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Photo by Todd Lester.
Trey Jemison has nearly tripled his offensive production for Homewood this season.
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Photo by Todd Lester.
Jemison now stands at 6-foot-11, and has learned to keep up with his growth by spending extra time in the gym.
Those size 18 shoes take some getting used to.
Trey Jemison, the 6-foot-11 center for the Homewood High School boys basketball team, has learned to keep up while he is still growing.
“I am [comfortable with my size], because I play so much,” he said. “When I do grow, I know it’s time to get in the gym. I have to run more and do extra, because you have to get used to your new shoe size.
“I started wearing size 18 in the summer, so I started jump roping, because if I don’t, I’m going to be lazy on my feet.”
Jemison’s obvious athleticism seems to point to evidence of many jump rope sessions over the offseason, as he was determined to take on a bigger role for the Patriots this season.
Last year, Jemison was more of a role player for the Class 6A state champions, as he and Chris Miller split the majority of the post minutes on a team loaded with nine seniors. This year, his points per game have nearly tripled.
“This time last year, I was kind of worried about what I did in the game,” Jemison said. “This year, I’m calm. I know these boys have my back, and I’ve got theirs. I’m more confident in myself and my game.”
Luke Touliatos leads the Patriots in scoring nearly every night, but Jemison can when he needs to.
The junior is just in his second year at Homewood, as he spent his freshman year of high school at Ramsay. The trust between Jemison and his teammates has developed over the past year-and-a-half, as the big man has only improved on the court.
“Trey is growing as much mentally as he is physically,” said Homewood head coach Tim Shepler. “He’s becoming more of an offensive presence and threat for us. He’s playing very unselfishly. I think our kids know if they throw it in the post, if he’s open, he’ll take it and if he’s not, he’s going to fan it back out and try to get a 3 out of it.”
He has plenty of options when looking for that open shooter, whether it is point guard C.D. Daniels, or any number of shooters such as Andrew Cleveland, Jack Goldasich, Logan Padgett and Larkin Williams.
Jemison now feels much more confident when he catches the basketball down on the block. Last year, his brain ran at warp speed, causing him to rush things and make the occasional errant play. He worked throughout the offseason on calming down in the paint, and that has yielded great results so far.
“[I wanted to] get stronger and finish around the paint a lot better,” Jemison said. “Last year, I missed a bunch of and-1s I should have had. I was soft last year compared to where I am now. Mentally, I’m calmer now.”
If there is an area where Jemison’s size and length cause issues, it is the potential for contact down low to appear misrepresented. Shepler recalled being in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while Shaquille O’Neal was in college at LSU. O’Neal’s physicality earned him several fouls simply based on the fact that he was so much stronger than his opponents.
“He’s got to make extra sure he’s straight up [on defense to avoid foul calls],” Shepler said.
Jemison said he has gotten better at keeping his hands straight up but admits there are lapses in that effort occasionally.
If there is one player who Jemison watches more than others at higher levels, it is Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet, a 7-foot-1 big man with the versatility to block shots and step out to hit big shots.
“He doesn’t have to block everything,” Jemison said. “Guys are stronger than him, but the way he plays, he blocks shots and gets rebounds.”
On the other hand, do not expect Jemison to start leaking out to the 3-point line often.
“He’s just so good around the basket. He’s been mature enough to say, ‘That’s where I really do the damage during games,’” Shepler said.
Shepler does implement a framework for post players like Jemison when they catch the ball on the block. Due to the fact that he will get double- and sometimes triple-teamed by opponents, Jemison goes through his “catch, chin and check” progression often before deciding whether to take a shot or kick it out to an open shooter.
But Jemison has improved drastically in his short time at Homewood, something that should excite fans and coaches alike.
“All his development’s been through hard work,” Shepler said. “He’s obviously naturally gifted. God had gifted him with a lot of size and a desire to get better and work at it. That’s a gift in itself. He’s getting quicker on his feet, but he has to work at it. I think you appreciate it more when you feel like you’ve had to work for it.”
Jemison still has quite a ways to go before reaching his ceiling as a basketball player, something college coaches can’t wait to see.
“A lot of recruits are done [with their development],” Jemison said. “They are what they are going to be. They’re happy because I’m just getting started. I have a lot to work on, and that’s good, because I’m a pretty good player right now. Hopefully, I’m going to get better next year. My freshman year of college, I’m going to be a better player. I’m working hard.”