Jalen Warley can discuss the games of Magic Johnson and Ben Simmons.
He also can discuss the frames of Frank Lloyd Wight and Frank Gehry.
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Warley is a cerebral guard for the Westtown School basketball team and one of the state’s top recruits in the class of 2021.
He also is an architecture fan, a guy nearly as fascinated by the shapes and designs of buildings as by the swirling flow of basketball.
“You get to use your creative mind” in both, Warley said.
In the course of his junior season, Warley has developed from a regional recruit to a national one. He has a total of around a dozen scholarship offers from local programs such as Temple and Penn State to West Coast schools such as California and Oregon.
“He’s becoming a rock star,” Westtown coach Seth Berger said of the burgeoning interest in the 6-5 Warley, who lives in Chestnut Hill.
Warley said his focus has been on helping Westtown through the rigors of a demanding schedule in pursuit of another Friends Schools League title in advance of another run for the Pennsylvania independent schools state crown.
In a recent game against Friends Schools League rival Academy of the New Church, Warley and senior guard T.J. Berger, a Penn recruit, combined for 45 points, controlling the pace with ballhandling, passing, and poise against the Lions’ defensive pressure.
“Jalen is so gifted, if you pressure him, he’s going to make you pay,” said Seth Berger, T.J’s father and the Moose’s longtime coach. “If you play half-court defense, he’s going to make you pay. If you play zone, he’s going to make you pay.”
Warley is the son of former Frankford star and St. Joseph’s player Jason Warley and the nephew of former Hawks star Carlin Warley. The Westtown junior has a natural feel for the game, moving easily with or without the ball, displaying shooting range from deep as well as the ability to get to the rim and finish in traffic.
Warley said Westtown’s tradition of producing big-time players in recent years such, as Texas recruit Mo Bamba and Duke recruit Cam Reddish – both of whom spent one season in college before advancing to the NBA – has helped him through the process.
“For the most part, I’ve been dealing with it well,” Warley said of recruiting interest. “A lot of guys on the team have been helping me, the coaches have been helping me, and it’s been bringing our team a lot of attention.
“Anything that can bring our guys more attention, I’m all for.”
Warley said his priorities for a college program are a trustworthy coaching staff, a challenging schedule, a welcoming school community, and a challenging academic environment.
“It will be similar to the high school process, just a coach that I can trust and a program that believes in me and not only has a good basketball program but a good community and high academics,” Warley said.
Pitt, which has signed Westtown senior swingman Noah Collier, as well as Xavier, Temple, Penn State, and Oregon, are among the programs that have shown the keenest interest.
"His IQ is off the charts and now his skill level has caught up to his IQ,” Seth Berger said.
“He’s still young . It’s probably happened faster than he thought. But his goal is to be an NBA basketball player and that goal is now in sight.”
Warley devotes much of his free time to improving his game. But he loves architecture, too,
It’s a field that features the work of famous designers such as Wright and Gehry. Warley has built a few projects of his own in wood shop.
“I’m really fascinated by it,” Warley said. “I like math. I kind of like drawing and that’s kind of a mixture of the two.