Back in 2005, Jalek Felton watched his uncle Raymond Felton, now a point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, pose for sweat-soaked snapshots after helping North Carolina to its first national title since 1993.
As an eighth grader, Jalek’s Team Felton AAU coach Fred Cannon had he and his teammates write down five schools they’d want to play for in college, to which Felton jotted down “North Carolina” five times. Since committing to the Tar Heels in late December, Felton’s maintained that he was fulfilling a “lifelong dream.”
That’s why it raised an eyebrow when Felton, a rising junior scoring guard at Mullins (Mullin, S.C.), told USA Today last week at Under Armour Finals in Atlanta that he was just “about 95 percent” committed to North Carolina.
“I’ve got about five percent uncertainty,” Felton said. “I’m about 95 percent committed, but the other five percent is going toward that probation thing. I don’t want to go somewhere where we can’t compete for a national championship. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
In early June, the NCAA alleged that from 2002-2011 North Carolina committed five severe violations including a lack of institutional control of its athletic department.
Cannon expanded on Felton’s mild apprehension reiterating that his “95 percent” comment was meant to be taken more as real talk, less as a doomsday scenario for Tar Heels fans.
“He loves North Carolina, but he’s just a rising junior so he doesn’t want to say ‘100 percent’ then have something happen and he’s not able to hold up his word,” Cannon said. “It’s a responsible stance to take because no one knows what’s going to happen. He grew up in the Dean Dome and, again, he loves the school. On my side, there have been no recruitment calls from other schools for Jalek. In my opinion it would take something drastic to happen for him not to go there.”
In the interim, Felton said he wants a sit down with the coaching staff.
“I haven’t talked to them yet,” Felton said. “I was supposed to go up and talk to them the other day, but I think I’m going to go up whenever I get some free time and sit down and talk with them.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY
Contributing: Tony Rehagen, Special for USA TODAY High School Sports