Freshman phenom lights up the court

Layne Saliba

Basketball is in his blood. It has been running through his family’s veins for decades and it can’t be stopped. It all came natural to Georgia Southern freshman guard Jake Allsmiller. No one had to tell him to pick up a basketball. No one had to tell him to start playing. No one had to tell him what to do at all. He just knew.

He will always be remembered in the city of Nashville. As a matter of fact, he will always be remembered in the state of Tennessee.

While at Christ Presbyterian Academy, Allsmiller displayed his prominence in a number of ways. He helped lead his team to two state championships, averaged 15 points per game, was a three time All-State selection and finished his career by posting 457 career three-pointers, setting a new school record and ranking third in Tennessee history.

Not a lot of kids have done what he has, but Allsmiller found a way to keep impressing scouts even when it seemed like his game had reached its summit. His dream has always been to play basketball. So when he received an offer during his sophomore year from his father’s alma mater, Vanderbilt, he couldn’t have been happier. And with LSU and Miami University thrown into the mix, the decision became even more difficult.

But as Allsmiller was going into his senior year of high school, he began to see offers taken off the table. He injured his leg that summer, so schools started losing faith in him. They didn’t think he would be able to pull through and continue to do what he had done in the past. Not all schools felt this way, however. One school remained.

Georgia Southern stuck with Jake and believed he would recover from his injury and continue to play at the caliber he had been before the injury. Jake says that’s what drew him to Georgia Southern. He respected the loyalty the Eagles showed him as he was battling an injury.

“Georgia Southern just stuck in there and really just showed confidence in me and kept on watching me my entire senior year until I committed. So, it’s just a blessing to be here,” Allsmiller said.

And Jake has without a doubt returned the favor. He has been a vital component in the Eagle’s offense by spreading the court and forcing teams to respect his shot. That is what he is known as: a shooter. He poses a threat around the perimeter and has seen significant time that has allowed him to become a player that opponents have to pay attention to.

The experience he has gotten is important for this young team’s future as five significant players will be graduating at the end of this season.

“I wasn’t planning on having this many minutes as a freshman,” Allsmiller said. “When I get to be on the court with the guys and kinda get the feel for the game already, it kinda helps looking forward. Like how I’m gonna adjust in the future.”

The way the season has gone so far, the Eagles may be able to reach Allsmiller’s goal of winning as many championships as possible, especially in the first season of Sun Belt action. But nothing would be more exciting for him than to be able to break some of the school records already in place.

In order for him to do that, however, he knows he has to have an open mind and be receptive to all the lessons and advice that the veterans on the team have to offer.

“If we didn’t have the senior’s leadership, then we wouldn’t be nearly as successful. They made it easier and pushed us in offseason workouts and told us what to expect,” Allsmiller said. “It’s all about following in their footsteps. And then everything is kind of laid out in front of us.”

Allsmiller has plenty of time left at Georgia Southern and he will only improve as the years pass by. There is no doubt that he can accomplish great things at Georgia Southern and will make his mark on the basketball program. But even after all the high school accomplishments, and all of the accomplishments he is sure to achieve in college, Allsmiller won’t be done.

“I want to play basketball as long as I possibly can. Whether that takes me overseas or to the NBA, only the future knows,” Allsmiller said. “I’d love to play for the Golden State Warriors. Obviously Steph Curry is a monster to watch, and they love shooting the three-ball. So yeah, I’d fit in.”