You don’t want to sleep on SoCal prep hoops. Not with someone like Jake Kyman coming through the ranks of the high school-ball system.
“Kobe has always been my idol just because the way he treats the game. What he does on the court is incredible. The footwork he had. Just the impact he has on a game. He’s my favorite player of all time.”
Well, this next statement may sound bolder than anything you can think of, but Kyman’s idol and the youngster himself are bound to forge a career around the place they share and he’s determined to reach the highest of heights with his game, prove he’s as good or more than anyone stepping into his way and, hey, why not, surpass some of his muses as the kid from Italy did not that long ago.
“I try not to pay attention to the rankings. Honestly, they don’t mean anything. They are just fuel to my fire.”
Coming from Santa Margarita Catholic, Kyman’s name is not the only one that pops from the HS record books. Does Klay Thompson sound familiar? Probably if you’re engaged to basketball at least by a hair. The LA native attended the same school as Jake Kyman and went to Washington State to play ball there for three years before departing for the L where he was picked 11th overall by the raising Warriors. Kyman, even having just finished his Junior season at SMC, already has offers from programs as coveted as those of UCLA, USC or LSU. Talk about talent hunting. But honestly, that is for a reason and it is all about Jake’s game and its evolution –only going up– up to this point in time.
The first move of what looks like the right decision: “I played baseball and was actually really good too, but I quit in 7th grade and solely focused on basketball.” Jake opted to handle the big orange ball instead of the small white one, and it’s starting to pay off. Forget about doubts, possible alternative routes, or any other concern this double approach may lead you to think of: “[My] love [for the game] just came from within, I mean, I never really loved that game until I started getting good and it just became my outlet for everything and keeps me on track now.”
A big chunk of the whole “mixtape culture” is built on hype, dunks, disrespectful moves and young fellas jumping and bumping around the court smashing opponents at the rim. Already part of the Adidas AAU circuit, if not a veteran by now, Jake’s tape is not just about the flashy moves and the dunks and the highlight stuff. It is about the game. The whole, full, all-angles-covered game and the fundamentals. A cut, a quick pass, finding the open lane or the free spot to hit the dagger from long-range.
Jake does it all.
And you don’t see that from every baller at his age. In terms of his pro-comp, he knows whose game he’s trying to replicate. “I’d like to say my game [is] like Gordon Hayward’s because I can do many things with versatility. I can guard many positions, and I can also score at every level – from three, midrange, and at the basket. I have a very developed post game from playing center since I was young until 7th grade so I feel I’m extremely versatile, [which] also helps with being 6–foot–7.”
“I definitely want to go to the pros because the NBA has been a goal since [I was] a lil kid.”
Maybe now you start to understand the interest he’s been generating around Cali and the rest of the nation. “It feels amazing to get D1 offers. [It] lets me know my dreams have come to a reality [thanks to] working so hard to this point, and it is a validation factor as a player that the work you put in is paying off.”
Jake’s been breaking milestones and rankings since the first time I heard his name. He is already a four-star caliber prospect for ESPN (80 grade, #14 CA prospect) and Prep Hoops (#56-best 2019 prospect, no less). “I try not to pay attention to the rankings. Honestly, they don’t mean anything. They are just fuel to my fire because all that matters is if your team wins, but I like to look at them a little bit and if I play someone higher: I’m definitely gonna go at them and prove to people why I should be higher but I don’t really focus on that stuff a lot.” Young, yet clever.
With the season over and the spring and summer tourneys around the nation about to start, Kyman’s games with his Dream Vision Adidas AAU team are about to start rolling.
“This summer from AAU all I expect is to win and help my team win. I don’t care how many offers I get or how many points I score, even if I get two points [but] we win [then] I contributed to a W. All I want to do is win because that speaks for itself.”
And the same goes for his future HS plans at SMCHS for the last run next season:
“Colleges want winners and that goes for my senior season as well. Just put everything aside about who is who. All the politics. Just go out there and hoop and try to win the league and win CIF and try to win State and everything will fill itself out.”
At this point, you don’t know if you’re reading quotes from an under-18 or an already retired veteran. What you know is Jake’s got everything pretty clear in his mind and a great foundation to succeed. How does that future look in his mind then, you say?
“I definitely want to go to the pros because the NBA has been a goal since [I was] a little kid. Balling in front of thousands of people, there is no better feeling. I have no problem playing one year at college-level or four, just whatever makes me most successful in getting to the League.”
Clear as water.
The next time you check some prospect rankings you may not find Jake’s name in there. The following one, he’ll probably have popped in them. By the third, you’ll surely be looking at a SoCal prospect already committed to a D-I college with a high pedigree, though he’s not ready to make that decision yet. He’ll wait, and take the best option. Anyways, keep his name on hand, because you’ll probably read about him more than you do about your average up-and-coming ballers.