Jaylen Gerrand was an outstanding schoolboy player, now the Auckland Huskies guard just wants to show he has the game to light up the Sal’s NBL.
“He dominated high school basketball so we know the kid can play basketball,” said Huskies Head Coach Kevin Braswell after recruiting the 23 year-old.
Gerrand’s outstanding successes as a junior player began in the younger age-group grades where he represented Hibiscus Coast.
But it was at Westlake Boys High School that Gerrand demonstrated his true basketball prowess, appearing in three consecutive National Secondary Schools Grand Finals.
In 2012, as a Year 11, he played on the Westlake team that beat Rosmini College in the final. In 2013 he was named Most Valuable Player at that Tournament after the victory against Rangitoto College in the Grand Final. Also in the Tournament Team that year were Tohi Smith-Milner, Sam Timmins, Hyrum Harris, Izayah Le’afa and his good mate Jack Salt. In 2014 Gerrand and his teammates failed to complete the elusive triple being defeated by Sam Timmins and Otago Boys High School.
In addition to admiring Gerrand’s on court ability Braswell also notes that his combo-guard is in the best physical condition he has been for many seasons.
“He’s worked his butt off to get in phenomenal shape right now. Matt (Lacey) and I agree that we just want to give him the chance to play – I really believe he is going to get his opportunity.”
“We want to play an up tempo style with guards who can score and Jaylen fits the bill,” added Braswell.
Gerrand admits the hard work in the gym and on the practice court has reaped it’s benefits.
“I’m feeling good, I’ve been working out quite hard for the last 8 to 10 months, I just wanted to be in shape and ready for the season whenever it started.
Gerrand admits the opportunities he’s had in the NBL previously haven’t quite worked out but he is keen to make amends in NBL 2020.
Following high school he played at Umpqua Community College, Oregon for one year and subsequently had stints in the NBL playing for Taranaki Mountain Airs (2017) and last season for the Super City Rangers.
“I just want to earn respect from everyone in my team and the League and show everyone I can play. Hopefully I can then move on from this and get another opportunity. For now I’m just trying to prove I can play.
“Honestly, I’m just excited, for the League to get everyone to Auckland to play is awesome.”
Gerrand is also enjoying the environment at his new club.
“The set-up from KB down is great. The coaching staff, the players, physio, workout people; I’m just grateful to have everyone here.”
Gerrand’s only regret is that he won’t be playing alongside his best mate Jack Salt on Tuesday, who was drafted by the Canterbury Rams.
“He’s my best friend, my brother. I grew up with Jack playing basketball.
“We have a cool as relationship but on court we try and kill each other, then afterwards it’s all forgotten. Unfortunately that rivalry won’t be on show next week.”
Gerrand will celebrate his 24th birthday on June 30 when hopefully he and the Huskies are playing in the Sal’s NBL semi-finals.
Before then there is the more pressing matter of taking on the Rams in the Auckland Huskies inaugural NBL game on Tuesday June 23. Tip-ff is 7.30pm at Trusts Arena.