Jeremy Peck is like any other kid. He goes to school, studies for tests and quizzes, plays basketball… pretty normal, right? This “ordinary” high school student is now looking to become a back to back member of the Texas All State Team and lead St. Thomas Catholic High School in Houston to the state title in his senior season, all the while knowing that he is committed to play for the Division 1 college basketball program of Drexel University. Suddenly you think he isn’t so normal anymore, now do you? While talking to him on the phone, you would think he is just a standard teenager by the calm and happy attitude he conveys, but his six-foot, eight-inch stature and lively playing style on the court shows there is a lot more to this ordinary kid.
I spoke with Jeremy last weekend about all things basketball and there really isn’t much he’s not ready to do: he has already nearly averaged a double-double in a season, worked out with professional coaches at the Houston Rockets’ facilities, and played against incredible international talent (and met the Chinese Vice Premier while doing so) through an NBA foreign exchange program. What is awesome is that he is ready to do more. I asked him about goals for his senior season, and he laid it out pretty simply,
“I sat down with my coaches and we hashed out some goals: I want to get 20 points and 10 rebounds every game, finish first in districts, and make First Team All-State again. [And] hopefully get that ring and win the state championship.” Pretty matter-of-fact.
For Jeremy to succeed in the coming years, it will be important that he sticks to his goals and not stray far from his gameplan. When he arrives in West Philly for his freshman year at Drexel, there is a strong chance that he could see some minutes early in his career. When I brought up that possibility he noted, “What [the coaching staff] said was that since I have the ability to step out and expand the floor by shooting threes and midrange jumpers, it would help them out … it would add a new big man for the offense which is what they were really looking for.”
The Houston native’s ability to be a hybrid center on both sides of the ball has boded well for him as an amateur athlete, playing in the AAU circuit with the Houston Defenders 17U team. He says his roles are a bit different for both St. Thomas school ball and with the Defenders, “In AAU, there are five of us who can score and do different stuff, but in high school I have to play big man by default. [There] I have to score more in post ups, whereas in AAU, I score more from outside.” This is an edge that some players may not have and certainly not an edge that propels most basketball players to the Division 1 level. Getting to experience two of your own playing styles on equally competitive fields creates a holistic game, something Jeremy can use to his advantage in the coming years at Drexel.
What lured Jeremy to Philadelphia was a combination of factors. The academics, location, and ability to play a high level of college basketball all weighed itself into the equation, but the change of scenery is an experience in it’s own. “It’s kinda crazy to think about,” he described. “You don’t really realize how far away it is until you make your official visit and see how different everything is. It’s a cool experience to be able to be recruited out of state and [then] go out of state to college and play basketball”. Jeremy plans to major in business and really likes the prospect of him having a four-year degree from the university as a student-athlete, even if hoops aren’t written in the stars, “Once I am done with [basketball], I have a degree from Drexel that I can come back with. It’s a pretty nice thing to have.”
After college, it would be assumed that he wants to play in the NBA, but playing overseas isn’t something Jeremy has completely turned away from, “Coach Flint has a pretty good track record getting people overseas to play, he said to me in our phone conversation. “It has been a goal of mine to go overseas and play, to get that experience and see where that takes me.” But for now, Jeremy has to worry about getting through the workload of senior year, just like any other ordinary kid.
Picture courtesy of the St. Thomas basketball Twitter account (@STHSBasketball)
-Drexel loses to Charleston in the quarterfinal of the CAA tournament