Driscoll Dominates on Defense as Power Forward for Valley Hoops
Throughout his athletic career, Jack Driscoll has truly only loved the sport of basketball. Looking more at that love, Jack jumps at the side of the ball that may not get all the glory on the floor in locking down and playing diligent defense.
The Valley Regional boys’ basketball team junior and power forward started his hoops journey back in fourth grade. He had tried other venues, such as baseball and football along the way, but he realized they were not for him. Jack, who also runs track for the Warriors to stay in shape for the floor, helped Valley vault back from a 1-5 start this winter and return to the Shoreline Conference and Division IV State Tournaments after a 10-10 regular season, as Jack began the campaign on the JV squad before starting for the Warriors during the final quarter of the slate.
“I was always pretty good at basketball, and my parents told me to stick with it. Now, I feel I am really athletic, can jump, and play defense,” says Jack. “The biggest thing I do is that I keep playing basketball with my friends. I play almost every day, and we try to play wherever we can find a court. We all lift weights together, too, which has helped me and kept me ready for this past season.”
When it comes to defending for the Warriors in their front court, Jack aims to grab that pivotal play or turnover that can start the outlet to offensive sparks down the other end. He additionally loves posting up against some of his fellow bigs in the Shoreline while taking some laborious licks.
“My favorite part of playing power forward is just playing defense,” Jack says. “Most people do not like it, but I do. I love blocking a shot or getting a steal. I also love playing against the bigger guys. It is a big, physical job; I can catch a lot of elbows and fouls that aren’t called. I do get beaten up out there, but I always run back to the other end of the court.”
As he notes he has the length, height, flight, and swiftness, Jack details that taking on some tall tasks has aided his defensive prowess–plus having some ideal teammates to emulate does not hurt either when it comes to growing his repertoire.
“I have improved physically, and I can run fast and jump high,” says Jack. “My defense has gotten better, and guarding people bigger than me has helped me there a lot with regards to my defense. I try to move more like some of the offensive-minded guys on the team to try and score points.”
Jack himself admits that his point-producing game might need some additional work, though, he is certainly on the right track by adhering to the fundamentals of the sport by tallying buckets after gobbling up boards off of the glass.
“I think that I work better under pressure than I used to,” Jack says. “I have been trying to shoot the ball more in the gym and during practices. I do get a lot of offensive rebounds, which is where most of my points come from. I also try to get the guards to throw me the ball underneath for quick baskets.”
Warriors’ boys’ hoops Head Coach Kevin Woods recalls that it was Jack’s performance in a clutch reserve spot against Old Lyme that really propelled him to the next level.
“Jack started the season as a JV player. He worked incredibly hard on a daily basis to earn more time at the varsity level,” says Woods. “The game where he really stood out early on was against Old Lyme. Sam Hutchinson was in serious foul trouble, and we were playing a huge team. Jack came off the bench and physically dominated the boards against kids who were half a foot taller than him. He plays with so much heart it was impossible to keep him off the floor. He ended up starting for us the last quarter of the season and propelled us to some really huge wins down the stretch. He is the toughest kid we have rebounding, getting on the floor, making the hustle play, or making the extra pass. Having him back next year will be nice, and we will be asking the same of him, except he will definitely be more of a focal point of our offense.”
The Warriors’ slow start out of the gates this winter may have come from a corner of complacency. Still, the team worked hard and together while rediscovering the efforts it took to build a perennial postseason club that will look to continue to build success entering Jack’s final foray.
“At first, we were thinking everything would come easier than it ended up,” says Jack. “We started to do more work, dig in and talked with the coaches about what they wanted to see going forward. The captains stepped up and showed leadership. I want to keep playing basketball and enjoy it through my senior year. I want to graduate, keep moving, and play basketball.”