Fort Wayne, Ind. – Michigan State recruiting target Jerry Easter (6-3, 180) put on a show, scoring 14 points and dishing out eight assists in a 65-40 win over Milwaukee-based UA Rise program 24:UP in the final game of pool play on Saturday afternoon at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam.
Easter scored seven of All-Ohio Red’s first 15 points in a game-opening 15-5 run that had 24:UP playing on its heels. After that initial scoring burst, however, it was the unselfishness of Easter that served as a catalyst for the blowout victory.
During the past two seasons staring on varsity at Emmanuel Christian in the Toledo area, Easter has developed a much-deserved reputation as a big-time scorer. So much so, that he averaged just under 35 points per game during a sophomore season in which he was named The Toledo Blade Player of the Year.
So, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that Easter derives as much or more enjoyment from assisting on baskets, as he does making them.
“I see myself as a pass-first guard, that’s just who I am,” Easter said. “I am always going to try and get my teammates involved. If I need to score, I’ll score. But I’m gonna try and execute our plays and get the ball to the right spot where our players need it. We’ve got shooters on our team, and I know where to give it to them. We’ve also got athletic players, so I can throw lobs for them. I like being a point guard, and I like getting assists.
“That’s the best part of my game. I can get a bucket at any time.”
Ranked No. 43 in the On3 Industry Ranking, Easter, who is playing up a grade-level against NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League competition, is the second leading scorer for All-Ohio Red in EYBL play. He is averaging 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game through two EYBL sessions.
Easter is also shooting better than 40 percent from behind the 3-point line and 80 percent from the free-throw line.
“The biggest adjustment for me has been playing against high level players in every game,” Easter said. “The competition has been great, and I’ve been competing in every game. The jump up to 17U has been a good experience for me, and it should really help me for next year when I play with the other guys from my class. Right now, I’m just getting better and improving as a point guard.”
While playing for All-Ohio Red, Easter has grown under the coaching he’s gotten from Quincey Simpson, the longtime head coach at Lima Senior High and father of former Michigan star Zavier Simpson.
“The summer is going good with a new program, first time playing EYBL,” Easter said. “It’s been a fun experience, good coaching staff. Coach Quincey is a good coach, and he’s been pushing me this summer, making me better as a player, and pushing me to be a better leader on the floor.”
Easter has an impressive offer list this early in the recruiting process. That list includes Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, UCLA, Syracuse, Missouri, South Carolina, and several other Power Five programs.
“Recruiting is going good, I’m getting a lot of interest and I have a lot of offers,” said Easter. “I am going to start going on some visits when I am technically a junior. I don’t know what visits I am going to go on yet, but I am going to go on as many visits as I can of the schools recruiting me.”
Coming out of the evaluation period, Easter is getting interest from several additional programs, including Duke, Kentucky, and Florida State among others.
Michigan State and Ohio State have expressed the most interest among Big Ten programs, with Illinois inquiring about Easter coming out of the April evaluation period.
“They like how I get downhill and get my teammates the ball, play hard all of the time on offense and defense,” Easter said of Michigan State. “My high school coach and my AAU coach have told me what they’ve been saying.”
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