Jayden DeJoseph’s high school basketball career is winding down, and if he had his way it wouldn’t end until Feb. 24.
That would mean making a second consecutive trip to the 4A state playoffs, and nothing would make the 6-foot-4 Carson High senior happier.
“It seems like time has just flown by,” DeJoseph before Monday’s practice in preparation for today’s (7 p.m.) playoff game against the Reno Huskies at Reno High. “I didn’t expect my senior year to go so quickly. I’m excited for the playoffs.
“Winning zone (and getting to state) is something I’ll remember forever. One thing I’d like to accomplish is to get back to the zone finals again. That would be awesome. My sophomore year, I think Galena was better. They had Zach Lessinger and one of the Wood brothers ... they just overpowered us.”
Carson’s road to a region title is an extremely tough one. After Reno, it’s most likely Galena, and then in all likelihood it’s undefeated Spanish Springs. The Cougars followed in Carson’s footsteps and swept through the league season undefeated.
DeJoseph, who averages 16.5 a game, has been a big cog in the Senators’ offense along with Tez Allen. The two have played together for years, and they both have been three-year stars on the CHS varsity squad.
While Allen has terrorized opponents with his ability to get to the basket off the bounce, DeJoseph has used his long-range skills to beat teams. He can throw down a 25-footer better than some players shoot a 15-footer, and opposing defenses always have to account for where he is.
His shooting ability is the result of countless hours in the gym, especially in the off-season.
“The summer of my sophomore year, I got a lot of shots up,” DeJoseph said. “Tez and I went to the gym everyday, and we took a lot of shots. Getting shots up is the big thing. I think I would spend 2 to 4 hours a day in there.”
And, the ability to do that helps open up things for his teammates, according to CHS coach Carlos Mendeguia. And, he’s one of the best in the last 12 to 15 years.
“Anytime you can shoot like Jayden, it allows you to do things differently offensively,” Mendeguia said. “He is a zone buster. When he gets hot and teams don’t double-team him, he’s a threat. That’s a credit to him, he’s put a lot of time into that part of his game. He’s been on varsity for three years, and he knows what it takes to be a good player.
“He is in the top 5 for sure. Rafe (King), Ryan Buttner, Brian Barnes and Jayden. There are a couple of other guys, but I can’t think of who right off the top of my head.”
If there is any sort of knock on DeJoseph is that he could be even more dangerous if he was more dominant on the inside. He can score, but he prefers to play on the perimeter. He feels more at home there.
“Rafe (King) fought us tooth and nail about that (playing inside),” Mendeguia said. “In Rafe’s junior year in college, he told me that the coach pulled him into the office that if he wants to get more minutes, he needs to develop an inside-outside game.
“It is easier to sit out on the perimeter and shoot. Down low it gets really physical. Most shooters have that mentality.”
Carson has a bunch of players really playing out of position because of transfers, injuries and other issues.
“Unfortunately, we need Jayden to do a little bit of everything,” Mendeguia said. “In college, he may only be needed to shoot from the perimeter. Jayden know what he needs to do; what’s expected of him.”
DeJoseph has had a major impact in the past three years. He has played in countless big games. He remembers big games against Bishop Manogue and Galena, Carson’s two biggest Sierra League rivals. The Senators have done well against both teams, and a lot of that success has come because of DeJoseph’s scoring.
DeJoseph’s goal has always been to play college basketball. It’s the biggest reason why he stopped playing baseball when he got to high school. It has been basketball 24-7, and the hard work has paid off.
The CHS senior has an offer from NAIA William Jessup, a small Christian school in Rocklin, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento. He also may be joined by Allen. The two have played together forever.
“We’ve thought about that,” DeJoseph said. “We are going to make decisions that are best for us (individually).”
Both DeJoseph and Allen are going to be playing some club ball for a team in Vegas, and it gives both a chance to be seen by other schools.
“I think he’ll definitely be a 2 in college,” Mendeguia said. “If he grows he could be a 2-3. I think 2 (shooting guard) is the best spot for him.”
“I think I would play a 2 or 3,” DeJoseph said. “The big guys at that level are usually 6-8 or 6-9.”
DeJoseph knows that the jump won’t be an easy one, but if you know DeJoseph he’ll put the needed work in this spring and summer.
“I’d like to get quicker on defense, improve my vertical and improve my shot,” DeJoseph said.