Boys basketball: Jalen Page to continue career at UNC player of the year was also second team all-state

Brad Cochi/
Jalen Page signed an NLI to play for Northern Colorado.

Jalen Page’s exceptional winter has now led to a rewarding spring for the Fairview senior.

During the 2019-20 basketball season, Page led the Knights to a Front Range League title and the program’s first berth into the Class 5A Final Four since 2010. Page was named the boys basketball player of the year and was voted second-team all state in the CHSAA coaches poll.

Page’s high school basketball career may be over, but this week the senior ensured that his hooping days would continue by committing to the University of Northern Colorado.

“For me, it’s a really big sigh of relief,” Page said. “From day one, I’ve always wanted to play college basketball. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’m just glad that it’s official. My family and I just decided that it was the best fit for me to go to Greeley. Steve Smiley is a great coach and I’m excited to get up there.”

Throughout his final season at Fairview, Page averaged 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 blocks. He was praised for his talent and unselfishness by opposing Front Range League coaches, who voted him conference player of the year.

With a talented squad surrounding Page, the Knights went 23-3 and reached the state semifinals. They had a legitimate shot at their first state title since 1981. But the spread of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the state tournament before the Knights got the chance to take on Valor Christian in the semifinals. Despite the disappointment of being prevented from finishing what they started, Page said he was grateful for such a memorable senior season with his teammates.

“It was crazy,” Page said. “Coming into the season, we knew we lost some guys from last year. But down the stretch, we played our best basketball and the reason for that was we were so close off the court. That really carried us farther. It was tough not to know who won but to be a part of this team was really special, especially my senior year.”

Page remained uncommitted throughout his senior season and had to wade through a confusing and uncertain postseason recruiting period. Like most unsigned recruits, the 6-foot-5 senior was unable to go on official visits or tour campuses because of social distancing. And while he was also considering Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Page said he feels he has found his new home at UNC.

Former Fairview coach Patrick Burke, who just recently departed program for family reasons, said he is just glad he’ll be able to keep watching Page play the game.

“His sophomore year is when we kind of turned things around as a program,” Burke said. “We had some really good junior and senior leaders on the team but he was our best player. He’s just a winner and that’s the thing that stands out the most. He always did everything that we needed him to do so that we could win basketball games.

“Jalen never cared whether we were running plays specifically for him and he has a love for the game and a respect for his opponent that allowed him to play the game the right way. He was a phenomenal kid to coach and we can’t wait to watch him continue to grow.”