Freshman of the Week: Stephon Jelks

Freshman of the Week: Stephon Jelks
Picture borrowed from Mercer Marketing.
Picture borrowed from Mercer Marketing.

Freshman Stephon Jelks is just a few months into his basketball career at Mercer University, and he is already making an impact.

The stats do not tell the whole story of Jelks as a player. He is only averaging 3.8 points per game, but Jelks is a burst of energy off the bench and makes lots of hustle plays which shows up in the team’s end result. Against the Citadel, he had his career high in points when he totaled 11.

Stephon graduated from North Cobb Christian School, where he was honored as a two-time all-state player in Georgia. In his hometown of Marietta, he was also a two-sport star, as he lettered in both football and basketball while also traveling for AAU basketball.

His mother influenced Stephon into playing basketball, as she also played basketball in high school and taught Stephon the game from an early age.

“My mom is one of my biggest influences,” he said. “She put me in the best situations growing up so that I was able to play my best basketball possible.”

The college game is a lot different from high school, based on the skill level of the players on each team, but Stephon felt prepared when he arrived at Mercer.

“The transition from high school basketball to the college level is about what I expected,” said Jelks. “It is more physical, and the games are faster in terms of the pace of play, but it all comes down to how hard I work to improve my game.”

Jelk’s personality is also something that people have taken notice of. Before games, he can be seen dancing and having fun as he hypes up the team.

“I’m not this year’s Kevin Canevari, but I do love to dance and motivate my team by showing my energy,” said Jelks.

The Big Dance, like many other division one teams, is the end goal for Jelks and the Bears this season.

“I just want to get help this team get wins and get back to the NCAA tournament,” he said.

Jelks choose to attend Mercer because it offered the best of both worlds for him.

“It’s not too big and not to small. I know all my professors and know most of the people,” said Jelks. “Mercer has had a good basketball program but also a great academic setting.”

As of now, Jelks wants to go into the business field or sports broadcasting, but at the moment, he is undeclared on his major. He has already set out goals for both academics and basketball for his time here at Mercer and beyond his playing days here.

“I want to have a long career in basketball, but once my playing days are done, I would like to be a successful businessman or a sports analyst,” said Jelks. “I also want to graduate with a 3.0 GPA and enjoy success in the classroom and on the court, God willing.”

His hard work is clearly evident in the way that he plays the game and shows that he will be a force for Mercer while he is here.

“Mercer fans can expect me to be a hardworking devoted basketball player who gives my all on and off the court,” said Jelks. “I want to be able to give back to the community because I love the Mercer fans and all the support they show us.”

Jelks feels that there are a couple areas in his game that he wants to work on in order to be the best player he can be.

“I plan on improving my game by being able to take my defender off the dribble, work on ball handling, being a better on ball defender and also being more aggressive when I am at the rim,” he said.

As a freshman, Jelks has shown maturity well beyond on his years in both his on the court performances and his off the court demeanor. He has all the making of great Mercer Bear with a very bright future. Jelks will look to build on what many would consider an already successful campaign in his first season of college basketball.