Morehead State University men’s basketball coach Preston Spradlin might not have succeeded in his initial recruitment, but he didn’t miss the second chance to bring the familiar face of Jaylen Sebree back to the bluegrass state.
The 6-foot-7 Hopkinsville native suited up for Christian County in his high school career and averaged 16.9 ppg and 8.5 rpg while leading the Colonels to a 27-8 mark in his senior season in 2016-17.
Sebree then spent a season at IMG Academy before ultimately deciding to continue his athletic career at Florida Atlantic University.
In his first season with the Owls, Sebree averaged 9.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg while shooting 36% from three. However, an injury sidelined him. In his sophomore campaign, his production dipped to 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds, but he played in all 32 games.
Shortly after the 2019 season came to a close, Sebree made the decision to enter the transfer portal. Sebree made the decision in hopes to return closer to home because of some personal and family issues that warranted a move.
Spradlin never took his eye off Sebree after he committed to FAU, and when he and his staff saw that he had entered the transfer portal, they jumped at the chance to add him to the roster.
“We actually recruited Jaylen out of high school,” Spradlin said. “It probably came down to us and Florida Atlantic before he chose to go there out of prep school when he was at IMG. Of course, like all players that we recruit that don’t end up coming to us or if we go in a different direction, we keep up with them.”
This time Sebree had no doubt that he wanted to join the Eagles, deciding to sign with them July 1 and return closer to home.
While Sebree didn’t choose Morehead State to begin his collegiate career, the relationship that was there and the second chance to play for the Eagles was something he appreciated.
“I felt that Morehead State really wanted me to be a part of their program to recruit me a second time and it felt differently this time,” Sebree said.
Spradlin said being able to allow Sebree to move closer to home was really important amidst the pandemic. The coach said he will be a valuable asset to the Eagles when he takes the floor.
His ability to play inside-and-out and push the break after grabbing rebounds is just one of the many great things Spradlin thinks Sebree will bring to them.
“He’s got great versatility,” Spradlin said. “He’s got great size, great athleticism. He’s got guard skills, he shoots the ball from the perimeter and I’ve always thought Jaylen has got a chance to be a really good defender.
“He’s a great offensive rebounder and it seems like he’s really worked on his perimeter shooting since he’s been down at Florida Atlantic and is going to be able to help us in that area.”
Sebree is confident in his ability on the offensive end and hopes to translate these intangibles into success for Morehead State.
“I’m hoping to be a very active member of the team that’s going to bring wins right away,” Sebree said. “I like to score and I like when my teammates score as well.”
Even more so, Sebree is ready to step foot on campus.
“I’m most looking forward to getting to know my teammates, the program, and the school,” Sebree said. “I’m looking forward to playing the teams in the OVC, and most importantly, I’m looking forward to getting my college degree from Morehead State.”
Spradlin said everyone on his roster earns their minutes through competition and that Sebree will bolster the roster while doing so to find his role with the team.
“We’ve got some other guys that can play that small forward position, but I’m really big on competition by position,” Spradlin. “We’ve gotta have depth, and I think he really adds that depth and can come in and compete for meaningful minutes and a meaningful role. Whether that’s a starting role or not, we’ll have to see once he gets here. But his experience, his versatility, his athleticism and his skill package are really in line with what we’re looking for and he’ll really enhance our roster with that.”
While there were a lot of things factoring in his returning closer to home, Sebree is looking forward to suiting up for the Eagles and has one goal on his mind — ”Conference titles and trips to the NCAA Tournament of course,” Sebree said.