December 8, 2010

Jacobs off to dominating start

South Atlanta star and Alabama commitment Nick Jacobs has already earned plenty of praise as one of the nation's top big men for the Class of 2011 but that attention might be taken to another level this year if Jacobs' current pace continues into the season. South Atlanta is off to a 3-0 start and Jacobs jump-started his season with a career-high 46-point game against Avondale last Friday, leading South Atlanta to a 113-81 win.

"It honestly didn't feel like anything out of the ordinary for Nick," said South Atlanta head coach Michael Reddick. "We knew we had a size advantage going into the game so we decided we would take advantage of our matchups and try to work the ball inside to Nick. He was efficient, he took care of the ball and he converted on his opportunities and those are the kind of numbers he can put up when you give him the chance. He probably could have scored 50."

Jacobs, rated the No. 10 center prospect in the nation by Rivals.com but likely to play forward at Alabama, has spent the offseason working on improving a number of his offensive skills and according to Reddick that hard work is paying dividends early this season.

"He's a special player. Aside from his natural size and athleticism he's also pretty strong, he can make a move left or right with about the same effectiveness and he jumps pretty well for his size," Reddick said. "He's also got a number of different ways he can score whether it's his hook shot, dunks, free throws, reverses or just a mid-range jump shot. When defenses have to anticipate more than one move, it makes him that much more effective on the offensive side."

"I think his biggest areas of improvement in the last year have been his free throw shooting and his mid-range game. He knows he's going to get a lot of opportunities at the free throw line so he's really worked on evolving his free throw into more of a pure stroke. He made quite a few of those 46 points from the line."

"He's also really worked on expanding his shot out to about 12-feet. He can be so dangerous from there once he becomes an effective shooter because he can either pull up and shoot or make a move towards the basket from there. He's also in much better shape than he's ever been in and that has allowed him to get up and down the floor really well."

Reddick said that while the 6-foot-9, 260-pound big man is certainly the centerpiece of South Atlanta's success, Jacobs knows how to play a role and be a part of the team.

"We are counting on teams building their game plan around taking away Nick," said Reddick. "We expect that and Nick expects that. I think Nick trusts his teammates enough to know that when he is drawing attention from defenses, it's time to trust your teammates and give them the ball when they have an open look. We have some very good players on our team and Nick's dominance helps them all to shine."

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