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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State sophomore excels in expanded role

Sophomore Jalen McFerren rushes the Cal State Stanislaus defense at home on Jan. 31. Photo credit: Jordan Olesen

After appearing in every game last season as a freshman, sophomore guard Jalen McFerren had a lot expected of him when he hit the court this year.

Finishing fourth last season on the team in steals and fifth in assists, he certainly made a name for himself in his first year, and has expanded on his success this season.

McFerren is currently leading the Chico State’s men’s basketball team in free throw percentage at .845, and is known for making smart shots. McFerren shows all the signs of being a strong point guard and his teammates strongly agree.

Sophomore Jalen McFerren rushes the Cal State Stanislaus defense at home on Jan. 31. Photo credit: Jordan Olesen

“I think he is the best in the league at point guard position,” said fellow teammate junior guard Rob Duncan. “He has an ability and confidence to step up to the free throw line. … I don’t feel like a lot of young players can do that,” Duncan said.

Beyond complimenting his stats and abilities McFerren is also regarded not only for his confidence but his personality.

“He is a great funny guy, he is always cracking jokes,” said sophomore guard Corey Silverstrom. “He is a really smooth guy. … His main quality is his smoothness, from the way he carries himself to the way he dresses.”

“I want to be a leader on and off the court. Someone that the guys can talk to and trust,” McFerren said.

After his debut season last year, McFerren used the offseason as a time to transition himself from the player he started out as to the player he wants to be.

“Coach Clink and I talked about the things I can get better at. I see a huge difference from last year as I grow and mature into a better player,” McFerren said.

Men’s basketball head coach Greg Clink is adamant about McFerren’s recent success, emphasizing his role in the ‘Cats offense.

“He is extremely coachable and driven, he just wants to be great,” Clink said. “He is a very good shooter and knows how to control the pace of the game.”

Sophomore Jalen McFerren runs the ball up court against Cal State Satanislaus at home on Jan. 31. Photo credit: Jordan Olesen

McFerren has made his main focus clear: focusing on his free throws and controlling the glass with rebounds. During the Jan. 31 game against Cal State Stanislaus, McFerren had nine rebounds but was not given an opportunity at the charity stripe.

Although the team can’t predict how the rest of the season will turn out, McFerren is confident that the ‘Cats are on the road toward greatness.

“We want to win league back-to-back and we haven’t won the tournament in a while and I think we could make it this year. … I want to be the best point guard in the league as I continue my career at Chico,” McFerren said.

Gabriella Bermudez can be reached at [email protected] or @gabbybermudez2 on Twitter.

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