Gaucho Hoops ("GH"): Let's talk about Jaquori's background. You both started at Peninsula at the same time. What was he like when a freshman, both as a player and a kid? And how was his transformation by the time he graduated?
Jake Jackson ("JJ"): When I first met JaQuori in April of 2012, we knew right away he was going to be a special young man on and off of the court. Many influencers in the Seattle-Tacoma community informed our coaching staff we had a special kid on our hands. He was 5’11” and 130 pounds at the time but I could see right through that little physique. His IQ, court awareness, shooting mechanics, ball-handling, rebounding outside of his area and defensive grit provided the most insight to me that he was going to be one of the best to come out of the state of WA. JRoc had high expectations going into his freshman season and we made it clear to all students that their role was going to be earned, not given. No matter how old you are or what your role was last season. Earned by how each student practices. We made it very clear you practice like you play, everything you do matters. We have a system called the The Gold Standard (I learned this from working under Sean Miller as his head manager during the 2009-10 season at Arizona. Coach Joe Pasternak also uses this at UCSB). The Gold Standard point system was established to eliminate subjectivity. The system relies on precise data to back-up decisions and defining roles. We have a performance driven culture and this system holds students accountable to their achievements on the court. We keep track of the Golden Standard points in every live practice drill for each Varsity student. We keep track of Gold Standard Points in games as well. Each student has a PER (practice efficiency rating) and GER (game efficiency rating). If you review his progression below, he became better and better in all areas of his game. Whether it was in practice, games, team wins or accolades, each season was better than the last. He never plateaued!
FRESHMAN SEASON: In JRoc’s first season, 2012-13, he dominated practice more than anyone. He was #1 in GS points at 398 (+10 practice efficiency rating). Being #1 was great, but we knew he had a long way to go. He finished 2nd overall in GS game points at 172 where he shot 44% from 2’s and 33% from 3’s as a freshman. He finished SPSL 3A 1st Team All-League honors. He won the Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors voted by his teammates. However, we only won 4 games as a team and no playoffs. This was our first season at Peninsula and the 4 wins was actually more than the previous three seasons. However, we expected much more.
SOPHOMORE SEASON: Season 2, as a sophomore, he became our captain and leader in all areas. His body was finally growing where he sprouted into a 6’2” frame and 150 pounds. He was stronger and his body could handle the physicality. His practice performance was on a whole different level, dominating every drill where he finished with, 1,204 GS points (+30 practice efficiency rating). This carried over to his game performance where he averaged 18 PPG and +31 game efficiency rating. His shooting % went up, where he shot 45% from 2’s and 34% from 3’s. He acquired 21 Golden P’s throughout the season, voted SPSL 3A 1st Team All-League honors, team captain, Offensive Player of the Year and he won the Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors voted by his teammates. The team won 15 games, advanced to Districts and had the most wins since the 2006-2007 season. Peninsula was finally on the map as an up and coming program thanks to JRoc.
JUNIOR SEASON: Season 3, as a junior, he was waking up at 5 AM before school each day to make 300+ shots. After school, he would do his HW, then do agility and weight room workout, then make another 300+ shots at night before going to bed. He would repeat this. He was now 6’3” and 160 pounds. His practice performance was impressive. He accumulated 1,942 GS points (+48.6 per practice efficiency rating), +34 game efficiency rating. He averaged 23 PPG and 46% from the field. He acquired 22 Golden P’s throughout the season, voted SPSL 3A Most Valuable Player of the Year honors, team captain, Offensive Player of the Year and he won the Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors voted by his teammates. The team won 18 games, advanced to Districts and had the 2nd most winningest season in school history.
SENIOR SEASON: Season 4, he invested more time than anyone I have ever seen. His body was now 6’4” and 170 pounds. We started off the season 14-0! We finished 21-4 where we made it all of the way to the District Tournament Semifinals earning us a State bid. We lost in the State Sweet 16 game. However, 21 wins was the most in school history. JRoc was named the WIBCA Mr. Basketball for the state of Washington which was the most prestigious award you can win for basketball in our state. He accumulated 1,961 practice points (+56 practice efficiency), +42.44 game efficiency rating, 18 PPG and 8 APG. What allowed us to be successful was how he facilitated our offense getting his teammates involved more. We had another D1 player in Garrett Kingman, along with two D2 players and one D3 player. We were loaded and JRoc no longer had to shoot 15+ shots per game. He was voted SPSL 3A 1st Team All-League honors, team captain, Offensive Player of the Year and he won the Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors voted by his teammates.
GH: When did you know he would be special in basketball?
JJ: During our first open gym back in April 2012.
GH: Can you give us some color on his high school playing days? Also, how was he as an AAU player?
JJ: I gave the progression above which sheds light on individual and team success through all four seasons.
JRoc played for Team Access out of Tacoma. However, he played in very little AAU tournaments. He was more about skill development in the off-season. He was invited to many national camps like the Under Armour All-America Camp, etc. We would play 30+ games as a high school team in the summer, where he did not play on the AAU circuit until the summer going into his senior season.
GH: What was his recruitment process like? Why did he choose Oregon State over other schools? Who else offered him?
JJ: JRoc traveled down to Oregon State and attended their youth basketball camp each summer. Craig Robinson met JRoc there and they established a close bond. JRoc would dominate his youth camp and Coach Robinson followed him to high school with his recruitment. Oregon State was his dream school because of attending the youth camp, rapport with the coaching staff and past players like Gary Payton. After Craig Robinson was let go, JRoc re-opened his recruitment. We had every major coach on the west coast in our gym when that happened. Washington, Gonzaga, Arizona, Cal, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford, Boise State, Memphis etc. He had offers from Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Memphis, Boise State, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Wisconsin…When the head coach comes, you know that college program values you. Mark Few from Gonzaga showed up to our Peninsula gym one afternoon. That sparked many more. Greg Gard from Wisconsin. Dana Altman from Oregon, Ernie Kent from Washington State, Wayne Tinkle (OSU), Cuonzo Martin (Cal at the Time)…but no one more than Lorenzo Romar at Washington. Coach Romar gave the most effort and genuine interest for JRoc. That is when he committed to UW in November of 2014. He wanted the circus of his recruitment to be over so he could focus on his development and HS seasons. However, JRoc then de-committed from UW in May of 2015 looking for a different fit. He decided to go back to Oregon State, which was his gut choice. He re-committed to Oregon State in September 2015 before his HS senior season started.
GH: Why did he choose UCSB after transferring out of OSU?
JJ: He started every game at Oregon State as a freshman. He played 34 out of 40 minutes available per game as a freshman. He averaged 10.5 points, 3.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds as a freshman in the PAC 12 conference! He shot 38% from 3-pt. range and his 58 made 3-pt. shots became the most for any freshman in Oregon State history! However, he did not feel it was the best fit for him. We respect the Oregon State coaching staff. In life, sometimes you do not know if the fit is going to be good until you experience it firsthand. His GPA was right around a 2.7 cumulative which is not the reason why he left. There were rumors that he did not have the grades to continue at OSU and that is not true at all. JRoc graduated HS with honors where he had 3.5+ cumulative GPA. He is intelligent and can dominate the classroom. He wanted to find a program that would elevate his performance in the classroom, in practices, in games along with winning.
One of the first coaches to ever recruit JRoc back in 2012 was John Rillie, who was an assistant coach at the time for Boise State. JRoc and his family developed a special bond with Coach Rillie. Fast forward to December 2017 when JRoc asked for his release from Oregon State, Oregon State wanted a list from JRoc of schools he planned to speak with about transferring to. One of those schools was UCSB. John Rillie was now an assistant at UCSB and then there was the Arizona effect. I spent five seasons as a team manager at the University of Arizona under four different head coaches. One of them was Sean Miller back in 2009-10 (Archie Miller was the associate head coach at the time. Joe Pasternak arrived to Arizona after I left. I only knew Joe through Sean Miller). One of the team managers with me at the time was Ben Tucker. Coach Tucker and I had a close relationship. Joe hired Ben Tucker on staff as an assistant coach at UCSB. Then you have the brilliant mind of Joe Pasternak who is an unbelievable head coach who is similar to my energy and expectations regarding coaching style. Coach Tucker informed me that Coach Pasternak is running the same practice drills, offensive system, defensive system, terminology, player development program and Gold Standard system that JRoc excelled in while at Peninsula. That was more than appealing to JRoc. Coach Pasternak and his entire staff flew into the Gig Harbor Airport one night and their actions spoke so loud, JRoc did not care what other programs had to offer. JRoc felt the most comfortable with the UCSB staff. He had the prior relationship with Coach Rillie. He had trust in me knowing that Coach Pasternak was an Arizona guy running the same system he excelled in at Peninsula. It was the best overall fit and JRoc believes they will provide the tools for him to become the best he is capable of becoming.
GH: What position did he play in high school? What position is he best suited at the Div. 1 level?
JJ: JRoc is a true POINT GUARD when you look at old school basketball. However, with new school basketball, it has become position less at times. JRoc can play off of the ball as a shooting guard or facilitate the offense as the point guard. It would be hard to imagine someone better than JRoc regarding his IQ, awareness and vision. Coach Pasternak will put him in position to be successful and cater to his strengths. One area that JRoc proved at Oregon State is how well he can shoot the 3-point shot. He broke Oregon State’s [freshman] record for the # of 3’s made in a season!
GH: UCSB is stacking their lineup with good shooters. Jaquori set a freshman record for made 3 pointers. What makes Jaquori such a good shooter? Was this something that came natural to him? Or was it just pure work ethic?
JJ: I would say it is part genetics and other part is work ethic. How many HS kids were getting 600+ makes per day consistently during season and out of season? JRoc invested more quality time at game speed than any player I have ever coached. His game shooting % and 3-point shot is directly correlated to his drive of becoming the best player he is capable of becoming. His shooting mechanics are pure where he has a solid base, strong leg drive and pure form.
GH: What are his other strengths?
· His basketball IQ is unrivaled. When Coach Pasternak makes in-game adjustments, JRoc will be able to execute with little explanation. In-game reads coming off screens or knowing what the opponent is trying to execute.
· His court awareness and vision. He sees the floor better than anyone I have seen and will rack up assists if guys run the floor!
· When he plays angry, no one can guard the ball better than JRoc. I feel he could have been challenged more at Oregon State in this area. They ran a lot of zone which is why the switch was not flipped in JRoc’s head. However, excuses aside, he is fully capable of dominating within man defense.
· Obtaining deflections on defense due to his length. Active hands!
· Hustling after rebounds outside of his area on both ends.
GH: What is he working on to improve his game?
JJ: Being an every possession player. Being more vocal. He leads by example and through his actions. However, he will need to command more with his voice. Investing more time watching film, scouting opponent and how they play certain offensive actions and staying a gym rat.
GH: How is Jaquori as a teammate, a player, and a leader?
JJ: He is a phenomenal teammate that brings out the best in each of his teammates. He demands excellence. As a player, he will run through a wall for his team and coaches. He will lead through his actions. He is a servant leader where he is happiest when his teammates are performing and the team is doing well.
GH: Tell us one thing about Jaquori that most people don't know about?
JJ: We call him “JRoc” which is pronounced “Jay-Rock.” His nickname throughout HS was “Quattro” where he is a threat from four areas: at the rim, midrange, FT’s and 3-point. One of the most family oriented kids you will ever meet. Blesses his food before he eats it. More than polite and well mannered. Shared one bedroom with his three other brothers. All four brothers slept in the same room growing up.
GH: Thanks for the great interview Coach!
GH: Thanks for the great interview Coach!