Tuscola’s Jalen Quinn commits to Loyola

A coveted mid-major prospect before the summer, the 6-3 point guard added interest and offers from multiple programs in Power 6 basketball conferences with his play over the past two months.

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Tuscola’s Jalen Quinn on a visit to Loyola.

Tuscola’s Jalen Quinn on a visit to Loyola.

Drew Valentine took over the red-hot Loyola basketball program from Porter Moser and is keeping it humming –– even before coaching or winning a single game. 

Valentine, hired in March when Moser departed for Oklahoma, received a commitment from Jalen Quinn of Tuscola on Sunday afternoon. 

The central Illinois star is among the top five prospects in the Class of 2022. A coveted mid-major prospect before the summer, the 6-3 point guard added interest and offers from multiple programs in Power 6 basketball conferences with his play over the past two months. 

“Loyola has been there since day one,” said Quinn, who put up 24.5 points, eight rebounds and four assists a game as a junior. “The relationship I have with Loyola was huge and played a big part in my decision. The culture there is great, wanting and expecting to work and win. They made me a priority and knowing the trust they have in me to continue that culture meant a lot to me.”

As other programs started to get more heavily involved, Loyola was one that had been there from the start. And even with the staff turnover following Moser’s departure, Valentine has been the coach –– both as a Ramblers assistant and since taking over as head coach five months ago –– who has been front and center in Quinn’s recruitment. 

The Quinn-Valentine connection has been an on-going one over the past year that was strengthened even more when Valentine took over as head coach.

“Our relationship is just stronger and better than any other coach,” said Quinn of his future head coach. “We developed that over the past year and it became even closer once he was named head coach. He’s the one I trust the most.”

Loyola has proven to be a mid-major program that’s been able to nab top 10 talent in the state over the years. It dates back to when Moser landed Milton Doyle of Marshall in 2012, Cameron Krutwig of Jacobs in 2017 and Marquise Kennedy of Brother Rice in 2019. Now Valentine is bringing another high-profile top 10 talent to Rogers Park in Quinn.

Valentine and his staff have been busy this summer, landing two other commitments last month. Quinn joins a recruiting class that includes Trey Lewis, a long, skilled 6-6 wing out of Michigan, and 6-4 guard Jayden Dawson from Omaha. 

Quinn brings a blend of ideal size and strength to the position as an unselfish, pass-first point guard. He is able to absorb contact with his strong frame and brings a winning mindset, which he showcased while helping the Illinois Wolves to an Under Armour Association championship this past July. 

As his shot creation evolves and the perimeter jumper becomes more consistent, Quinn’s impact will be even greater. 

While Quinn admits he’s “super happy” to have the recruiting process over and that he feels that pressure now off his shoulders, there is work to be done. 

“My first priority now is to focus on my high school team and getting us better,” said Quinn. “Then personally I need to continue to work on my three-point shot, polish up my game and get bigger and stronger.”

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