Jaylen Mahone, right, goes up to try and block Austin Lopez’s layup during Laconia’s game against Ripon this past year.
Jaylen Mahone, right, goes up to try and block Austin Lopez’s layup during Laconia’s game against Ripon this past year.

   Jaylen Mahone practically was born with a basketball in his hands.

   The Laconia High School standout and future Ripon College basketball player credits his passion for the sport to his father, Jemal, as well as NBA greats Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

   “My family was just all about basketball, so I just started playing outside with my dad all the time,” Mahone said. “My dad was a big Lakers fan and I was a big Kobe and LeBron fan. So basically Kobe and LeBron got me started playing and then from there I just fell in love with it and I’ve been playing it ever since.”

   Mahone, who’s earliest memory playing basketball was when he was 3 or 4, added the game runs in his genes. His father was a part of some good teams in high school and his uncle was named all-state while playing college.

   It didn’t take long for Mahone to enjoy success either.

   “We won a lot of tournaments around the area when we were younger ...,” he said. “And then as we grew older, we kind of played some better teams and we didn’t finish as well, so that kind of just motivated me to become a better player and win those type of games in high school.”

   The 2018 Laconia High School graduate has had some talented players to look up to while growing up in the Rosendale-Brandon School District, such as Derek and Tyler Semenas, Zach DeBoer and Brett Wittchow.

Read the full story, which includes information on his accomplishments at Laconia, as well as his future at Ripon College, in the Aug. 2, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.