2006 Focus: Derrick Jasper

Derrick Jasper isn't a name that's talked about like many of the other elite guards. Maybe it's because of his quiet demeanor. However, his low-profile will likely change this summer.

If you're looking for a fiery leader who can run your team, Derrick Jasper probably isn't your guy. However, if you're looking for a calm, poised point guard with size that can get to the basket and also distribute, the Paso Robles High (Calif.) junior fits the bill. Jasper is a 6-5, 195-pound guard who is averaging 21 points, 7 assists and 7 boards per game.

``He handles the ball so well for someone his size," Paso Robles coach Scott Larson said. "Plus, he's such a good kid. He's always the first in line in drills and always hustles. He gets the other guys on the team to play hard and he never says a word. He just leads by example and is a special player."

Larson saw flashes of Jasper's potential when he lit up Crenshaw for 27 as a freshman, but his star player has developed consistency over the past two seasons as a full-time point guard.

``He really blossomed between his sophomore and junior years," added Larson. "He worked on his shot and his defense and he's having a much better season this year."

``He needs to work on shooting off the dribble," he continued. "Be able to create his own shot and get it off quickly, but he's really a terrific player. He's still kind of an uncut diamond. He's a slasher who gets to the basket and is aggressive on the offensive boards – and can also shoot the perimeter jumper."

Jasper, 16, said that the coaching staff and an up-and-down style of play are the keys to getting involved in his recruitment. Thus far, it's a fairly wide-open battle that includes Kansas, UConn, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, UCLA, USC, California, Washington and Arizona. Larson added Gonzaga, Miami, Arkansas, Oregon and Oregon State to that group.

``I'm just trying to get better and I'll worry about all of that after the season," Jasper said. "It'd be good to stay close to my mom in college, but that really doesn't matter all that much." Jasper should get an opportunity to prove that he's one of the elite players in the country this summer when he suits up again with a loaded EBO team that features twins Robin and Brook Lopez, Quincy Pondexter and Tre'Von Willis


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