Discover Jazz Gardner, French international U18 and big prospect in the United States

17 years old, 2.16 m, mobile interior currently running at 31.7 points and 16.3 rebounds in high school (high school) in California: here is a brief portrait of Jazz Gardner. A name that probably doesn’t mean anything to most French basketball fans. And yet, this son of Jelani Gardner, a former American player who has played for a long time in France, is French, international U18 and ranked among the best prospects for high school students in the United States. Here’s everything you need to know about him, including the interview.

Last August, during the “Euro Challengers U18”, an intriguing name appeared in the squad of the France U18 team led by Lamine Kébé, that of Jazz Gardner. Already because the boy has a surname that is all Anglo-Saxon. But also because very few were those who knew that the young man (born March 8, 2004) was French, born of a French mother. And even less than the large interior (2.16 m, 7’1 according to American measurements) was one of the best prospects in the United States evolving in high school (the equivalent of our high schools).

Yet one only has to listen to his coach in Los Altos (the school where he studies and plays, located in Hacienda Heights, near Los Angeles, Calif.), Jeff Lucas, to measure how special he seems: ” He is very complete, he shoots well for his size, he knows how to pass the ball, has a good vision of the game. He is even probably the best passer who has ever passed through school. »

It must be said that Jazz “Big” Gardner dominates its subject with Los Altos. For his first season with the team, in 2019-20, he was already turning 12 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Before spending last year at 25.8 points, 13.8 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks. At the start of the season, after four games, he further increased the volume: 31.7 points, 16.3 rebounds, 4.8 blocks, 7.2 assists. And the videos that we can see of him on the Net show a boy who is still thin (he weighs around 100 kg), very mobile, fluid, giving the impression of being an adult playing in front of children.

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Highlights from Jazz Gardner, May 2021

So certainly, he still has a lot of progress to make, nothing more normal for a young man of 17 years. He needs to strengthen himself physically, improve on all the technical and tactical aspects of his game, but he seems very hardworking, under the guidance of his father. And we could see during the Euro Challengers that it was very promising for a player with practically no experience of the game “in the European”: in 13.4 minutes per game, he produced 6 , 4 points (50.0% on shots, 25.0% on three-pointers), 4.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 against, 8.8 rating, rotating starting interiors, Zaccharie Perrin and Maël Hamon.

Jazz Gardner (n ° 32, left) with the French U18 team (photo: FIBA)

Proof of the promises he suggests, Jazz Gardner is classified as the 5e pivot and 48e prospect (all positions) of players who can apply to an NCAA university in 2023 through the site. And if that wasn’t enough, the list of NCAA universities that have shown interest in the player


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