Sometimes, Newark boys basketball coach Shannon McCants needs Jahsun Greer to play point guard. Sometimes, he needs Greer to bang around in the post. Sometimes, he needs Greer to do everything in between.
The 6-foot-5 senior has capably filled every role for the Yellowjackets this season, showing the size, skill and versatility that college coaches covet.
“He’s going above and beyond what we’ve asked him,” McCants said. “He’s leading us in scoring and rebounding, second in assists. He’s pretty much doing everything for us. We’re depending on him a lot this year.”
Greer blossomed into the Yellowjackets’ leading scorer last season, averaging 13.4 points per game as Newark went 17-6 and reached the state quarterfinals before falling to Salesianum. This year, as the only returning starter, Greer is showing he can do it all.
“I want him to play on the next level, and I know he has great guard skills, so I don’t just pigeonhole him and put him down low,” McCants said. “I let him play a little bit of point guard. He can play two-guard or on a wing. And he can post up, so I do use him at all five positions.”
The Newport resident is enjoying his multipurpose role, especially when he gets a chance to control the offense.
“At point guard, I can make sure the team is doing what it’s supposed to do,” Greer said. “It’s the only spot I hadn’t played yet. When I was growing up I was a center, power forward and then small forward. It’s kind of new to me, but everything is getting better.”
McCants said Greer’s skills remind him of Jamal Mashburn, an All-American at Kentucky who went on to an 11-year career in the NBA. Wherever he is, it’s a matchup problem.
“He’s a tough cover,” McCants said. “A lot of times they put someone really big on him, and I let him come out on the wing or play some point guard. If they switch to a little guy on him, we put him right down there in the post.”
Greer has ramped up his scoring to 19.8 points per game this season. He has made at least one 3-pointer in 11 of 12 games and poured in a career-high 33 points in a 78-68 win at Cheltenham (Pa.) on Dec. 14.
“I just don’t think about it,” Greer said of scoring. “I’m confident in my jumper. Every time I shoot, I think it’s going in.”
He’s not afraid to mix it up inside, either. Greer had 12 rebounds against Cheltenham, uncorked 21 points and 18 rebounds in a Dec. 19 win over A.I. du Pont and put up 20 points and 15 rebounds in a Jan. 9 loss at Delcastle.
Newark is 6-6, but Greer believes the Yellowjackets are headed in the right direction. He had 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 78-57 win over Appoquinimink on Saturday.
“Almost every year, we’ve started off slow,” Greer said. “And then everybody starts working on the right things and limiting our mistakes and we make progress.”
McCants is encouraging Greer to be more vocal with the younger players, and he continues to work on a mid-range game that makes him even harder to stop. He has received some Division I recruiting interest, but both McCants and Greer believe a year at a prep school or junior college could improve his academic standing and boost his recruiting profile.
Newark has made it to the state quarterfinals or beyond in four of the last six seasons. With Greer leading the way, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the young Yellowjackets do it again.
“Hopefully I can keep getting the guys better to get on his level,” McCants said. “We’d like to make a run and try to get into the tournament.”