After leading the Pickerington High School Central boys basketball team to its second consecutive Division I district title, Jae'Sean Tate understood how his role had changed within 12 months.
"Last year, I was the little brother looking up to the older guys. I was paying my dues," he said of the Tigers' run to the 2012 state championship. "This year, we have two freshmen (forward Jalen Tate and guard D.J. Tyree) starting. It's quite a bit different."
Tate, a 6-foot-5 junior forward who has committed to Ohio State, averaged 21.9 points and 12 rebounds this season, as Central went 19-8, shared the OCC-Ohio Division title and lost to league-rival Gahanna 53-50 in a regional semifinal March 14. He made first-team all-league and first-team all-district and has been named ThisWeek Super 12 captain.
Tate was particularly formidable the final seven weeks. Starting with a 60-59 win at Reynoldsburg on Jan. 25 in which he scored the winning layup in the final second of overtime, he averaged 27.2 points in a 14-game stretch. In the postseason matchup against Gahanna, Tate had 31 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks.
"He's real aggressive. He goes after every rebound and just plays hard," said Gahanna junior forward Javon Bess, a teammate of Tate's the past two seasons at Central who guarded him in much of their matchups this season.
As a sophomore, Tate was a starter and averaged 12 points but usually was the Tigers' second scoring option behind 2012 graduate Caris LeVert, who was the Super 12 captain and now plays for Michigan.
Tate surpassed 1,000 career points Feb. 15 and finished the season with 1,137.
"His rewards are far beyond Pickerington basketball," Central coach Jerry Francis said. "His responsibility used to be just 'see ball, get ball.' Now he has so many more responsibilities to find the open man, make the easy play, handle pressure, communicate, be a leader and finish around the basket. He's done a great job with all of those things. He's made himself a complete player."
OTHER FIRST-TEAM SELECTIONS – Dublin Scioto’s Josh Ashwill (Sr., G), Gahanna’s Javon Bess (Jr., F), Brookhaven’s Randal Clarkson (Sr., G), Reynoldsburg’s Wendell Davis (Sr., F), Westerville North’s Jack Gibbs (Sr., G), Watterson’s Bryan Jackson (Sr., F), New Albany’s Jalen Rhea (Sr., G), Newark Catholic’s Jett Speelman (Sr., G/F), Northland’s Armani Towns (Sr., F), Upper Arlington’s Kevin Vannatta (Jr., G), Delaware’s Mike Wells (Sr., G).
HONORABLE MENTION – Columbus Academy’s Daniel Aronowitz (Sr., F), Westerville South’s Marcus Ball (Sr., G/F ), Grove City’s Brandon Bapst (Sr., G), Olentangy’s Seth Clark (Sr., G), Newark’s Jordan Dartis (So., G), Olentangy Orange’s Nick Deitsch (Sr., G), Eastmoor Academy’s John Draper (Jr., G), Columbus West’s Charles Holland (Jr., G), Marion-Franklin’s Marquiez Lawrence (Sr., F), Licking Heights’ Babe Murphy (Jr., F), Beechcroft’s Patrick Ngene-Igwe (Sr., G), Centennial’s Elias Osborne (Sr., G), Olentangy Liberty’s Alex Radkiewicz (Sr., F), Africentric’s Kenny Robinson (Sr., F), Westland’s J.J. Smith (Sr., F).
PAST CAPTAINS – Pickerington Central’s Caris LeVert (2012), Northland’s Trey Burke (2011), Northland’s Jared Sullinger (2009-10), Canal Winchester’s B.J. Mullens (2008), Eastmoor Academy’s Ron Steward (2007), Reynoldsburg’s Javonte Clanton (2006), Brookhaven’s Jamelle Cornley (2004-05), Brookhaven’s Andrew Lavender (2003), Dublin Coffman’s Chris Quinn (2002), Thomas Worthington’s J.J. Sullinger (2001), Worthington Christian’s Sam Smith (2000), Columbus West’s Isaac Jefferson (1999), Brookhaven’s Antwain Lavender (1998), Westland’s Doug Davis (1996-97) and Westerville North’s Shaun Stonerook (1995).