He’s won two state championships, earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Arizona, and secured a roster spot on Team USA for the Nike Hoops Summit in April.
What’s left for Rondae Jefferson to accomplish during his senior year at Chester (Pa.) High School?
“I want to make my teammates better,” Jefferson says. “That’s what I take pride in first.”
Perhaps that’s not what you’d expect to hear from a guy who’s ranked among the top 20 basketball players in the class of 2013. But then, Jefferson isn’t your typical blue-chip recruit.
“Rondae is getting all the attention and exposure this year, but he’s always talking up his teammates and trying to get them recognized,” says Chester head coach Larry Yarbray. “He tells his teammates that without them, there is no Rondae.”
Without Jefferson, however, the Chester Clippers might not have the opportunity to make history this season by winning an unprecedented third consecutive Pennsylvania Class AAAA state title. The first one came during Jefferson’s sophomore year, when he made the varsity team after missing most of his freshman season due to injury.
“I played a big role on that team,” Jefferson says. “I did everything and anything coach wanted me to do.”
The do-everything forward says he “filled up the stat sheet” his junior year, averaging 12.9 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots to lead the Clippers to their second straight state title. Jefferson’s numbers are a testament to his team-first mentality, Coach Yarbray says.
“He’s the type of guy that could average 20 points a night, easily,” Yarbray says. “But he knows how to get his teammates involved and knows they’re good players, so he puts them in position to be effective.”
Jefferson would like to improve a little on the offensive end of the court. He says, “A lot of people say I can’t shoot the jumper. I want to prove them wrong.” But he is a dominating force on the defensive end of the court. His ability to thwart opponents’ scoring attempts is one reason why Jefferson is the most hyped Chester player since Orlando Magic PG Jameer Nelson, who graduated in 2000, and why he was selected for the Nike Hoops Summit, where he and other top high school players will take on the best amateur players from around the world.
While state championships and national recognition are all good, the future looks even more promising. “I don’t think the best has yet come,” Jefferson says. “I’m just waiting patiently.”