TOUGH TIMES. In the estimation of Louisburg High School boys basketball coach Michael Sheldon, the recruiting process for Elijah Jamison has been hindered by COVID-19 concerns. (Times photo by Geoff Neville)
LOUISBURG -- As an elite-level scorer -- one of the best in state history -- Elijah Jamison is used to utilizing an aggressive style when competing on the basketball court.
Certainly, quick decisions are important once the ball gets into the hands of Jamison, the rising senior superstar at Louisburg High School.
But these days, Jamison isn't able to do much competitively due to COVID-19 concerns.
Instead, Jamison is playing a game he isn't used to.
The waiting game.
Under normal circumstances, Jamison's future collegiate ticket would have already been punched, but that isn't the case in the COVID-19 Era.
After three star-studded seasons at Louisburg, Jamison definitely has his suitors, including the likes of East Carolina, Elon, UNC-Wilmington, Ole Miss, UNC-Greensboro, UT-Chattanooga and Murray State -- along with many others.
But the common theme LHS head coach Michael Sheldon is hearing these days is that college coaches won't be proceeding with offers to Jamison until they are able to see him play in person.
Sheldon has been tireless in his work to send film and information to colleges -- including every Division I program east of the Mississippi River -- and many west of the mighty body of water.
But coaches want to see if Jamison passes the in-person 'eye test' -- and that's not possible now because his AAU club (Team Loaded) is not in action at the moment due to COVID-19.
Because of that, Elon University and UNC-Wilmington are the only schools that have made firm offers to Jamison, a 6-foot-3 wing who averaged over 29 points and 12 rebounds per game during the 2019-20 campaign.
Elon coaches made several appearances at LHS games last year, but other scouts wait until the summer travel period to see performers in person.
Which makes Jamison's decision a difficult one with the first national letter-of-intent signing opportunity just four months away.
"Elijah needs to play and needs to be seen, but he can't do that right now,'' Sheldon said. "So he is nowhere close to being able to make a decision. He wants to see everything that is out there (from a scholarship standpoint).
"To me, he is better than a lot of other high school kids who are getting offers right now. Things are just different right now.
"I talked to a Division I in-state coach the other day. He said he wants to offer Elijah, but he wants to see him play in person before he does anything. What can you do?''