Posted On: 02/5/18 6:35 PM
As Head Coach Andrew Vancil points out, entering his Junior season Jake Estep was able to walk into a great basketball situation. The Beaverton Beavers were coming off a Metro League title and had their corps group of players returning. However, despite their success they carried a large chip on their shoulder from a disappointing finish to the previous season. They used the heartbreak as fuel for the offseason as they prepared for one more shot at a deep playoff run. With the surrounding talent, the opponents were continually forced to pick their poison. Estep and company were able to take advantage of the balanced attack leading Beaverton to back-to-back league titles and a fifth place finish in the 2017 State Playoffs.
This year Vancil and his star player knew things wouldn’t be as easy with the departure of a heavy contributing senior class. A class which included former conference POY Hunter Sweet, who is currently playing for Division II Concordia in Portland, OR.
After being challenged by the coaching staff to step up in different ways, Estep has responded. He’s had to take on a greater leadership role this season as his younger teammates now look to him for that veteran experience.
Vancil added, “He leads in different ways, he does it by leading by example but even during practice, if guys aren’t doing what they’re suppose to, he’ll get on them about it.”
At 6’5” Estep provides the versatility that can carry his team to victory on any given night. What makes it more impressive is that Estep is having to see different types of schemes that he hasn’t often faced before. Whether it’s a box and one, double teams, traps, Estep never loses his composure. When doubled he has the the size and vision to make the extra pass without forcing any low percentage shots. It’s his basketball IQ and efficiency that separates him from everyone else on the court. On Wednesday night facing league opponent Glencoe, Estep scored 24 points on only 11 shot attempts. Challenged to rebound better, he chipped in 7 boards while going 5-6 from the line. He leads the Metro League in scoring and currently sits at 24.6ppg. Estep’s 49% from the field is indicative of his ability to understand quality shot selection. He currently shoots 81% from the free throw line and averages 6.9rpg.
As Coach Vancil points out, “what’s different about Jake is his preparation, in the off-season he has a nutritionist, he’s always in the gym, he takes this very seriously.”
It’s paid off the 6’5” wing. Offensively his greatest strength lies in his ability to shoot it. It’s a pure form that he can get off in transition and in the half court. Currently shooting 35% from 3pt line on the season, Estep plays with the confidence that as long as his feet are set he’s a weapon out to 22 feet. Opponents have thrown nearly everything and everyone at Estep. However, with his combination of size and physicality he has the ability to take bigger and slower defenders out to the perimeter to attack them off the dribble. When teams want to put smaller, quicker defenders on him, he has no problem heading to the block to post up.
The next level will require Estep to guard quicker players on the defensive end. Lateral quickness and overall athleticism will be something that Estep focuses on as he heads to Division II Western Oregon University.