ASHEBORO — Most student-athletes go through a growth spurt during their time in high school and Asheboro’s Jerquarius Stanback was no different.
As a freshman, he entered AHS at about 6-feet tall. Entering this basketball season, his senior year, he is 6-7.
While most males must adjust to a growing body, Stanback has had three very solid seasons with the Blue Comets and his fourth and final year is off to a good start. Stanback poured in 26 points in the Blue Comets’ season-opening win over Southwestern Randolph and it looks like it could be another banner season for the inside power, who was named the Mid-Piedmont Conference player of the year last season.
“He came in at 6-foot, maybe 6-1,” veteran AHS basketball coach Brian Nance said. “He had long arms. We put him on the jayvee team, let him play and the next thing I know, he’s 6-4. He started as a sophomore and started ever since. And he continued to develop.”
Now 6-7 and 190 pounds, Stanback has developed his offensive game while remaining one of the top shot blockers in the area. He had a 12-block performance against Ledford last year as he averaged almost six blocks per game, an incredibly impressive number.
“He has got some basketball IQ to him and he’s so basketball heavy,” Nance said. “That’s all he does. He was a little awkward his sophomore year, he was really light at 165 pounds, but he never had that uncoordinated phase. A lot of big guys when they grow are awkward and clumsy, but he was never like that.”
Stanback said he knows why.
“I stayed in the gym as much as I could to get used to my body,” he said. “I played a lot of basketball.”
One of the Blue Comets’ major offensive threats last year, he’s averaged nearly 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game the past two seasons. Those numbers are certainly going to be enhanced this year.
“He’s good around the rim, has a soft touch from 15 feet in and he’s trying to add a three-point shot,” Nance said. “He can handle the ball and has the ability to take it from one end to the other. He’s a really good passer.”
His offensive and defensive prowess has helped the Blue Comets to a record of 40-14 over the past two seasons plus this year’s opener. Last year’s perfect 10-0 league record improved AHS’ conference record to 17-3 when Stanback starts.
“Our number one thing is to get the ball inside to him,” Nance said. “Everything starts with him inside. If they collapse, he gets the ball out to Cam (Walker). He’s our focal point and everyone knows that.”
Stanback welcomes the challenge.
“I feel my role is to carry the team, show good leadership,” Stanback said. “There will be a lot of teams trying to take us out this year.”
Stanback, who has drawn interest from Elizabeth City, Davidson Community College, Pheiffer and Appalachian State, is 266 points away from 1,000 for his career. He is hoping to accomplish that feat in the newly renovated gym at AHS.
“That felt amazing,” Stanback said of returning to the school’s gym for the season opener. “I just feel more comfortable in this gym.”
That doesn’t bode well for opposing teams.