June 25, 2012

Jae'sean Tate following in his father's footsteps

Fans of Midwestern college basketball might remember 6-foot-10 post player Jermaine Tate from the '99-'00 University of Cincinnati team that finished the regular season ranked #1 in the nation.

Tate, a senior at the time, started on that team alongside Wooden award winner Kenyon Martin, averaging about five points and five rebounds a game.

Twelve years later, it's another Tate that is making his name in Ohio; Jermaine's son. 6-foot-5 forward Jae'sean Tate exploded onto the recruiting scene this spring with several impressive weekends' in a row; including a dominant performance in the first weekend in June where he led his All-Ohio Red 16u team to a state championship.
The younger Tate says that he loves hearing stories about his father as a player, but that he's looking to make his own name in Ohio.

"It's great that he was able to do all that he did," Jae'sean (a 2014 prospect) said, "But I'm trying to make a name for myself. I want to get to the point where I'm not asked about him in every interview."

Those are powerful words from the rising junior at Pickerington Central high school, in the suburbs of Columbus. However, Jae'sean is on his way to living up to those words as he has established himself as one of the top athletes in the Buckeye state both on the hardwood and the gridiron.

While he's thriving in basketball as of late, Tate has not yet decided which sport that he'll be pursuing at the collegiate level.

"The table is wide open for any offers," Tate said, "I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm going to play football this season as a junior and see where the future takes me."

Watching Tate play basketball it is apparent early that he is also a football player, as the 6-foot-5 combo forward loves to play with physicality. While he doesn't have great height for a forward, Tate is extremely athletic and has a rock solid build with strength.

"I play big for my size and I'm able to play both inside and out. Right now I'm like a small forward and a power forward mix; but in college, with my height, I'm going to be a straight wing player."

It's Tate's effort and toughness on the floor that have led to much of his success. He was the second leading scorer on his Pickerington Central team as a sophomore, a team that eventually became Ohio's Division I State Champions. Learning how to win over his first two years, Tate takes great pride in being a vocal leader on the court; as well as someone that will simply out-hustle his opponent.

"Whether we're up or down I'm always going to give 100% effort. I know colleges like that, actually, I think that has been a big reason why my recruitment has picked up this spring."

With his strong play over the spring, Tate has found himself in contention for a spot in the national rankings; and has seen a total influx in the amount of attention that he's receiving from colleges.

"It's been great to receive interest from so many different schools. I'm just happy mostly that my hard work is paying off."

While his school list is growing every day, two schools have extended offers that have really intrigued the 2014 forward.

"Dayton and Xavier both offered me last week, that was special to me. I've also been talking to Michigan, Purdue, West Virginia, and Georgetown a good amount."

Although he has yet to visit the Xavier campus, Tate found himself very excited when head coach Chris Mack called to extend a verbal offer.

"I don't know a ton about Xavier, but everything sounds great so far. I had a really nice talk with Coach Mack when they offered me. He got me really interested in the program, how much they win, how much they make the NCAA tournament, how they have their own plane, and a bunch of other stuff. It sounded like a place that I'd be interested in."

At the conclusion of the AAU season at the end of July, Tate plans on squeezing in visits to Xavier, West Virginia, and Michigan in between football practices. While he says location isn't necessarily a priority in his recruitment, coaching absolutely is. In fact, it will probably be the staff of the school that ultimately drives the decision that Tate will make.

"I'm always trying to get better. So, I have to find the right coach that will help me work on my weaknesses."

With his gritty approach to the game, and on-court success, Jae'sean is well on his way to becoming the most famous basketball player in the family.


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