The Canby star basketball player received three scholarship offers after fluorishing for I-5 Elite.
At the beginning of the summer, Canby senior Jace Cates goal of playing college basketball was not guaranteed to come to fruition. He hadnt received any college scholarship offers and knew he needed to find a way to impress college coaches. However, he also knew he would get the opportunity to turn heads at a slew of tournaments while playing for the Amateur Athletic Union I-5 Elite squad.
And after proving his worth time and time again throughout the spring and summer months, Cates earned not just attention from coaches, but coveted scholarship offers.
Its been a big summer for me. Ive had a lot of opportunity to play in front of coaches and I played well enough to earn a couple scholarships and interest from other schools, Cates said.
Cates has received offers from Western Oregon University, Concordia University and Vanguard University.
Hes also received interest from University of Montana, Idaho State University, Montana State, Cal Poly, Seattle Pacific, West Point and Humboldt State.
Cates began his crusade at the Sacramento Live tournament in April. At the end of the tournament, I-5 Elite came out on top and received a shout out from I-5 Elite alumnus and former Oregon basektball player Mike Moser on Twitter.
Then at the Double Pump Tournament in Sacramento, not only did I-5 Elite capture the tournament title, but Cates scored 31 combined points in the semifinals and finals to help lead his squad.
At the Rose City Showcase in June, I-5 Elite didnt win the title, but Cates was named to the all-tournament team.
Later in Washington, Cates went ballistic at the NW Premier Summer Showcase. In helping I-5 Elite capture another tournament title, Cates nailed an astounding 44 three-pointers in seven games including nine in the semifinals and eight in the championship game.
At the Northwest Premier tournament, I kind of showed them I can be consistent, Cates said. He added: I have to credit everyone on the team. They got me open looks and got me in the right position.
But it wasnt until just after the Las Vegas Classic, a high level tournament with teams from all over the world competing in late July, that the offers started piling.
In a matter of hours on July 31, both Western Oregon and Concordia University announced they were offering Cates a scholarship.
I was extremely excited and happy. I was thankful that I had colleges willing to pay for my school due to my athletic ability, Cates said.
But earning a scholarship wasnt just about realizing his dream. He also wanted to help his parents pay for college education.
I was also happy I could take some weight of my parents back by being able to pay for my own schooling, he said.
Scouts who watched Cates said they were impressed with more than just his three-point shot.
The schools said they really liked my attitude on the court and that I didnt let other players or plays affect me. That was pretty consistent, Cates said. He added: They also liked how hard I play, that I dive for loose balls and pick up kids full court. They like that I was fearless.
Cates is currently mulling over options and waiting to see if more offers arrive at his doorstep. He hopes to sign a letter of intent before the early signing deadline in October, but is still somewhat dumbfounded by how much has changed in just a few months.
Its crazy how quick everything has happened. Im really hoping to make a decision in October, but if I need more time, I could wait until a later signing date, he said.
For now, Cates is working hard to manufacture lifelong memories on the football field and the basketball court in his senior year as a Cougar. Along with being the best player on the basketball team, Cates is one of the best players on the football team, where he stars at running back and outside linebacker.
Cates says a state title in each sport is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Im really excited to play football and basketball and make it a great year, he said.
And Cates makes sure his jumper remains airtight, despite his commitment to the football team.
After daily doubles are finished, he heads to the gym to work on his hooping skills.
Though the aerobic training never stops, Cates can breathe easier now that the scholarship monkey is off his back.
Its definitely a relief but its not going to change my approach. Im looking to get better everyday, Cates said.
He added: Im happy I can continue to finish senior year without worrying about if Im going to play college basketball.