Kentucky Men’s basketball fans had a tough weekend with another early exit in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. However, thanks to a loaded 2024 recruiting class, they will quickly turn away from that early exit disappointment and look ahead to the next class. One of the highly touted recruits is Center Jayden Quaintance. Re-posting our OPS’ Dave Monaco’s interview with him at the 2023 Final Four USAB Mini-Camp.

OPS’ Dave Monaco: Tell me a little bit about what it was like growing up in Cleveland and how that impacted and shaped your game.

Jayden Quaintance: I’ve been up in Cleveland since I was like five, so it’s been good getting to play against the competition up there. I’ve been playing for a long time and they have good competition up there. They got four people out of (this) USAB right now, so it was good playing against them. 

OPS: A lot of Ohio guys indeed. Playing at these camps, you’re here (amongst) legends that came through USA Camp. What does it mean for you to be invited here for the second time and to be able to compete against the best of the best?

JQ: It’s good. It gives me a lot of exposure and it pushes me closer to the dream everybody has- to get into the NBA. I’m going to keep playing, keep competing and keep pushing.  

OPS: I really like your game, how you run the floor, you’re always active defensively and you rebound the ball. Who are some of the guys that you look to in the NBA for inspiration and how to model your game after them?

JQ: I haven’t watched a lot of NBA ball recently to be honest, but players that I do like to watch (include) Kyrie, Giannis, PG, and others like (them). 

OPS: Tell me what you think is your biggest asset on the court.

JQ: I feel like defensively I can stop anybody. I can rebound the ball well. I feel like if you give me a ball I can make something happen. Most of the time, I can score or get somebody open from a pass. I feel like there’s a lot of different things I could do, but probably defence is the best thing I’ve got right now. 

OPS: Off the court. What are some things that you’d like to do to pass time?  

JQ: I have four siblings, so I like to spend time with them. Other than that, keep a basketball to play around and work on different types of stuff. I play video games sometimes, but basketball is my main thing. 

OPS: Who is your inspiration? Who wakes you up in the morning and makes you want to come here and compete and get better. Who do you do it for? 

JQ: It’s my family. I have a lot of great role models in my family. My dad played 14 years overseas. He was a D1 player for four years and twice defensive player of the year. He was a great college player. My mom’s always in my corner. I talk to her every day, even though I don’t live in state. She’s always a great motivation for me. My grandfather, he’s always watching, keeping up with me up in Ohio…and then my little brothers and little sisters. I also have a newborn, (hence) I’m playing so I can get him in a good situation when he grows up. My little brother wants to play and he’s 10 (years-old). I’m also trying to inspire him and my sister as well. 

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