The phrases — like “P-O-Y” and “Dream Chaser” — drift through Stephan Jiggetts’ mind before games, during second-half timeouts or really anytime he has a moment to think.
Reminders about what he’s doing? No — broader ideas than that.
“What I want to do,” he said.
Jiggetts, a rising senior at Bishop McNamara who averaged 15.8 points per game last season, is focused on his future to motivate his present. He wants to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year award and chase his NBA dream, and he wants a college scholarship, but not just any one.
“I want to go to a high-major D-I school,” said Jiggetts said, who holds offers from Mount St. Mary’s and interest from East Carolina, Siena, North Florida, Illinois, George Mason, Lafayette, Yale and DePaul.
The 6-foot-2 Jiggetts had played shooting guard growing up, but to impress college coaches, he’s transitioning into a combo-guard role. He adeptly uses pick-and-rolls to create space for his steady outside jumper, create driving lanes or openings to pass to a big man, but Jiggetts doesn’t have the speed or leaping ability of a high-end point guard prospect.
Since a coaching friend of Jiggetts’ father shared that evaluation, Jiggetts began seeing a personal trainer twice per week to improve his athleticism.
And after playing for his dad’s AAU team, the Ruff Riders, since he was 9, Jiggetts joined Team Takeover’s 17-and-under Orange team this summer to increase his exposure. Jiggetts also is playing for the Ruff Riders, but during live periods of recruiting, he goes to tournaments with Team Takeover.
“I had no idea that it’s so political, and it’s really political,” said Steve Jiggetts, Stephan’s father. “I was convinced that McNamara and the Ruff Riders would be enough, because I’m from the old school. I believe that, if you can play, they’re going to find you.”
Playing in events the Ruff Riders never could have entered, Jiggetts is making his mark.
“If Takeover is playing, scouts are watching that game,” Steve said. “If Ruff Riders are playing, they may or may not be watching that game.”
And that’s particularly important for a cerebral player like Jiggetts, whose skills can be better appreciated over time.
“What he doesn’t have with his athleticism or his quickness, he makes up for it as far as the mental part of the game,” said Morello Vest, Jiggetts’ Team Takeover coach. “He’s one of the smartest kids I’ve coached in a long time.
“Most schools that do their homework, they’ll see what type of player he is.”
Though he’s aiming even higher than the All-WCAC First Team this season, that was his goal last year, and the fact that he fell short by making the second team still floats through his mind like his ambitions.
“I’m not going to get down on myself about it,” Jiggetts said. “I’m actually just working to get it.”
Get what exactly?“He wants to get,” Steve said, “the just due he deserves.”