Posted On: 06/20/18 2:00 AM
Each time Jerriah Love hits the court, chances are he’s the smallest guy out there. He’s having to look up to everyone else, but Love’s size doesn’t measure up to the heart Love has instilled in himself as a point guard.
Love realizes other players will look at his height (5-foot-8), and probably think they will have an advantage and bully him, but that’s not the case with Love. He loves to drive to the basket, overlooking the bigger defenders each time he’s in the paint. Love also loves to play defense, loves to be in the offensive player’s face, refusing to give any space.
At Science Hill High School, Love plays on a team that practices up-tempo offense, constantly pushing the basketball up the floor once Love or one of his teammates have grabbed the rebound. Even though Love isn’t as big as other guards, he has upper body strength, which he uses to his advantage. He’s not the fastest guard, and other guards may have a step on him, but he’s still in the radius of the basketball, refusing to give up on the play.
“I like playing defense,” Love said. “I like ball pressure on defense. I like being up in somebody, even if it’s the best person on the floor. I like just going at them.”
Love, whose part of the 2019 class, likes to compare himself to former Kentucky and current Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis, whose 5-9 and 150 pounds. Just like Love, Ulis has to use other attributes such as speed to make his job as a guard easy for himself and his teammates.
Love mentioned his strengths are his abilities to hit the mid-range jump shot, free throw shooting, 3-point shooting off the dribble, finish at the rim with the left and right hand, while finishing with contact. But, Love mentioned he has to do a better job of avoiding a trap since he’s not tall enough to see over defenders.
“My weakness is probably being the smallest, but I’m fast,” Love said.
Last season for the Hilltoppers, Love showed he can be a scoring guard and a pass-first guard, depending on the flow of the game. He scored 12 of his 20 points from 3 in an 84-53 win at Volunteer High School against the Falcons on Jan. 30. In a 50-41 win over Dobyns-Bennett Indians, Love scored only seven points but dished out six assists.
“I can be pass-first if I need to, if we’re playing certain teams. I can be score-first,” Love said. “I can be strictly defense. I can run the team. I am a leader. I am a vocal point guard.”
Newberry College out of Newberry, South Carolina has shown interest in Love. He recently participated in a league camp at the school, which Love called “a good experience.” Love is also interested in East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee, but neither school has yet to offer Love.
Despite not having a lot of offers, Love isn’t worried about college, because he’s confident he will end up somewhere, whether the school is in Tennessee or not.
“Honestly, I work really hard. I’m always in the gym,” Love said. “I know my hard work will put me somewhere, and that’s all in God’s hands.”