Is 10 Years Old Too Young to Be Recruited for College Basketball?

Jaylin Fleming is regarded by many in the basketball world as the country?s best 10-year-old hoopster.

Jaylin Fleming is barely 5 feet tall, but there's nothing little about his game.

"This is a kid that's been chosen to do special things," said Ken Konecki, a basketball trainer who has worked with college and NBA players. "He's so far ahead of the game that it's truly something that I've never seen ever."

Jaylin, who plays point guard, is regarded by many in the basketball world as the country's best 10-year-old hoopster. He's the youngest player on his team of 11- and 12-year-olds, which recently capped an undefeated season by capturing a Chicago city championship.

VIDEO: Jaylin Fleming regarded by many as nations best 10-year-old basketball player.
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If success has gone to Jaylin's head, it doesn't show.

"I stay humble by staying in the gym and working hard every time I step on the floor," Jaylin said. "I work very hard because I know that if I work hard, I will continually get better."

Jaylin's dad knew his son was special at birth.

"All the doctors and myself noticed that he had incredibly large hands," said John Fleming. "He's got basketball hands."

Now those hands are juggling phone calls from colleges. Schools across the country have been calling and inviting Jaylin to their practices. Some question whether it's too much attention and pressure for a kid who just learned long division.

"You are playing with fire when you put that tag on a kid in fifth grade saying you're the best in the country," said Tom Farrey, an ESPN reporter who wrote a book about youth sports. "We always focus on the ones who made it -- Tiger, Andre [Agassi] -- but there are thousands, millions of kids who were expected to be the best and just imploded."

The NCAA prohibits direct recruiting of kids before high school, but increasingly schools are bending rules to develop relationships with young stars. USC, DePaul University and the University of Tennessee made headlines recently after offering basketball and football scholarships to 7th and 8th graders.

"The bottom line is that middle school kids are now on the radar of college coaches, and that's OK with the NCAA," Farrey said. "It's kind of a free for all."

Other Elementary School Kids Eyed as Potential Future Players

In fact, Jaylin isn't the only 10-year-old colleges have pegged for stardom. Near Atlanta, fourth grader Dakota Simms has been turning heads.

"Playing basketball makes me feel good and like I can do anything," Dakota told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

As for Jaylin, his father insists there's no pressure.

"If he never grows another inch or goes to college on a scholarship, it's perfectly fine," John Fleming said. "Jaylin's potential extends beyond basketball."

For now, though, this pint-sized phenom has some very big dreams.

"If you get big headed and stop working, you won't achieve your goals," Jaylin said. "I feel right now that I can play basketball all my life."

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