Jacobs leads Trojans with passion and humility

first_imgSophomore guard Julian “Juju” Jacobs says that his team’s struggles over his two years with the program have been one of the toughest times of his career.The road has, indeed, been tough for the Trojans, who are 10-18 overall and 2-14 in conference play, putting them at dead last in the Pac-12, though there seems to be at least one guiding light through Jacobs.Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, JuJu is a product of the east side of the city. Standing 6’4, he is one of the most athletic and explosive point guards one will encounter at the Division 1 level. Jacobs prepped at Desert Pines High School, a basketball powerhouse in Las Vegas.In his junior year of high school, he began to make a name for himself, leading the Jaguars to a state title run but ultimately falling short. In his senior year, however, he came back with a vengeance, leading the Jaguars to a state championship with a 27-3 record, averaging 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.2 steals per game — leading the team in all categories.As a result of his spectacular season, he was named to the All-State team and the Las Vegas Review-Journal Player of the Year.Despite these accolades, Jacobs is one of the most humble athletes one could ever encounter. Well-mannered and soft-spoken, Jacobs usually keeps to himself, preferring to just “handle [his] business”.Jacobs is not the type of athlete that you will catch at the upcoming party or on the social scene, but rather in the gym working hard on his craft to achieve his goal of one day playing in the NBA.He learned to play basketball from one of his close friends when he was a young kid and Jacobs recalled his friend being cocky and arrogant, saying that “it worked for him because that was his personality.”At the same time, he remembered seeing people’s negative reaction to his friend’s cockiness, so he made it a point to be a low-key person who never said a word while playing basketball; but always got the job done, and thus far, it has worked for him.Jacob’s agility and dynamic hustle on the court positions him to have a promising career. Through his transition from high school to the college game, he has learned to be a more cerebral player, as he describes it.“A huge transition for me at first, you know, from my freshman year, was the physicality and the pace of the game,” Jacobs said.His acute knowledge of the game is what has enabled him to learn and adjust to different positions, as well as build team chemistry. While Jacobs may put in the extra time to work on enhancing his play as an individual, his leadership sheds light on his true character.This past summer, Jacobs stayed at USC to perfect his craft. His teammates and coaches quickly took notice of his hard work and dedication to greatness, awarding him the position of team captain in only his second year with the team.“I don’t want to say it fell into my hands but there was definitely an opportunity for me to take on that role because there was a large group of freshman coming in and I was one of the staples from last year,” Jacobs said. “I honestly worked my butt off this summer and I felt like I deserved it.”Staying true to his character, Jacobs claimed how humbling and gratifying it was to be recognized for his efforts so early on in his career at USC.The Trojans’ season is nearly over, and though they won’t go anywhere this year, they have a core group filled with young talent, and a good group of recruits coming in next year.In the face of such adversity, one would think a player of such talent would get fed up and transfer to a place where he feels he could compete and contend, but not Jacobs.“I think the most important thing is to have the support system, certain friends and family that always keep you going and remind you why you’re there,” Jacobs said.Jacobs is, indeed, here to stay and with his talent and positive attitude at the helm, Trojan’s basketball team can only go up from here.Beyond USC, Jacobs noted that he definitely has aspirations of playing in the NBA.“I’ve always been a firm believer [that] if you’re really confident in your Plan A and you do everything to make that happen, it’ll come to fruition,” Jacobs said. “So, not that I’m banking on going to the NBA but I just strongly believe that I will play in the NBA one day and through that I’ll meet people I couldn’t even dream of meeting and so through basketball find something [more impactful] down the road.”In the long run, Jacobs hopes to make an impact larger than himself.Using basketball as a platform, he hopes to give back to young black males from his hometown of Las Vegas.“I feel like when you’re on a stage like the NBA, you have a voice, and I always felt like I could connect with any kind of people and so like I said, [I] just [want to] find something applicable after basketball — through basketball actually.”With the  talent and humility of Jacobs at the forefront of the program, the Trojan’s future looks very bright.last_img

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