The Jelly Fam movement is coming to Minnesota in 2017.
The youth basketball phenomenon taking over New York City was co-founded by Gophers four-star recruit Isaiah Washington. The 6-foot-1 senior point guard out of St. Raymond High School has amassed a following in the New York basketball community and on social media with his signature move.
The “Jelly” is a finger-roll layup with “spice and sweetness” added to it. The move isn’t new to the sport, but his spin on it has fans lining up to see the prep star anytime he's on the court.
“Jelly Fam just took the world by storm,” Washington told Bleacher Report in one of several recent national spotlights of the prep star. “I made Jelly my own signature move because I saw Michael Jordan do the open-leg dunk and when I was young I couldn’t dunk, so I just had to add some jelly and open my legs.”
The Jelly comes in various flavors, too.
“It’s a lot of Jelly in my arsenal. I can do a reverse. I can use the glass. I won’t use the glass.”
Washington started the Jelly Fam with Ja’Quayne James, also a local prep star at Teaneck High School in New Jersey, when they were in the eighth grade. The friends created the name while browsing Instagram and then began promoting their movement through social media. Washington’s @JellyFam_dimes account has 59,000 followers. James has 22,200 Instagram followers.
The family has expanded with elite-level prep stars around from region, including girls’ basketball star Milicia Reid. She is known as the “First Lady of Jelly Fam.”
Initiation into the Jelly Fam requires executing three Jellys in one game and capturing it on video or with someone in the family in the stands.
“I didn’t expect none of this to happen so soon. I thought all this was going to happen when I made it to the NBA,” Washington said. “The Jelly Fam phenomenon blew up because of social media.”
Washington added in a Slam Magazine interview “We just want to be a good example for people that are growing up trying to play basketball and try to stay off the streets. Like a basketball social group. And we want to be role models to the younger kids and put them on the right path.”
New York Rens program director Steve Alvarado told Bleacher Report parks are almost overrun and people are hanging on the fence to see Washington to the Jelly. His high school coach Jorge Lopez said Washington is popular because of his swag and the ability to back it up.
St. Raymond assistant coach Joe Amelio said, “Isaiah and the Jelly Fam movement has definitely re-energized New York City basketball, not only on the playground, but on the high school season itself."
Washington wants to be the star that helps take Pitino’s Gophers men’s basketball program to the next level. He is rated the Class of 2017's 95th-best player and 18th-best point guard in the nation by ESPN.
“What made me want to go to Minnesota was I was going to start my own journey somewhere where nobody really goes,” Washington told Slam Magazine. “I wanted to be coach Pitino’s first player that he could say made it out for him.
“Coach [John] Calipari from Kentucky, his first player was Derrick Rose when he was at Memphis. Players like that. I want to be known as somebody’s best player.”
Minnesota Jelly Fam shirts are already starting to circulate. Here is a glimpse of some of what Gophers fans will see starting next season:
Jellyfam x Minnesota ��〽️— isaiah Washington (@Jellyfam_Dimes) November 10, 2016