High School Basketball

Bound for HBU, Taylor’s Arnold ready for senior season

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 10/26/20

Here’s a perfect example of Jake Arnold’s work ethic: during a six-week period between late August and early September, the Taylor High senior guard made 20,000 shots from the collegiate 3-point line.

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High School Basketball

Bound for HBU, Taylor’s Arnold ready for senior season

Posted

Here’s a perfect example of Jake Arnold’s work ethic: during a six-week period between late August and early September, the Taylor High senior guard made 20,000 shots from the collegiate 3-point line.

Made. Not attempted.

Arnold had AAU practices and games to play and attended summer camps as well. He still made sure to find the time to get in more shooting work. On the day he reached 20,000 makes, Arnold made 851 of 1,200 shots.

“My parents always told me where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Arnold said. “I credit (work ethic) as one of the best characteristics of my game, and it started when I was younger. Also, Austin (a sophomore guard at the University of St. Thomas), my other brother, watching him and his friends, I had to work harder just to compete with someone two years older.”

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Arnold’s breakout junior season last year, when he averaged 24 points and five assists and finished in the top six in scoring in the Houston area, opened eyes. His shooting ability got him on the recruiting radar. His playmaking ability and improvement as a team and individual defender earned looks from NCAA Division I programs, and on Oct. 16 he verbally committed to play at Houston Baptist University.

Arnold drew the Huskies’ attention in June. During an impressive AAU season playing for Texas Takeover Elite, he showed a desire to defend multiple positions. He also showed growth as a playmaker, creating shots for others and making teammates better.

In HBU coach Ron Cottrell’s four-guard system, Arnold is an ideal fit. With the help and insight of Taylor assistant coach Brian Nutt, a former manager with the Huskies’ program, Arnold felt comfortable with HBU.

“I really felt good about them and everything they had to offer,” said Arnold, who plans to major in business management and minor in finance. “I wanted to secure that. It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders and now I can just focus on the season.”

Arnold talked more with the Katy Times about HBU, his game and what lies ahead for him and the Mustangs this season.

Q: What was it about HBU that sold them on you?
A: “The academics are very good at the school. I believe I have a good relationship with the coaches. It’s in Houston. I have a very involved family that’s always at my games and at my events, no matter what. I think it’s a combination of all that, and I think it’ll be a great fit on the basketball court with the way they play. They’re a team that plays uptempo and values skill.”

Q: What are your expectations going into your senior year, and what do you want to work on or show before you get to college next year?

A: “I think our team has a chance to do something really special this year, as far as winning district. That is the ultimate No. 1 goal. Whatever I have to do to get to that, I’m willing to do it. As far as skill, I’ve put a focus on setting up my teammates more. Since we have really good returning players and (senior wing) Anthony Pelzer transferred, I feel like I can give them the ball and they can utilize their mismatches. If I draw a double-team, I can kick it out and we have shooters on the team like (senior wing) Caleb Hart and (senior guard) Luke (St. Julien). Hopefully I can show my overall game, and what I want to be a huge improvement over last year is my team defense and on-ball pressure.”

Q: How did last season shape you going into this season? Teams will have had a year to study your game and game-plan their defenses, and you won’t sneak up on anybody now that you’re a top player in the city.

A: “I think as this season goes on, I’ll kind of learn as I go. Last year, I saw a lot of box-and-one (defenses) and we worked on that a lot, as far as knowing what to do and how to keep everybody involved. Running an offense at our pace. This year, I think the experience of our guys will be key. Luke is one of the smartest basketball players in the district and he’s only better. Anthony does all the dirty work and can shoot. When you mesh all of us together, this is a tougher team.”

Q: You’ve gone from your sophomore year, when you were a reserve off the bench, to last year, when you had a tremendous season, and now, you’re a Division I commit. The fast rise for you since your sophomore year, is it what you expected or have you surpassed your own expectations?

A: “I always knew what I was capable of. It was always a matter of if I’d get to show that. My sophomore year, I played behind my brother and two other college players at my position. I just rode it out. I’m not someone who’s going to pick up and just transfer if things get tough. As far as it being a surprise, I wouldn’t say so. I knew all the work I was putting in. I like to move in silence. I don’t talk. I just do it.”

Q: In an era of player movement, even at the high school level, how important was it to you to stay and accomplish your goals at Taylor, and even the summer goals with the same AAU program?

A: “Loyalty is a big attribute that not everybody has. My family, me, my brother … we all have that. They are great examples of being loyal. These coaches that invested in me when I was younger, or didn’t have as big of a name … I rock with them. Coach Brayton and his staff at Taylor. Coach Pete, Coach Kemp, Coach Fobb, Coach Nutt, Coach Thompson. I played with Coach Jason for five years in AAU and he never asked for any credit. He just wanted me to get better. Coach Pete and Coach Kemp kind of took those reins my sophomore year of AAU and helped keep pushing my name. This year, Coach Kemp, Coach Fobb and Coach Nutt were big. They’re all helpers.”

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