A three-time Globe All-Scholastic for the St. Mary’s of Lynn basketball program, Jalen Echevarria has been an impact player in his first season at Endicott College.
Averaging 16 points per game while shooting 50.9 percent from the floor for the Gulls (16-7, 10-4 CCC), the 5-foot-9-inch guard is already a five-time Rookie of the Week in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, and one-time Player of the Week.
“Jalen has a huge impact on our program,” Endicott coach Kevin Bettencourt said. “We’re really lucky to have him with us. We love the competitiveness and energy he brings to the program every day. He’s one of the driving forces to our success so far.”
Bettencourt, a Peabody native who starred collegiately at Bucknell, played with Echevarria’s father, Marcos Sr., in various men’s leagues. At the time, young Jalen was always shooting on the side.
“Within the first week of practice we knew we had a special player,” Bettencourt said. “He’s had some ups and downs, but we’ve been really blessed to have him with us.”
On the heels of his second straight Rookie of the Week honor, Echevarria checked in with the Globe from Endicott’s Beverly campus.
Q. Your brother, Marcos Jr., finished as career scoring leader at Nichols. How has he helped you adjust to the college game?
A. You know, before the season he was talking to me about how the games are going to be, how it’s way different than high school. It’s fast-paced, and stuff like that. How big the players were going to be, unlike high school kids who aren’t really that size. He just mentally prepared me and told me what it’s all going to be about. That got me ready.
Q. As much as he’s helped you, there’s a certain element to blazing your own trail too, right?
A. That’s why I chose Endicott. A lot of people were asking me, ‘How come you didn’t go to Nichols? You would’ve had the green light just like your brother.’ I wanted to do my own thing, you know? He’s already broke a lot of records at his school, so I just wanted to do my own thing, go to a different school.
Q. Did you expect to play right away?
A. To be honest, I didn’t really think I was going to be a starter. I just thought I was going to be a role player, get a few minutes. I would’ve been happy with a few minutes off the bench, at least to be playing. Coming in and [Bettencourt] saying I’m starting has definitely made me happy and my confidence boosted after that.
Q. How is your role different between now and high school?
A. High school, you know, I was the star. It’s definitely different now because I can’t look at me as the star anymore because I’ve got people ahead of me like [senior] Keith Brown and [junior] Matt McDevitt. I’m a freshman coming in, so I can’t have that confidence like I’m the best player on the court right now, because I’m really not.
Q. Who is your favorite NBA player?
A. I would say Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, and Stephen Curry.
Q. Favorite basketball shoes?
A. The Kyries [by Nike]
Q. What is the best part about Endicott’s campus?
A. The beaches, no doubt.Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.