Jaylen Hoard doesn’t have to go far for advice about basketball. The U18 INSEP Paris wing’s father, mother and godmother all played the game - the latter two at the highest level for the France national team. With his share of basketball genes flowing through his blood, Hoard has already developed into a highly-regarded talent for the French youth national team and INSEP. And he showcased that in the opening game of the 2016 EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Finals when he scored 15 points with 2 assists and 3 steals in an 83-75 loss to Barcelona.
“Barcelona just stepped up in the second half. We were just under pressure and we didn’t really handle it well,” Hoard said. “We just have to take it as a learning experience. We can still be first in the group; we just have to win our other two games.”
Hoard said he did enjoy playing at the ANGT Finals for the first time, even though he struggled to contribute much in the second half after getting into foul trouble early in the third quarter. “It was fun. I like to play in settings like this. We all do,” he said. “I got frustrated but I cannot let that happen. I need to deal with frustration better.”
A native of Le Havre, Hoard remembers his American-born father playing in the French ProA and ProB leagues up until 2010. “I don’t remember the older days, but I remember seeing the end of his career,” said the younger Hoard, who joined INSEP last year.
His mother, Katia Foucade, played for France at the 1994 World Championship for Women, but she walked away from the game early, so he never saw her play. Hoard’s god mother is Edwige Lawson-Wade, who won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics for France and also was European champion in 2001.
“I was kind of in the whole basketball environment. Picking up the sport was pretty easy. From then, my love for basketball just grew,” said Hoard, the second-oldest of five children. “We talk a lot about basketball. It’s a passion we share.”
When asked what he takes from his parents, Hoard responded: “Just their experience and their knowledge of the game.”
INSEP holds a major place in the Hoard family. Mother Katia went there before heading to college in the United States to play at the University of Washington. And Hoard’s sister Anaia might be the next in line to play at a high level; she has joined INSEP as well. In addition to the family connection, INSEP’s track record of developing top talent made picking the institution an easy choice for Hoard.
“I just wanted to get better and since my mom went to INSEP, I kind of knew what to expect and knew the environment,” Hoard said. “It’s just the facilities and the way of functioning and the practices. And it’s a national team environment. A lot of the coaches are coaches of the national teams. That’s what makes it pretty good.”
Hoard has seen his game improve over the past year and said he really needs to work on producing game in, game out. “I’ve been pretty good. I still need to work on being consistent. I’ve had good games, but also had ones where I’m not as effective and not have a big impact on the game. If I play more consistently I can do better.”
Hoard believes he has gotten better at reading the game and has worked on his physique as well as his defense. “But I really have to work on everything.”
One comfort is knowing that his family is there if he needs any advice.