Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

First Paladin in the NBA since 1984: Jalen Slawson

“Wherever my path takes me, it takes me. And hopefully when I get wherever I’m going, I can look out from the mountains and say, ‘I did a good job and I’m proud of myself,’” said Jalen Slawson on Rise to Elevate Podcast.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

“With the 54th Pick in the NBA Draft. The Sacramento Kings select Jalen Slawson from Furman University.”

Jalen Slawson became the first Furman Paladin since 1984 to have his name called in the NBA Draft. This journey, however, started way before Slawson began trying out for NBA teams. It started right here at Furman University.

19 points. 31 fouls. These were the Paladin’s stats at the beginning of Slawson’s career in his freshman year at Furman.  While that statistic might seem disappointing  to many,  Slawson used it as fuel to become better every year, as he knew he had the potential to change the narrative surrounding Southern Conference Basketball, of which he did.

Mar. 16, 2023. 6.2 seconds are left on the game clock. Garret Hein steals the ball. Slawson calls for the ball, but Hein passes it to JP Pegues with 2.2 seconds left. Pegues shoots the ball. It’s a buzzer beater, and the crowd goes wild. 

13th-seed Furman beat 4th-seed Virginia. Slawson, along with the entire Furman team, rushes to celebrate as they have just gotten their first NCAA Tournament win in almost 50 years. This is a day that Paladins and every college basketball fan around the country will never forget. 

Alongside Furman’s tremendous win against the University of Virginia in the NCAA Tournament, their season prior to the tournament was a huge success under the leadership of seniors Slawson and Mike Bothwell. The Paladins’ regular season was immensely successful as they proceeded to win 14 of the 15 games they played up until the beginning of their renowned performance in the March Madness. Due to Slawson’s significant contribution to the team, he earned 2022 Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-SoCon selection—all while pursuing a major in Communication Studies. 

Slawson, mostly known for his elite defensive capability, was equally effective on the offensive end during his time at Furman. During his junior year, he shot 56.9% from the field and obtained three double-doubles which then multiplied his senior year, in which he had six double-doubles. At the Furman vs. College of Charleston game, he had 33 points and 13 rebounds while maintaining 52.9% shooting. Alongside these impressive offensive numbers, Slawson continued to dominate defensively, hence his consecutive top 10 finishes for steals, blocks, and defensive ratings. 

When asked about Slawson, Furman Basketball Head Coach, Bob Richey said, “looking at the trend line of where his progression is, he is not done getting better and that’s the most exciting thing.” 

From his freshman year, playing as a reserve, all the way to his senior year, continuously breaking records and making significant plays, it is evident that the “trend line” will continue to increase as he enters his career as a Sacramento King.

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About the Contributor
Deniz Sariaslan
Deniz Sariaslan, Managing Editor
A junior from Turkey, Deniz is a double major in Economics and Communication Studies. His interest in media goes a long way back to 2019, since when he has been working as an NBA-credentialed editor at Turkey’s largest social media network on basketball. Having served as The Paladin’s sports editor for the past two years, he has decided to step out of his comfort zone and embrace a new challenge. So here he is now, executing the Managing Editor role.
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