Athlete of the Week: Jacob Adams, Brandon Valley Lynx
Jacob Adams played in a basketball and baseball state championship last year. His skills on the court and on the diamond will be remembered for a long time.
Over his basketball and baseball career, Adams has been an ambitious player. He's had good memories, and has learned to mature in handling situations when it's not just about him.
"One thing I recognized about Jacob right away is how competitive he was and that is always going to be the key in anyone who is going to be good or great in anything they decide to do. There would be times, and I know Jacob would admit this, I would walk in and he would be literally holding up more than one game at a time because something didn't work out his way. Being a 10 or 11-year old sixth grader, some kids are too immature and don't know how to handle certain situations. There would be a lot times we would have heart to heart talks at an earlier time in his life than with others. That's something I noticed with Jacob right away, and that's not a bad thing. That is the way Jacob is wired. The amount of growing up between sixth and eighth grade is unbelievable and he continued to do that all the way through," says Deckert.
Deckert has taught Adams a lot, and overall, Jacob has really enjoyed playing for his coach throughout his career at Brandon Valley.
"There's been some times we butt heads, but other than that, it is fun to play for Coach Deckert. He is really outgoing and knows what he is talking about.”
All of those teachable moments early on in Jacob's career helped created two of his biggest attributes in both of his sports.
"There's always things we look for in players, but one of the biggest things I look for is toughness, and hands.Two things you can't really coach, and that's what Jacob had. He was a competitor and always had great hands. You could see it on the baseball field, by the way he hits, and in basketball, he gets his hands on so many balls, that you think, 'how does he end up with that,' and he still does. That's nothing I have coached, and that's who he is," adds Deckert.
His hard work mentality has come over time, as he's been playing basketball since the fourth grade, and baseball when he joined tee ball at a young age. His dad played both sports in high school and in college, and has been his main influence growing up playing both of the games he loves. All in all, Adams really enjoys the two sports and what they have taught him throughout his life.
"I like baseball a little more because I'm a little bit better at baseball, but basketball is a better atmosphere. There's a lot more people there, and it's fun to play on Friday nights. Basketball has taught me more leadership and playing as a team, while baseball is still a team sport, but it's a lot of individual and you have to play your role."
On the basketball floor, he was Brandon Valley's main post player as a 6'2" forward, but when he had the chance, he loved to step outside and hit a jumper. Deckert described Adams as the 'fear factor,' and was a better defender and rebounder than most people gave him credit for. He could match-up with a lot team's biggest players. In baseball, his bat carried the Lynx, and his fielding skills at shortstop played a big role, as he has great feet and hands.
“I started in basketball my sophomore year, and looking back, I have improved a lot, more mentally and physically. I've gotten a lot bigger, and stronger. I think I averaged more rebounds this year than last year. In baseball, I also played my sophomore year and have seen a big improvement. Also, bigger and stronger. I'm hitting a lot more balls out and I am learning the game better,” shares Adams.
Deckert recalls putting Adams into the starting lineup when he was a sophomore, and while Jacob made some early errors, they definitely made him a more complete player going forward.
"From the time he was a freshman, and we tell almost all freshman the same thing, 'if you compete, and play well, you are always going to have a chance to play at the next level.' Jacob had a chance to do that as a freshman, and when he was sophomore, it didn't happen right away, but right after Christmas, he found himself in the starting lineup. He might have been surprised by that at first, but at the same time he made tons of mistakes and we would go back to him. I even remember mistakes that cost us games, but that's one of those deals when you have to be able to sit down with a young kid and say, 'alright, when this happens, this will never happen again,' and he was always the first one to say, that. He would feel really bad about certain mistakes, but rarely made the same ones over and over again.”
Jacob's mindset to constantly improve has helped mold him into the player and leader he is today for the Lynx.
"In basketball, my teammates would say I am a hard worker and I like to play outside. In baseball, they would say I am the key player. I can step up there and get a hit when we need it, and make the big plays in the field. I was a leader last year in baseball, and it helped me in basketball this year to get everybody going. It is going to help me in the long run in sports and to always be that leader out there to be positive and to keep our heads up," says Adams.
Deckert adds that last year's seniors, Adam Bauer, Jacob Brudigan, Chase Marso, and Nick Winter, were extremely vital for Adams, and helped make Adams become a stronger player, and even bigger leader.
"Chase would be a great teacher, a guy that could talk to you and make you feel bad for making mistakes. Nate, when Jacob was playing bad, would go crazy and challenge Jacob physically. I think those things as kids get older, see one side, and the other side. If I had to to put my finger on one thing, I would probably say now, especially going into his last season in baseball, this is it for him and it's over. He realized how fast basketball went, and maybe doesn’t realize how fast baseball is going to go, but in literally in six weeks, it is going to be done and he is going to be out of here. So, it's one of those things I think to a point, what he is going to say needs to get said, and those are things that will really make his team better.”
In the 2013-2014 basketball season, Adams was one of seven other seniors (Nic Peterson, Ryan Sjoberg, Dominic Nealy, Devan West, Ryan Immeker, Derek Johnson, and Kevin Peterson) that played for the Lynx.
Jacob's mark on Brandon Valley has left a big imprint on both the basketball and baseball programs over his middle and high school years. His time will inspire future players leave a similar, lasting legacy.
"Jacob's mark will not be made on the year's past, but on what people have seen, how hard he has played, and what he has put into different athletics from time to time. Jacob was a part of 42 wins across three years, and two state tourmaments. To me, that's quite a big deal when it comes to success because now the next group is going to want to do that again. Those are the things that maybe Jacob can't put the words into to what he is trying to say to what he has left, but that's what they've left here. By him leaving, he is giving someone else a chance fill his spot and try to do the exact same thing he's done while he's here," tells Deckert.
From all the hard work Jacob has put in on the hardwood, or on the diamond, Deckert wants him to know that at Brandon Valley, there is always someone that is going to be there caring and encouraging you to succeed in life.
"Kids enjoy hearing from adults, coaches and I don't know if Jacob enjoyed hearing this or not. When they had a big football game or baseball game, and I had a chance to see it, and I thought they played well, I always tried to zip him a little note. It's not like a written note, but I think in today's times with kids, they appreciate a little bit of contact especially outside of what your sport is. I want kids to understand whether you keep playing basketball or not, that we are still interested and care about them, even though our relationships will change as they move on. I want them to understand how much we care and want them to succeed whether it's him going off to play baseball or to the next job. To me, there's always something that's next."
Adams has played football, basketball, and baseball while at Brandon Valley. When he's not playing sports, he loves to watch Michigan and the Minnesota Twins. His favorite player for the Twins is Joe Mauer. In the classroom, he enjoys studying history. Next season, he plans on playing baseball at Des Moines Area Community College after he wraps up senior season of baseball for the Lynx.
For comments or story ideas, email Sam at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.