Top basketball prospect talks Tech offer, upcoming Lubbock visit
Texas Tech basketball recruiting for the 2018 class is in full swing as offers are being extended and many prospects are making their way to Tech for campus visits. One of the bigger prospects to come through Lubbock this summer though will actually come tomorrow when CYM (Creating Young Minds) Academy small forward Jal Bijiek will make his way to Tech for a visit.
Bijiek, who is spending a post-graduate year at CYM Academy in Dallas, Texas, graduated from Des Moines North High School in Des Moines, Iowa last year. The small forward earned an offer from the Red Raiders just a couple weeks after playing in his first game action at CYM.
“I picked up the offer from Texas Tech about two to three weeks ago, Bijiek said. “It was about the time that I came to Texas. I played one game with CYM and then coach Mathis (Crowder) told me a couple days later that Texas Tech offered me.”
“They said that they really liked how versatile I was and that they have never seen anyone as long as me. I mean, they probably have seen someone as long as me but someone as long as me who encompasses the whole game and is going to get their whole team involved at the same time.”
Outside of Bijiek’s playing time in Des Moines, the prospect is still pretty new to the recruiting world. Bijiek has all the tools, though, and his potential was enough to earn him his first high major offer from Beard and his staff.
“With the way the game is changing, the 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8, and 6-foot-9 guys like myself have to be very versatile. You need guys like that to win and be very versatile. Guys who can shoot the three. I’m known for defense, too, because I can block shots and stay in front of smaller defenders and just impact the game on all three levels.”
“Offensively I can handle the ball, I can shoot it, and I can take it to the rim and score. I can jump with some of the best of them, and I can rebound. On the defensive side, I can block shots, move my feet well, and stay in front of smaller defenders and can just impact the game.”
Bijiek said that he primarily plays small forward if you had to classify his position but can cycle through the 3, 4 or 5 positions and can even play the 2 based off of his shooting ability. Bijiek is also already being asked to defend all positions, 1-5 on the court as well.
Bijiek has all the talent to become a star player at the next level -- his 7+ foot wingspan has caught him plenty of attention -- but he just needed another year of seasoning and strength training to get to that level and Bijiek chose no better place to accomplish that than CYM. At CYM, it is strictly basketball. No phones. No social media. Just basketball, every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
With the increased focus on his game, Bijiek is ready to take off.
“I had a couple offers coming out of high school but they were low and mid-major offers,” Bijiek said. “I knew that I could get so much more out of basketball. Me and coach Mathis had a conversation, and he told me that he saw me as a high-major player. I never had a coach tell me that before. I had a high-major school tell me that I couldn’t be a high-major player and I’ve just been using that to fuel myself as motivation.
“I’ve been going to the gym every day for years now, just striving, and playing at a high major has always been my goal. I didn’t want to settle for a low or mid-major. I went to CYM to build my body so that I could play with the best of them. I feel like I can already play with the best of them, but if I get the strength, I can hold my own against grown men. I’m fearless, and I’m ready to get better.”
In just four short weeks, Bijiek has already gained 15 pounds on CYM’s program and hopes to be around 210 to 215 pounds by the time he graduates.
In regards to Tech, the Red Raiders sit in real good shape as Bijiek already has the Tech offer in hand and has a visit to Lubbock on the ledger.
“I consider myself a basketball historian, so I’ve done my research and I know my background on Texas Tech. I’ve heard their head coach is a really great guy, they have a good team atmosphere with some fun loving guys who love to play basketball. I’m a huge fan of college football, too, and I love their football team.”
“I can’t wait to get there and meet the guys and get the full experience. I’m looking forward to seeing the facilities and seeing how the guys interact with each other. I want to see if it is a place where I can grow, especially as a person. I want to see if it is a place where I can see a future life. I want to see the facilities, the stadium, and maybe even the classrooms. I just want to get a feel for if it is a place where I want to be.”
Bijiek also holds offers from Arkansas Little-Rock, Cal State Fullerton, and Sam Houston State among others. He has no time table on his decision but will commit if the school feels right.