By the time the 2010 basketball season started, Waverly's Jake Kretzer already was a blip on the radar screen for a lot of colleges.
By this summer, that blip has blown up.
Heading into his junior season last fall, Kretzer was approaching his 1,000th varsity point and was regarded as one of the big threats on the Tigers' offense.
A slow start by Waverly -- which didn't really get rolling until injuries ironed themselves out as the team headed into the tournament -- might have slowed things down for the soon-to-be senior, but it didn't stop a thing.
"When he started out as a freshman, he was pretty much just a spot-up 3 shooter," Waverly coach Travis Robertson said. "But he's matured. He plays a ton of basketball -- not just for us, but he goes everywhere, travels everywhere to play. And on his days off, he's working out.
"He's probably one of the best talents we've seen in this area in a long time."
A lot of people are buying into that idea. Kretzer is in the middle of the summer hoops season, where he just won an AAU state championship with All-Ohio Red, a team earning a reputation for being the summer home to some of the biggest-name players in the state. Jared Sullinger played there, as did Aaron Craft.
Kretzer has found a spot with the elite Columbus-based team and has etched his name near the top of several schools' recruiting lists.
"It's a crazy, exciting time right now," Kretzer said. "The travel and everything is great. To get to go around and see the things I've seen is amazing."
Milwaukee, L.A., a few trips to Florida and Texas -- that's life right now for the Waverly standout, who will head back to Orlando in a few weeks for the national tournament, which the Red lost last year in the final round.
"It's been a remarkable experience," said Jake's dad, Brad. "For Jake, he's been able to grow as an athlete, and as a person. We're hanging out with some of the best basketball players in the country, spending time with them and getting to know them. And, when you see Jake on the court, you can see he's doing things in high school that he's learned from competing against bigger and stronger players.
"For him, I know he's getting to be around some guys who are going to be lifelong friends. I think Jake would tell you that the team he's on is like brothers. This AAU team has a history of producing good players, and I know they want to continue that."
As Kretzer's basketball resume fills itself out through Waverly's success last season and the run he's on with All-Ohio Red, the offers from colleges are falling into place.
"That's kind of stressful," he said. "I've been to a couple of places, and I'm going to do some official visits this fall. My goal, since I was little, has always been to play Division I college basketball, and those offers are already on the table. That's nice to have. I know I want to make a decision by the official signing day, which is in early November, I think.
"I know I have a couple of offers right now, which are great, but I plan to see how the summer plays out, then make a couple of official visits and see how it goes."
It has built up into quite a buzz around somebody who has grown from a spot-up shooter to an all-around threat.
"As far as the time I've been in basketball in southern Ohio, he's one of the highest recruited kids I've ever seen," Robertson said. "There has been a lot of interest from schools in Ohio, and from some bigger schools around the country. The great thing about a kid like Jake or a kid like Danté (Jackson, a McClain graduate who played at Xavier University) is that it opens communication to colleges and coaches, and it gets kids from this area a lot of exposure. That's important to kids and to coaches. "With Jake, you put a kid on the floor who can create offense, but as he's grown up, he's done a good job of learning how to crash the glass. With his length, it makes him a threat."
Kretzer is being recruited for more than just his double-double average on the court last year. In the classroom, he's carrying a grade-point average of around 3.7 and is regularly on the radar for Ivy League schools. But all that's down the road. For now, it's a summer of trying to win a national title, of traveling around and just playing basketball.
"We had a shootout just the other day (in the scope of high school summer ball)," he said. "We lost to Chesapeake in the championship game on a last-second shot. That's a good way to start off the month of June for a high school team. We're looking to make a big run in the tournament when we get there. It should be a great year."
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Kretzer has had offers from James Madison, Albany (NY), Miami (OH), & Akron. Kretzer has unofficially visited Akron, Albany, Ball State, Boston College, & Miami to name a few. A number of coaches have visited Jake at Waverly representing schools such as Albany, William & Mary, Miami, Ball State, Bowling Green, Akron, Stanford, UNC Wilmington, Lehigh & Eastern Kentucky.
Kretzer regularly receives mail from the coaching staffs of universities throughought the country....Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, NC State, Kent State, Oklahoma State, Belmont, Florida State, DePaul, Cleveland State, Detroit, Stanford, Wright State, UNC Wilmington, Davidson, & numerous Ivy League schools lke LeHigh, Penn, & Yale to name a few.
Kretzer speaks to a number of coaches as often as once per month (according to NCAA Regulations).
Look for Kretzer to make official visits beginning in late August. And. expect a commitment by November 2011. By June 2012 Kretzer fully expects to be on campus taking college courses & working out with his team.