Less than a week after Jalek Felton announced he’s withdrawing from North Carolina, schools are starting to reach out to the former Gray Collegiate standout.
Dion Bethea, Felton’s high school coach at Gray, said South Carolina, Texas Tech, East Tennessee State, Illinois, Georgetown and Clemson are among those to reach out. Clemson and any other ACC school are doubtful because he would have to sit out two years instead of one because of conference rules.
Many believe South Carolina would be a logical choice because of the proximity and that USC coach Frank Martin recruited Felton in high school. Felton had high praise of Martin during recruiting even though he ended up picking UNC.
“He gives me good knowledge all the time,” Felton told The (Raleigh) News & Observer of Martin in 2016.
Bethea said Felton’s mom and grandparents are handling contact from the schools. He thinks Felton won’t drag out the process and might have a decision in next couple months.
“It could be South Carolina and be closer to his family and friends,” Bethea said. “Once USC gets done with the season, I’m pretty they are going to have a conversation and I’m pretty sure they’ll be interested about it.”
On Jan. 30, North Carolina announced it suspended Felton, and he wasn’t able to participate in any university activities. Because of federal privacy laws, that is the extent to which UNC said it could comment.
“He lost his trust in UNC and they broke his heart,” Felton’s attorney Kerry Sutton said last week in a phone interview with The State. “We talked through a lot of what the claims are and this (punishment) didn’t justify it.
“He had faith in UNC’s future when no other five-star recruit did. UNC has turned its back on him. I spoke with Roy Williams today and he obviously feels the pain of Jalek’s crushed dream to play at UNC. Jalek will land on his feet, but our battle here is far from over.”
Felton played in 22 games this season for UNC and averaged 2.9 points and 1.6 assists per game. He had a season-high 15 points against Western Carolina on Dec. 6.
Bethea said Felton has worked out at Gray Collegiate recently and the former SC Gatorade Player of Year was on hand Friday at the Colonial Life Arena to watch the War Eagles win their first Class 2A championship.
Felton even came down on the floor when Gray Collegiate got their championship trophy.
“It was great to see him and other guys that have been part of program when it was Gray Military or Gray Collegiate coming back. It speaks volumes,” Bethea said.