For years, Jake Layman suffered through a problem that rarely emerges in high school basketball: He was simply too tall.
In a bizarre reversal of the trends most teen hoopsters dream of, Layman was kept from playing the position he daydream about -- shooting guard -- by his prodigious height. As the tallest player in his age group throughout his youth, Layman was forced into the post, where he could rebound and provide put-backs with ease.
Yet that did little to cheer Layman, who simply wanted to shoot from the outside. Finally, as his height dropped down to only slightly abnormal levels, the 6-foot-8 player was giving a chance at guard by his middle school squad. That move set the stage for his emergence at King Philip (Mass.) Regional School, for whom he has starred across the past two seasons.
According to the Boston Globe, the decision to move to guard was the pivotal moment in the junior's evolution into one of the top prospects in the Bay State.
Suddenly able to do what he'd always envisioned, Layman enjoyed an AAU campaign to remember with the U-16 Boston Athletic Basketball Club, helping lead the program to a 56-1 record and an AAU national championship.
With versatility and a level of intuition in the post rarely found among traditional guards, Layman has become a court-wide threat for King Philip, which is expected to make a run deep into the MIAA state tournament on the back of the lanky shooter.
"He's so versatile it allows us to move players around like a chess game,'' King Philip coach Sean McInnis told the Globe. "At times he'll be in the post. At times he'll play some point guard. At times he'll play on the outside. Everything depends on the matchups and the game situations. Some games he'll be used in multiple roles, but Jake welcomes and embraces those times and he can thrive in those times.''
Regardless of results, the junior"I always wanted to play on the outside,'' said Layman, a junior at King Philip Regional in Wrentham. "But me being the tallest, my coaches always put me down low.''the junior is enjoying the chance to do what he always wanted to, happy to take King Philip as far as he can in the process.
"I always wanted to play on the outside,'' Layman told the Globe. "But me being the tallest, my coaches always put me down low.''