2014 forward Jae’Sean Tate expanding game, drawing Michigan interest


1157043237_9h86n-L[1]At the Bill Hensley Memorial Run ‘n Slam, 2014 prospect Jae’Sean Tate did a little bit of everything for his All-Ohio Red team. The Pickerington Central wing has spent most of his life playing in the post, but at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds Tate needed to show all in attendance that his game has expanded to the perimeter.  Though he is a skilled, strong post player, his height puts him in danger of being labeled a “tweener.”

Tate is fully aware that he has two choices: wait to grow, or develop his perimeter game to the point where he can become a legitimate wing prospect.

“I’m an undersized big man. I’m working on my perimeter game,” Tate said. “I can shoot midrange. Either I hope to grow, or I just keep working on my guard game.”

Tate is clearly the go-to scorer on a team that is stocked with solid talent. He can usually get what he wants in the post despite his lack of height by using his large frame to clear out space in the paint as well as his ability to seal off his defender when establishing position. Once he gets the ball, Tate has a litany of strong, quick post moves he can use to get to the rim.

But college coaches have to consider not just what a player shows them on the court but also how their game translates to the college game. Although Tate is a strong player who can play big in the paint, coaches may still have doubts about his ability to produce at the next level.

But All-Ohio Red coach Benji Burke, father of Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke, sees a strength where others see a weakness.

“I think the strengths are exactly what people are concerned about,” Burke said. “He’s a matchup problem. They don’t know what position he is. So we look at it as, he’s too big for your guards, or he’s too fast for your forwards. We love that.”

Related: Scouting Jae’Sean Tate at 2012 Spiece Run ‘n Slam

It’s true that over the weekend it was nearly impossible to stop Tate with just one player. He faced a myriad of zone looks and double-teams. But thanks to his new focus on his perimeter game, when the post got too crowded, Tate was able to take the ball outside the paint and look for his midrange shot.

After one game in which the opposing team focused especially on packing the post, Tate knew he had to change some things up.

“They had really good inside defense.  It was really hard to get through lanes,” he said. “I was just trying to shoot midrange and go left.”

With the expansion of Tate’s outside game has come attention from more high-major schools. Mid-majors such as Akron, Kent State, and Detroit have been showing interest, but now Tate is getting calls from Michigan, Purdue, and Iowa. He mentioned that Iowa has been calling him a lot lately.

Bacari Alexander has taken a keen interest in the Ohio native and Michigan is a school that intrigues Tate. Not only does Tate play for Trey Burke’s father with All-Ohio Red, he attends school with Michigan football commitment Taco Charlton as well as potential-future Wolverine, Caris LeVert.

At this point, Tate has two things in mind that he’s looking for in a college choice.

“Good coaches who will teach me things I need to work on, like my shooting,” he said. “And a place where I can have fun.”

Wherever he goes, Tate knows that he will likely be a wing if he doesn’t grow significantly in the next couple of years. He’s doing all he can to make sure he’s ready to lay the position. Burke said Tate has hired a trainer and is working on his ballhandling.

“Let’s just say he is going to be a wing,” Burke said. “He wants to be able to go off the dribble and be able to create his own shots of the dribble.”

  • SamGoBlue

    Reading all about these 2014 prospects really gets me excited to see who will earn a coveted offer here in about a month’s time. Tate seems like the kind of player that is a work in progress right now but has shown that he has the tools to compete and excel at the high-major level. Benji Burke put it perfectly when talking about how “tweeners” aren’t always necessary a bad thing, as they also create potential match-up problems on the offensive side of the ball. Look no further than Zack Novak, for example, who did a very solid job of holding his ground against many opposing fours and then thrived on the other side of the court by getting open perimeter looks because his bigger defender couldn’t always make it to the right spot on time.

    I always like to take optimistic views like this, and I’ll be very interested in following Tate’s game as he progresses. Seems like we would have a pretty good shot at him if we offer, given what Burke recently said about sending commits north and creating a Michigan pipeline in the heart of enemy territory.

    • geoffclarke

      Agree. And it definitely sounds like Tate is willing to put in the hard work to improve his perimeter skills…a lot of improvement can happen in a couple years and he could turn out to be one of the late bloomers in that regard. Sounds like his post up game is already developed, which to me seems like a HUGE asset.