JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State has officially received a national letter of intent from junior-college transfer Jaylen Riley, Buccaneers men's basketball coach Murry Bartow announced Tuesday.
Riley, a 6-foot, 175-pound shooting guard, averaged 19.3 points a game last season for Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Ill. He was a third-team NJCAA Division I All-American a year ago, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and 71 percent from the foul line.
"We were searching for a combo guard who can score, and Jalen meets that need," Bartow said in a statement from the university. "He can really make 3s, but he can also create his own shot, which is something we were looking for. We obviously felt like we needed more scoring punch on the perimeter, and with Jaylen we are getting a guy that averaged 20 points a game last year."
Riley said he has a simple goal for his time at ETSU.
"I want to show the fans at ETSU how much passion I have for the game, and I hope all of us can have a lot of fun," he said in the statement. "I'm a shooter and I like to score the basketball, but the biggest thing is I love the game and I'm ready to seize the opportunity I'm getting in Johnson City. I really like the coaching staff and the guys on the team, and I'm really thankful for this chance to play at ETSU."
Despite his ability to shoot and score, Sauk Valley coach Russ Damhoff said Riley is not just a one-dimensional player.
"He did make 95 3-pointers for us and shot over 40 percent last year, and at the end of the year I think most teams knew that he was the guy we were going to when we needed points — but he's much more than that," Damhoff said. "He's not afraid to pass and no one on our team thought of him as selfish. All year he made a huge difference for us, especially when we moved him to the 2 guard. He's very coachable and the best thing about him is he's got an extremely high basketball IQ.
"I think the fans at East Tennessee State will enjoy having him on the team."
Riley joins a trio of players who have already signed as part of the ' 2013-14 recruiting class: Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.), Maurice O'Field (Cleveland, Ohio) and A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.).