Defensive mind guard JJ Louden commits to Weber State men’s basketball | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo provided, JJ Louden

In this April 2022 photo, JJ Louden, now committed to Weber State men’s basketball, poses with his father, John Louden Sr., during a recruiting visit to the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

JJ Louden’s path to his momentous Monday is likely similar to that of many high schoolers trying to land spots on a varsity team, especially on a Division I roster.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made that path uncertain but, over time, Louden has found his way to what he considers the right place.

Louden, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Indianapolis, Indiana, announced his commitment to men’s basketball from Weber State on Monday afternoon, giving the Wildcats their second commitment of the 2022 class.

“I feel like an underrated player, but I’m very grateful for how it all went and where I’m going,” Louden told the Standard-Examiner. “It’s all part of God’s plan and I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given.”

Louden said by the time interest finally hit full steam over the past three months or so — something that was close to life before 2020 — Weber State and Utah were most serious about in his recruitment, the UNLV also expressing a warm interest. Officially, his other offers came from IUPUI and Canisius.

Louden — officially John Louden Jr. — was unable to complete his sophomore season at Pike High School in Indianapolis due to the coronavirus outbreak, which also canceled this summer’s AAU Tour nationwide in 2020. Recruitment of preparation players his age, he says, practically stopped. Then a hand injury left him out of summer ball again, forcing him to miss the best recruiting judging periods of 2021.

“Times were tough but my mom, my dad, they kept me motivated to keep working, God got me and when the time comes I have to take advantage of it,” he said. “So I just stayed in the gym, kept working out and now I’m where I am.”

Aiming for new exposure, he and his dad got the opportunity to play Desert Valley Prep in Las Vegas for his senior season, a team that spent a lot of time traveling to games in California, Arizona and Utah.

It worked. Louden averaged 17 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds per game, according to his dad (official stats for academy-style teams are sometimes hard to come by online), and he’s heard from the likes of Cincinnati, Cal, San Diego State, New Mexico State and a few others in the west.

On the court, Louden said the change of scenery helped his game develop after playing against what he said were bigger, more deliberate players in the Midwest.

“It sped up my game and I gained a lot of confidence,” he said. “Over there on the west coast, everyone is super athletic, super fast. So just seeing this change in the game helped a lot.

About two months ago, Weber State associate head coach Eric Duft reached out and told Louden he liked his game. His size and stature stand out on the defensive end, and he has said he was trying to play a full game. His father compares his game to that of Jrue Holiday.

“The Indianapolis, Indiana product will be a steal for any school that lands his services,” @LGreenwellHoops tweeted about Louden on April 1st. “6’5 PG who likes to disrupt defensively with his length.”

As of September 2021, known Western recruiting circles include Christian PoP’oola tweeted that Louden is an “elite passer, high IQ, defensive-minded playmaker who likes to involve his teammates”.

Shortly after Duft, other WSU coaches were in touch, and a few weeks ago he and his family traveled to Ogden for an official visit – something the rookies are doing for the first time since 2019.

“The way they treated me and my family during the visit was amazing. They treated us like we were already part of the program. We loved the atmosphere there,” said Louden said.

Although in conversations with places like Utah and UNLV, Louden said Weber State made the most sense, and with advice from his high school coach Ty Lofton on finding the right fit, he took his decision.

Louden joins Las Vegas native Chris Dockery, a 6-foot-6 freshman wing, as part of Weber State’s Class of 2022 commitments. The Wildcats have five other scholarships available and are targeting several experienced Division I transfers, while holding out hope for an upset win in the recruiting battle for 6-foot-10 prep forward Jorge Diaz from Florida’s famed IMG Academy.


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