Twitter & Instagram: @itsashlock

 

Quite often, I plan to arrange features on high school players whom I feel are on the verge of breaking out on the scene. I like to deem these specific features as 'Springboard Spotlights.' The title stems from the notion of the athlete(s) preparing to jump off of the springboard into their own spotlight on a team. The first athlete featured in the 'Springboard Spotlight' series is Jarius Ashlock '19.

Some players receive recognition for their individual skills. Some are recognized for their winning success. Ashlock has a resume with achievements in both categories. Known as an above-average scorer, Ashlock constantly keeps defenders on their heels with his ability to shoot the 3-ball effortlessly and also attack the basket when the opportunity presents itself. He also has a knack for getting second-chance points, mainly offensive tip-ins, while possessing quick hands and sneaky athleticism. The 6'2 guard recently completed his junior season at John Marshall High School (JM) in Richmond, VA as a first-year member. Even with his offensive reputation, Ashlock did not hesitate to acknowledge his arrival on the JM team wasn't a breeze.

'It actually took some time in the transition,' he explained. 'Playing with different and highly skilled guys, especially. It definitely took some time.'

With his own attempts in adapting as a player, Ashlock also admitted that the team's progression as a whole took time as well. This may come off as a surprise to most, as high school basketball followers in the Richmond area most likely took note of JM's success this past season.

'Everything wasn't perfect right from the start in regards to where we wanted to be. But, as the season went on, it got better, without question. We started to come together and play even more as a team.'

The results more than satisfied. JM went on to win the state championship in Class 3A at the conclusion of the 2018 season. Even months later, Ashlock still seems to be at a loss for words.

'Man, that feeling was' unexplainable. Best feeling ever. It's mainly because we know that we had to go so far to get that job done. That was our mission from day one, actually. We got it done.'

Many people most likely recognized Ashlock's efforts as a big key to the Justices taking home the crown. His shooting ability was on full display, as he chipped in 13 points in the title game. While it's not unusual to see some players go through great nerves on the biggest stage, Ashlock simply embraced it.

'It's kind of funny because I never felt any real concern. I was prepared for it and had been anticipating for three years ever since entering high school. I just had that feeling that this was our year.'

Following the high school season, it wasn't long before Ashlock's head coach, Ty White, pointed him in the direction to join the Team Loaded AAU organization for summer ball; White serves as the President for the organization. As a first-year member, Ashlock quickly recognized the significance of the renowned Adidas sponsored flagship program.

'Playing for Loaded was different. Way better competition, for sure' some of the best I've ever faced, personally. Regardless, it was all beneficial for my team and I's future.'

As the summer comes close to a conclusion, Ashlock still remains left without any scholarship offers. He currently holds interest from a few mid-majors. In early August, I saw him drop an easy 32 points in an all-star game while leading his team to the win and taking home MVP honors. His undeniable skill set and championship pedigree begs the question: Why is the rising senior guard still fairly overlooked'

'Honestly' I don't have an answer to that one,' he hesitated. 'I never make any excuses. I just feel that I have to go out there and prove to coaches that I can be a right fit in their system.'

Some of the best players are the ones who remain humble. Ashlock knows there is still work to be done.

'Moving forward, I want to show coaches that I'm a versatile scorer, not just a shooter. I also want to them to notice how I can be effective on both sides of the floor during the whole game. Versatility on both ends really.'

As for JM, the team will be without its young star Isaiah Todd this upcoming season. Todd, who's consistently ranked as one of the top prospects in the 2020 class, recently transferred to Trinity Academy in Raleigh, N.C. Nonetheless, Ashlock stands firm on his senior season goals.

'Last year, our goal was to win a state championship and that won't change for this season either. That's always the goal. We're going to make sure everybody steps up. It'll take a team effort.'

As for himself, Ashlock has a few objectives of his own.

'I want to be one of the leading scorers on the team while making all-conference and all-state selections.'

Under Ashlock's focus and leadership by example, don't be surprised to see JM making another deep run in the 2019 state playoffs. After his prep career is finished, where does the young guard see himself down the road in ten years'

'Hopefully still playing the game I love. However, if that doesn't work out, I could end up going to the Air Force.'

 

 

Take notice of the young champion, 804!

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