Jared Jeffries -- Did You Know?
By Kassandra Posted in: Blazers
The game of basketball comes with it a myriad of individual and team honors. Seriously, there are a plethora of them.
Each level has multitude of honors for most valuable player, most improved, best defender and so on. From high school to college to the pros, there seems to be an honor for everything. Of course, this is no news to anyone. In fact, I would be willing to say that our own Portland Trail Blazers players have several such honors of their own.
But ... did you know?
The state of Indiana is notorious for being a huge basketball state. One could even argue that Indiana's love for basketball could rival Texas' love for football. Even the casual viewer of the film Hoosiers
can see the intensity, emotion and pure love the people of Indiana share for the game and their teams. It goes ever far back. The inception of the basketball program at the University of Indiana took place in 1900. As early as the third season of the NBA in 1948-49, not one -- but two -- of the NBA's 12 teams were located in Indiana (Fort Wayne Pistons and Indianapolis Jets).
In short, Indiana loves their basketball like Portland loves its Blazers.
Jared blocks Maryland's Lonny Baxter in the final of the 2002 NCAA tournament.
Perhaps it's only natural Jared Jeffries grew into the savvy NBA veteran that he is. The Bloomington, Indiana native not only went to high school at Bloomington North, he was honored as Indiana Mr. Basketball in 2000.
Simply put, the Indiana Mr. Basketball award honors the best high school player in the state.
Jared took his talents to the University of Indiana before hitting the NBA with the Wizards, Knicks (twice), Rockets and Blazers. He also was honored as Most Valuable Player of the Big Ten Conference by the Chicago Tribune
in 2002. Jared's high school teammate, Sean May, won the honor in 2002.
Incidentally, he's not the only Indiana Mr. Basketball to don a Blazers jersey. Former Blazers center Greg Oden won the honor in 2005 while playing for Lawrence North High School prior to attending Ohio St.
Jared and LaMarcus Aldridge enjoy a light-hearted moment earlier this season.
In fact, some other very notable NBA players have come from Indiana Mr. Basketball lore;Oscar Robertson, Glenn Robinson and Eric Gordon -- and many others -- have also won the honor.
Jared is in his 11th year in the league. He's a role player and, at this point in his career, a teacher and mentor. He seems to be enjoying himself, as fans may see him smiling more than any other Blazer this year. And why not? Obviously, Indiana's Mr. Basketball loves the game as much as his native Indianans do.
Now ... you know.
"-- Did You Know" will appear in this blog on a semi-regular basis throughout the sesason, centering on Blazers players and coaches. In Kassandra's Words, features periodic blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass