Meet Jason Maclin: the best basketball player in Galesburg
By John Ring
If you've heard the age-old term of "letting the game come to me" in basketball, look no further than Jason Maclin. He says it and what's more, he means it.
Jason Maclin is a 6'5" junior guard for Knox College. He's their leading scorer (21.1 points per game) and second leading rebounder (4.1) and he goes about his business on the court in a non-flashy, quiet manner. Call him a quiet assassin.
He's also one of the best basketball players in Galesburg.
Against Grinnell's style of play— wide open, pressing, the game going a hundred miles an hour— you would have naturally thought it would have been a natural for Maclin. He's athletic and a slasher to the basket. But it wasn't so.
"I didn't expect to have a big game," said Maclin before the Prairie Fire played Beloit at home on Saturday afternoon. "Our offense was pretty well set in the first half but it didn't seem to work. Coach Heimann changed it at halftime and we attacked the basket and that allowed us to get back in the game."
Knox's 77 points in that half allowed them to make up a 17-point deficit and win. Maclin did have a big game— 38 points— it just came a little later in the contest.
"I'm kind of mellow and a relaxed player," admitted the junior guard. "I let the game come to me. Now, it took me a while to learn to do that. That really happened against Grinnell but when I went out in the second half, I really wanted to be aggressive."
It worked out in that game and has worked out in Jason Maclin's career at Knox College. HeÕs been an impact player. He was one of just three sophomores in the Midwest Conference selected last year to the All-Conference team as an Honorable Mention.
Jason is from Chicago. He grew up on the South Side (103rd Street) and attended Kenwood Academy High School. He played basketball and was a part of the Chicago Public League. As a senior, Maclin was an All-Conference selection and a high school teacher referred him to Knox College.
"It was an alumni connection that led me here," said Jason. "he made the call to Coach Heimann and then he took it from there. I was fortunate in that Kenwood was a high school that really prepared you for college. It wasn't a magnet school but it was a good one. It prepares you, teaches you how to study. I still go back there a lot."
"I had a fairly decent high school career and playing in the Public League prepared me to be successful at Knox. I just wanted to play ball. Coach Heimann told me I would get the opportunity to do that here and to be a student as well. Not many colleges tell you that you're a student first and then a basketball player. I liked that approach."
Maclin emerged his sophomore season and has built on it. "I was asked to work more on my defense this year and to rebound the ball better. They wanted me to concentrate on my offense second and I think that has worked out. We started off very slow as a team but we're communicating better. We're helping each other out on the court."
It's been working off the court for Jason as well. Maclin started last week as a student-aide for Cheryl Hinman, a teacher at Galesburg High School. "My first day was last Thursday and I was very comfortable. That lady loves what she does and she's a good teacher. It's good to be around somebody like that."
Jason is more than happy with his selection of Knox College.
"It's been a big adjustment but it was an adjustment for the best. It's helped me focus on my studies and being the best student that I can be. My priority is academics and if I was in a bigger city, there would be a lot more partying going on." Maclin has played in 62 career games, starting 45. HeÕs scored 980 points so far and is a safe bet to finish in the Top 10 in scoring for a career at Knox.
"It's been a great experience so far and it's even going to get better. I've been lucky in that I met a lot of great people— alumni, teachers and other students. I have no regrets. We're coming together as a team and our goal is to keep this season going, to be playing basketball at the end of February.