Humble Start, Impressive Rise For Prep Sensation Chase Jeter
Four years ago, Chase Jeter (Bishop Gorman H.S.), a forward out of Las Vegas, Nevada, says no one in the basketball community knew who he was. That may be hard to believe for basketball fans who have watched the Duke-bound senior and USA Basketball gold medalist help Bishop Gorman to three straight Nevada Division I state titles.
That climb into the elite ranks, however, is still fresh in Jeter’s mind, and it’s helped him from letting up on his work ethic.
“Just the fact that I was a nobody my freshman year,” Jeter said when asked what keeps him motivated. “Going into high school, I wasn’t a highly touted recruit, and I kind of forced my way into being a top-ten guy and being a guy people consider one of the best. So, knowing that I came from nothing means it can be taken away so easily, so I just continue to work hard and be the best I can be.”
Part of Jeter’s evolution was as simple as a growth spurt. Part of it was more cerebral.
“I did grow from my freshman year, I was 6-6, now I’m 6-11, so that was a major change,” Jeter explained. “As far as my mindset, it was just a level of confidence and trusting in the work that I put in and being able to rely on my skill set, not just athleticism, and run the floor and rebound and defend at a high level. Working on those skills gave me more confidence in my game.”
After earning one of 12 highly contested roster spots on the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team this past June, Jeter averaged 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to help the USA to a 5-0 record and gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The USA was led by heralded collegiate mentors Billy Donovan (Florida), Ed Cooley (Providence College) and Sean Miller (Arizona).
“Being coached by college coaches and learning to push yourself every day in practice,” said Jeter when asked what he learned while playing for USA Basketball. “The transition as far as speed of the game is pretty big from high school to college, and I feel like I will be more prepared when I get there.”
Just a few weeks ago, Jeter was named to his second USA Basketball team, the 2015 USA Junior National Select Team, which will play in the 18th annual Nike Hoop Summit against a World Select Team that is comprised of top international players 19 years old or younger.
“It is an honor,” Jeter said of being asked to play for the USA team in the Nike Hoop Summit. “Being able to play on the U18 team this past summer and getting to learn from the coaches and the older guys, and to be able to win the gold medal, it’s just an honor to come back and be able to play for my country again.”
While the USA holds a 12-5 series lead in the Nike Hoop Summit, the event often is a springboard for international prospects looking to raise their NBA Draft status.
“I know the Nike Hoop Summit is different from all of the all-star games,” said Jeter. “We are going to be playing guys who are looking to actually make a name for themselves off of us. So, it’s important for the team going into this to be focused and mentally prepared and get the win.”
Jeter will take the court in the Nike Hoop Summit at 12 p.m. (PDT) on April 11 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, with six of his teammates from the 2014 USA U18 National Team, including Stephen Zimmerman, who suits up alongside him at Bishop Gorman.
“It’s going to be good, being able to have chemistry already going into the game,” Jeter said. “We are going to try and get the win.”
Before they suit up in red, white and blue, however, Jeter and Zimmerman are looking to be a part of something no boys basketball team has done at their school before – win four straight Nevada state titles.
“It’s been good so far,” Jeter said of his senior campaign. “We’ve had a couple of loses early in the season, but coming to the end of the season, we have playoffs starting, we’re looking to win another state championship and be able to finish strong as the first team in our school’s history to win four championships in a row.”
Jeter said thanks in part to Zimmerman, he does not have to always be the go-to guy for Bishop Gorman.
“Me and Stephen, we are great teammates,” said Jeter. “It’s good to have a guy like him that you can compete against and go up against every day in practice. From being on different teams, to being on the same team, we’ve grown a lot as players and it has helped both of us.”
Beyond high school and the Nike Hoop Summit, Jeter will remain among friends when he heads to Duke University in the fall, where he hopes to reunite with two more of his teammates from the 2014 USA U18 National Team, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow.
“Just the relationship with Coach K, the relationship with the guys I had,” Jeter said when asked what made Duke the right school for him. “I became really good friends with Tyus and Justise on the USA team over the summer. I talked to those guys a lot, even now, when they are at college. They will call me up or I’ll call them from time to time. They tell me what it’s like. Just being able to have that relationship and know what I’m getting into was really important to me. I felt like Duke was the place for me.”
Don’t miss Jeter and the USA's other standouts in the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit on April 11 and stay tuned to USA Basketball for the television broadcast information. If you are in the Portland area, get your tickets now.