Freshman Jalen Ross plays point guard on the Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball team. He comes to EMU from Greensboro, N.C. which is about an hour away from Raleigh. Ross said it’s right in the middle of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte.
Ross said he didn’t have much of a choice when it came to getting involved in basketball.
He played football when he was younger, but it was a talk he had with his father in eighth grade that sealed the deal for him.
“My dad asked me, ‘Well, do you want to play football in college or basketball?’ I told him basketball and he said, ‘Well there’s your answer.’”
Ross is a big brother to a 15-month-old brother and a three-month-old sister.
Growing up, Ross hung out at the mall with his friends and went to the movies, and “Dragon Ball Z” was his favorite show.
“I was definitely obsessed with it,” Ross said.
Like many of his teammates, Ross prefers Mexican food. While he doesn’t like everything in that category, he does have a general idea of what his favorites are.
“I like quesadillas, enchiladas, stuff like that,” he said.
Ross is currently undecided on a major but he thinks he might want to get involved in marketing.
“I don’t want to pick [my major] and end up like, changing it,” Ross said. “Because I can end up like, adding time on to when I graduate. So I kind of want to make sure I’m certain when I choose it.”
Ross is known by his teammates as being a “clown.” Ross admitted that he is a funny guy in and out of the locker room, and jokingly said he plans to be a stand-up comedian after he graduates.
“I kind of crack a lot of jokes around the guys,” Ross said. “Stand up comedy is kind of…its not just getting up there telling jokes, you have to be comfortable. I’m trying to get over my fear of talking in front of people.”
As far as his real career goals go, Ross wants to stay close to basketball.
“I can see myself being a college coach, or something with broadcasting,” he said. “Something dealing with basketball and still being around the sport.”
Off the court, Ross said his closest friend is redshirt junior guard Anthony Strickland.
“That’s my dude,” Ross said. “We got some good laughs going on.”
But Ross was quick to point out that he’s close with all of his teammates.
“All the guys, well a majority of us have iPhones,” Ross said. “We send out group messages and funny pictures so we keep the laughs going.”
Ross is a big fan of video games and likes a couple different types of games.
“I have a [Xbox] 360,” Ross said. “So I play ‘[NBA] 2K13’ and a little bit of ‘Call of Duty.’”
Ross likes a lot of movies and said his favorites are either the ’80s comedy “Coming to America” or the “Friday” series.
Ross’ favorite classes are intercultural communications and African-American literature, which he has with professor Heather Neff, who Ross said is his favorite.
“She’s the only teacher that can, like, keep me entertained,” Ross said. “The way she talks and keeps everybody engaged…you know if you go to sleep she’s going to be in there yelling so you’re going to wake up. I just like her approach to the way she teaches.”
Ross said he has two role models on the team: Seniors Jamell Harris and Matt Balkema are the two main players Ross looks to for support on and off the court.
“They were the two players who were here before coach [Rob] Murphy got here, just to see how hard they work … Getting a new coach and staying dedicated and working hard through all that change, it can be difficult. They’ve done it and they’ve done a great job and they’re still contributing to the program. Its good to see.”