Former Penn Hills athlete Jalen Hood-Schifino gains college attention on summer circuit
By: Andrew John
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 | 11:48 PM
The Schifino name is well known in the athletic circles of the Penn Hills community.
The family tradition of basketball success continues as Jalen Hood-Schifino is getting national attention similar to his uncle, Drew Schifino.
Hood-Schifino, who now resides in Charlotte, N.C., recently was ranked No. 23 as a five-star in ESPN’s Class of 2022 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard has already received NCAA Division I offers from Florida, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Clemson, Wake Forest, Illinois and South Florida. As he enters his sophomore year, Hood-Schifino expects more offers to come.
“It’s a blessing. I really didn’t expect all this attention to come this fast, but I’m cherishing every moment of it. I’m trying to stay level headed and not let it get to me,” Hood-Schifino said.
“I’m making sure I’m staying in the gym and working hard. At the end of the day when you get to college, you got to stay prepared. Whatever college I go to, I want to be ready and prepared for that.”
Hood-Schifino grew up in Penn Hills until he was 7 years old, moved to Charlotte, and then came to Pittsburgh when he was 9. He then moved back to Charlotte three years ago.
He hasn’t forgotten about his ties to Pittsburgh as he picks the brain of his uncle Drew, the leading scorer in Indians history with 2,320 career points.
Hood-Schifino’s mother, Angel, is Drew Schifino’s sister. Hood-Schifino believes there is invaluable advice his uncle can provide as he navigates the recruitment process.
“He had a pretty good career. He’s a Penn Hills legend and went to West Virginia and did his thing and then played overseas,” Hood-Schifino said. “He played at the highest level and has been around the game for awhile. He gives me tips and gives me advice about the recruiting process right now.”
Hood-Schifino, who attends Northside Christian School, averaged 13.0 points, 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds as a freshman to lead his team to a 23-12 record.
This summer, he is playing for Team Charlotte 16U in the Under Armour tournaments for former NBA player and North Carolina alum Jeff McGinnis.
Hood-Schifino, who idolizes Kyrie Irving and Ja Morant, started to turn heads when he participated in the CP3 Rising Stars Camp last summer.
With the strong play on the court, Hood-Schifino earned an invite to participate in mini-camps for Team USA’s Junior National Team in recent months. He believes only positive things can come from being involved in a high profile camp.
“You have to find what you’re good at and play your role and be a leader and do all the small things. They know you’re good. They want to know if you’re going to talk, communicate, play defense, rebound and do the dirty work,” Hood-Schifino said.
“Most of the coaches have coached at the highest levels so they know what they’re talking about. Hearing from them about how I did in the camp means a lot to me.”
Even with the national recognition early in his high school career, Hood-Schifino understands he needs to continue to expand his game as he looks to work on becoming a better shooter.
“At the moment, I’m working on everything. I’m working on getting my pullups more in games. I know I can get to the basket and finish, but I need to show I can start shooting it,” Hood-Schifino said.
“I can play any position on the floor. I’m able to get my teammates involved. I can rebound. I can get to the basket when I need to, and when I need to I can knock down the jumper. I’m an all-around player.”
Tags: Penn Hills