Every sport is competitive, but basketball takes to another level with AAU tournaments, etc. Some of these young players go on to play high school, and a select few get an offer to play Division 1 basketball. According to a recent study, seven percent of male high school athletes have less than a two percent chance of making it on a college Division 1 roster.
For basketball, the numbers are less in an athlete’s favor as it is 0.9 percent, and if you convert that to an odds perspective that is 116/1. Playing in the high school ranks, male or female, players only have a 0.02 percent to 0.03 percent chance of making it to the NBA or WNBA.
So, let’s take a look at how this athlete started from the bottom and rose to the top. The meteoric rise of Jason Preston from the high school bench to the NBA.
Who is Jason Preston
Jason Preston was a high school basketball player who loved the game of basketball but did not seem to have even the slightest chance to make it to the league. Preston went through a lot in high school as he lost his mother due to lung cancer. However, her support over the years was the biggest driver of where he is today.
In high school, Preston’s numbers weren’t popping off the page like some players who went on to play Division 1 basketball. Despite his aspirations to play at the collegiate level, he rode the bench in high school and averaged only two points per game when he got the chance to play. For a majority of hoopers, college basketball at any level, D1 to D3, would be a dream as most would believe that some things weren’t meant to be.
By the end of high school, he stood six feet tall and weighed 140 pounds. During the summer, he started college classes as a regular student so he could compete in local tournaments during his free time. He caught the attention of a few college scouts that recommended a year of prep school and enrolled in Believe Prep Academy in Athens, Tennessee.
There he joined the C-level team, which offered the most playing time. He also grew four more inches which allowed him to take his game up a notch. He still wasn’t getting a single D1 offer until he made his own highlight video showcasing his talents as a last resort. To his surprise, he received an offer from the Ohio University Bobcats.
The Rise of Jason Preston
When you look at the Mid- American Conference, the competition cannot be compared to some of the powerhouse conferences like the ACC, the Big East, the SEC, and a few others. However, in three years at Ohio, he had a few accolades on his resume. He was named All-Mac Freshman, 2021 All-MAC Tourney, MAC Tourney MVP, and 2x All-MAC.
He seemingly improved every single year and showcased that he was a strong all-around player. He had a lot of great moments at his time in Ohio, but he dropped 31 points on the Illinois Fighting Illini that was ranked eighth at the time. Performances like this definitely helped boost one’s draft stock as Illinois was eventually a one seed in the Tournament.
His relentless pursuit of one day playing to the NBA paid off as he was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 33rd overall in this year’s draft which was later traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. In the Summer League, he put together a few great performances, but what impressed me the most was his great vision on the court.
He will have to make some improvements and adjustments along the way. However, his path to the league and story is certainly an inspiring one, to say the least. He will be joining a team that is a strong championship contender surrounded by two All-Stars Kwahi Leonard and Paul George.
With playmaker Rajon Rondo no longer on the team due to a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, along with Patrick Beverley, and Daniel Oturu to acquire Eric Bledsoe. Preston may be able to get solid minutes off the bench.