SUFFOLK (WAVY) – Only a sophomore, Jayden Epps has been raising plenty of eyebrows around the nation.
A threat to score from anywhere on the court, the King’s Fork High School guard is a shooting machine who dropped 32 points against Oscar Smith last week, and a school-record 46 points against Nansemond River earlier in the year.
“I love scoring the ball,” said Epps, who has offers to Florida, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and many more. “I love getting my teammates involved, making other people better, and my will to want to win; I always want to win. I do whatever it takes to win.”
That will is put on display every single day in practice.
“He just has that ‘it’ factor,” said King’s Fork head coach Rick Hite. “The guy that just refuses to lose, even in practice. Every drill he wants to beat you, and that’s an intangible that many guys don’t have.”
Hite would know. He coached Petersburg to the state championship game, when Frank Mason III was recognized as the best player in America. Mason went on to Kansas and has since played for a number of NBA teams.
Hite was also an assistant football coach at Collegiate School in Richmond, where Russell Wilson played quarterback. Hite thinks he has another star in Epps.
“I think he’s an incredible leader. I think he’s a pro,” said Hite.
With seemingly unlimited range, Epps models his game after another sharp-shooter; Damien Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. “Damien Lillard’s ability to create his own shot is phenomenal,” said Epps.
“I look at Damien Lillard moves all the time, and I just try to model my game after his moves; the way he moves, the way he get his shot and the way he gets his teammates involved also.”
So far, Epps has the Bulldogs (15-1) rolling. They haven’t won a state championship in 12 years, but have made the finals on a few occassions.
Epps wants to change that.