May 25, 2011

Webster earning the spotlight

Kevin McCarthy

Martell Webster looked like he would nab one of those abbreviated nicknames after being the sixth pick in the 2005 NBA draft. Matters haven’t worked out that way so such an appellation remains available. It’s mighty early considering he just completed his sophomore season but St. Patrick/St. Vincent and Lakeshow player Jason Webster is busting out this spring so maybe something like “aka JWeb” just might be on his horizon.

photo of Jason Webster

The 6-foot-1 Webster has already been invited to attend elite skills camps at Cal, UC Riverside, Washington State, UNLV and Portland -- such is the degree of promise he is demonstrating.

As for his recently completed high school season in which the Bruins finished 26-9, 9-3, Webster said, "we had a really good season." With Robbie Herndon and Eli Woodford, it was a matter of him playing third, sometimes second fiddle to the seniors but Webster still averaged 9.6 points and four rebounds a game.

But it’s been this spring where the junior-to-be has broken out.

Let’s have Lakeshow Coach Joe Fuca address Webster’s stepping into the limelight: "JP is a explosive threat on the court. What do I mean by explosive? He is the type of player that can get one step on his defender and make them look foolish as he rises up and dunks on them in a half court set. He averaged over 15 points and 10 rebounds in his three games at the Double Pump tourney in Vegas two weeks ago. JP is really gaining momentum right now with his offensive skills. His ability to score on the break and rise up and shoot the mid-range jumper is really improving his game. JP has been one of our best lock down defenders when we play extremely talented teams like the Soldiers Silver team and he really stood out in that game when his Lakeshow team lost in double overtime by one point."

Asked about his most proficient skills, Webster offered, "I’m a pretty good scorer, I can get to the basket, throw some dimes and I love to dunk." He has flushed four and counting so far this Lakeshow season.

Here’s St. Patrick St. Vincent Coach Derek Walker on his to be upperclassman: "JP has a strong desire to make himself the best basketball player he can be. He works hard in the classroom and the weight room as well as on the court. He played the four a lot for us last year but he is a natural two or three. He can score from all three levels -- paint, mid-range, treys -- and he stays in attack mode. He has improved defensively. JP is a good athlete. with good hops and a strong body. I’m losing three starters so he will have to step up in all areas next year and I’m confident he will."

Longtime Bay Area basketball figure Carl Foster offered this: "Jason Webster is a “throwback player” from the mold of guard from the 70s generation. He is a guard in the truest sense as he can handle the ball effectively, shoot it from mid-range or deep, attack the rim, and he defends either guard position. Jason possesses a unique blend of size, athleticism, toughness, aggressiveness, and finesse and that makes a guard dangerous in both the open court and half court situations. If he continues to grow, he’ll be an excellent combination guard at the mid-major college level as his tremendous amount of upper body strength is that of a collegiate player. Jason will also serve as a leader which is a quality that isn’t seen much today because most players try to just “fit in.” But true leaders aren’t afraid to challenge other players to compete at a higher level of intensity. I expect him to be recruited aggressively by most schools in the Big Sky, WCC, Big West, Mountain West, and a number of schools in other conferences."

Basketball seems close to a Webster family genetic predisposition -- "I grew up with it my whole life. I was at the sports center all the time with my father playing plus every family event always included a 3-on-3 tournament," per Webster. His father played college ball at The Master’s College in southern California, earning All-American status in two of his seasons.

It’s a hoops passion the younger Webster feels, best described when he put it this way: "it’s great feeling before the game to put the jersey on, hear the music and run through the door to the court."

But academics are on a par with hoops in the Webster family and he has met that challenge: "I currently have a 3.0 grade point average."

A matter of intrigue is just where Webster will top out on the height chart. "I’m praying for a growth spurt," he said, adding that his father is 6-foot-4 and a few male relatives measure out at 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-6 plus more than one female kin is over 6-feet tall.

Even though he has just completed his underclass days in high school, a query about the best moment in his young career produced "beating Vallejo in overtime after being down 21 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter." He added, "I grew up in Vallejo and I’m still friends with the guys there but not on the court."

Regarding his court evolution -- the seeing the game a split second before it happens element -- Webster already notices this transition. "The game is slowing down for me and I have a better basketball IQ and I’m more confident."

As of January of this year, Webster was #21 in the 2013 prospect rankings. Look for a definite placement change to occur before the next listings are issued.