot of interest from some Division 1 schools. I’m really blessed to be in the position I’m in. I didn’t let the downfalls of my past keep me from achieving my goals. I graduated High School with a 1.9 GPA. I turned around and graduated from Lawson State with a 3.3 GPA and an Associates Degree in Sport/Fitness Management. I’m walking proof that you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind and focus into it.
Joe Gaiter: What are some of your fondest memories at Lawson State?
Jalen Lovett: Man I had the best 2 years of my life at Lawson State. I met some amazing people that I’ll forever be thankful for. The city was amazing it isn’t how everybody thinks it is. It didn’t go how I imagined it going athletically, but it was definitely a learning experience. I can honestly say I had a great time for the 2 years I was there. Best decision I’ve ever made up to this point in my life. I’m forever in debt to Lawson State. I want to thank Dr. Ward (president), Coach Maston (former basketball coach) and Coach Rice (Athletic Director) for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime to attend Lawson State.
Joe Gaiter: What are some of your stats from last year?
Jalen Lovett: I only played 13 games last year due to injury (Jones Fracture). I averaged 13.1 points, 4.4 Rebounds, 2.2 Assist while shooting 51.2% from the floor and 37% from 3. It’s not too good but it was a major improvement from my freshman year.
Joe Gaiter: What made you commit to Academy of Art University in San Francisco?
Jalen Lovett: Coach Waterman called me a few weeks ago told me his plan for me, plan for the team and all that good stuff. I then did my research on the school and I feel as if I can do some big things there as a person and as a player. I feel we can do some big things as a team. I then took my visit and it was phenomenal. I literally spoke with just about everyone there. The most appealing thing that got me though was how genuine everyone was. The athletic director Brad Jones is a great guy. Jan Yanehiro, the head of the department I’m majoring in was very enthusiastic about everything she was telling me. Most importantly that school sets me up great for life after basketball. It’s not a traditional school. We aren’t taking your traditional classes. We’re taking classes that is going to directly apply to what we’ll be doing career wise and building a portfolio at the same time which makes you more marketable once you graduate. Academy of Art is well connected through a very large number of companies which will help you get a great job once you graduate.
Joe Gaiter: What role do you see yourself playing this year with your team?
Jalen Lovett: I’ve been told that I’m needed to score the ball, but honestly whatever the team needs from me to be successful then that’s what I’ll be doing. Whether it’s scoring, defending, rebounding, coming off the bench it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to make sure whatever I’m doing the best job I could possibly do.
Joe Gaiter: What are your thoughts on the school so far?
Jalen Lovett: The school is phenomenal and I don’t think I could ask for anything better at any level. Great Faculty, Staff, Administrators, Trainers, Coaches and it’s in a great city. I really can’t complain about anything right now.
Joe Gaiter: What has been your biggest accomplishment so far in your career?
Jalen Lovett: My biggest accomplishment has been getting to this point. As I’ve stated previously I had a rough start. I had to grind for it. Everything I have, I got it out the mud. I’m grateful to be in this position.
Joe Gaiter: What is your motivation?
Jalen Lovett: My motivation is seeing my family struggle simple as that. Plus I’m the oldest of 6 children so I have to lead by example. I mean I don’t have anything else other than that.
Joe Gaiter: What are keys in playing your position?
Jalen Lovett: Great question! I’m not sure if I can give any specific details, but all I can say is play hard and listen to all instruction being given to you.
Joe Gaiter: What is your major?
Jalen Lovett: I’m majoring in Communications & Media Technologies. I want to eventually work in TV and Radio. Academy of Art isn’t a traditional school. They’re lacing me with the tools to be successful in that industry. I’m actually going to have my on radio station at the school up under UrbanKnightsRadio on iHeartRadio. Can’t give out the specific details just yet but be on the lookout. The founder of iHeartRadio actually attended the school.
Joe Gaiter: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Jalen Lovett: The next 5 years I see myself playing in the NBA. That’s the ultimate goal. I want to play basketball as long as possible.
Joe Gaiter: Has the journey been worth it?
Jalen Lovett: The journey has definitely been worth it. A few years ago I couldn’t have imagined this. I’m just looking to build on it.
Joe Gaiter: What do you want your legacy to be?
Jalen Lovett: I want to be known as someone who never gave up regardless of the situation. I want people to look at me and say if Jalen did it I can do it too.
Joe Gaiter: Final words?
Jalen Lovett: Thank you to #ArtU for giving me and opportunity to chase my dream on the West Coast. I’ve always wanted to live in California now I get to rent free lol. Thank you to Lawson State for allowing me to use you guys as a stepping stone to get closer to my dreams. Thanks to everybody whose supported up until this point Let’s Keep Going !