Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rick ready to roll

There is an old Chinese proverb that goes "Tiger father begets tiger son." In this country, the equivalent is a much more benign "being a chip off the old block." But adages, while interesting, are not always accurate and some require greater elaboration. 6-foot-4 Jacob Rick possesses an excellent hoops IQ and also shoots well, very similar to his father. But it wasn't simply a genetic transfer or some form of osmosis that got him to his current level -- it required dedicated time and effort.

A 2018 prospect at Pleasant Valley High in Chico, Rick has always been surrounded by a bouncing basketball. Sure, he tried baseball but the pace was too slow and played football too but it came down to what was his true sports love.

His father Randy owns an impressive list of basketball bonafides. The longtime coach at Feather River College, 17 years and counting, the elder Rick also played professionally in Australia after graduating from Chico State where he shot 62.3% during one of his seasons.

Jacob's older brother Brady was twice named the Mountain Valley Conference Most Valuable Player and also played some in Australia.

All this familial involvement certainly aided in his development but call it more accurately an incubation of sorts with Rick enduring some blood, a lot of sweat plus a few tears in the development of his own skill set.

"My best talent is probably my IQ, my knowing the game," he explained. "I grew up around the game and was always in the gym because of my Dad being a coach."

Another critical element was "I'd watch games on television with my Dad and he would pause, put it in slo-motion and explain what happened and why."

There is also the factor of putting all this knowledge into action -- "practicing and doing a lot of reps."

As influences, Rick cited, "all my Dad's players because I looked up to them and we would hang out together. Plus, my Dad and my brother. They are both so very competitive."

It's telling that his favorite moment in a game comes from playing with his brother at Quincy High as a freshman. "He was hard on me, very verbal. I felt I couldn't do anything right. But in one game I hit six threes and had 26 points by halftime. He told me 'good job.'"

Here's Ground-Up Coach Don Manning-Fuimaono who coached Rick this spring and summer. "Jacob always plays under control and he has an extremely high IQ. I really like him defensively because he gets in a stance and baits people into taking contested shots. This summer, for long stretches, I would put him on the other teams top perimeter scorer. He's got a sneaky athleticism and very good coordination. He's always under control, and he sees the game a few passes ahead. Offensively his versatility allows him to impact the game so many different ways. He's a great passer and has a very solid handle. He can slash for easy buckets and he's a very good shooter. As he gets stronger his game is going to become even more impactful. He's coachable and has a great attitude. Jacob is going to be very good."

Rick is working on a class project right now about researching careers. "I'd like to be a coach or a trainer. I want to be around sports."

As for recruiting, Rick expressed no specific preferences. "I'm willing to go anywhere." He is on target academically for D1 college eligibility.

What's fascinating is his skill set provides the versatility to play anywhere outside -- shooting guard or wing or positioned as a big point.

But Rick also recalled when he wasn't always so big and how that played into his favor. "In my freshman year at Quincy, I was pretty small, smaller than most everybody on the team.  But later, I got taller and actually developed a post game. So put a point on me now and I'll go low. Put a bigger guy on me and I'll take him outside."

He played on the Pleasant Valley junior varsity team last season after transferring in from Quincy High because choosing to play at the upper level would have required him sitting out 30 days. But this year and next, he'll have the opportunity to perform in a larger and more competitive setting and he's ready for that after those backyard battles with his father and brother.

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