Team Loaded NC is an elite level AAU program that seems to produce consistent Division 1 talent. We decided to catch up their star Power Forward, Jayden Gardner. Jayden is a 6’7″, 230lbs forward who is the definition of a walking double-double. He is a native of Durham, North Carolina that plays his high school ball at Heritage High School.
Last season the forward averaged 22.8 points per game and 15.2 rebounds per game. These are numbers that would make any college scout turn their head to take notice. Jayden recently played in the Adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, South Carolina this past weekend. He averaged 12.5 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49.5% from the field.
Jayden gave us the pleasure of an interview.
What did you think of the Adidas Gauntlet Finale?
Jayden: It was really competitive. I thought I got better each day. It’s great to go against the best in your age group.
Who was the toughest team you played against this weekend?
Jayden: Iowa Barnstormers.
What made them so tough?
Jayden: Their length and every guy being able to stretch the floor. They hit a lot of tough shots.
Who was your toughest one on one matchup for yourself?
Jayden: This guy from D1 Minnesota, Race Thompson.
Who has offered so far?
Jayden: Murray State, Coastal Carolina, UAB, East Carolina, UNC Greensboro, New Hampshire, Grambling State, Richmond, James Madison, Old Dominion, Campbell, Winthrop, Penn State, VCU, High Point, College of Charleston, Wofford, Toledo, Appalachian State, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, Robert Morris, Georgia Southern, and Arkansas-Little Rock
Who else is showing interest that hasn’t offered?
Jayden: Tulsa, Houston, Boston College, NC State, and Georgia Tech”
What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses on the court?
Jayden: My strengths are my post game, rebounding, heart, and hustle. My weaknesses are ball handling and consistent three-point shot.
What player do you compare yourself to and why?
Jayden: Charles Barkley because we are almost the same size. We have the same toughness and determination. He also could do it all at the Power Forward spot like myself.
Any fellow Class of 2018 guys you’d like to play with on the next level?
Jayden: If I could I’d like to play with Trey Wertz.
What do you feel like you do differently than anyone else on the court?
Jayden: I think I have a bigger chip on my shoulder than anybody, so I have something to prove every time I step out there.
In my opinion don’t be surprised if the home town team like NC State throws an offer his way before it gets time to sign his letter of intent. One statistic that scouts always say that translates is rebounding, which this kid can do at a high rate. If Jayden does to go a Mid-Major school, watch out for a very productive player in college. He has the potential to round his game together and have a successful professional career over seas. Jayden is a well-rounded humble kid who was a pleasure to talk to. I don’t expect Penn State to be his only major offer for soon. Here at Basketball Society, we will keep you updated on Jayden’s recruiting progress.