Trevor Jain made adjustments to win Player of the Year
It was a name high school and college coaches weren’t familiar with before November.
But by the time Trevor Jain dropped 37 points on Austin-East in the second game of the season, people learned who the Pigeon Forge star was.
“The first half of the season was pretty fun while it was happening,” Jain said. “Then I got hit with double and triple teams.”
The senior, learning a new position in the post, found a way to adapt to all that attention. While he didn’t keep putting up 30 points a night, he finished the year averaging more than 22 to go along with nearly 12 rebounds per game.
Now, Jain has a list of college suitors 10 deep. It’s why he’s the All-County player of the year.
“I think most teams we played he was the best player on the floor,” said Tigers coach John Kucela. “He led us in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.
I think his upside is going to be pretty good. He’s going to be a better college player.
He focuses mainly on basketball. He’s a gym rat and really works on the game.”
Jain had to put in work this winter. Traditionally a wing or two-guard that missed parts of his sophomore and junior seasons with wrist injuries, Jain was moved to the post this season under Kucela. Pigeon Forge went to a camp in Georgia this summer where the senior got some experience playing down low.
It wasn’t easy.
“The thing I learned, I have a lot more respect for post players,” Jain said. “Those guys in the post, you’ve got to work.”
It became even more difficult for Jain, who drew two, sometimes three defenders after some breakout performances early in the season.
He had to learn to contribute in ways other than scoring, like getting after the glass or kicking out to the open shooter.
“At the beginning of season, I thought it was pretty cool,” Jain said. “I could just post up and do a bunch of layups. It became more frustrating. … It took a couple games before I really made the full adjustment.
At first i thought maybe it was one team that was going to (double-team me). Then I figured out that was the way it was going to be.” He began staying after practice and going to the community center with his friends.
Teammate Ryan Beal said the Tigers would harass Jain in the post to prepare him for what he would see in a game.
“He still played his game,” Beal said. “He didn’t let it get to him. He could still manage to find ways to score because he’s a great athlete.” A lot of that scoring came from the foul line, where Jain shot 73 percent. More used to pulling up for outside shots, the senior learned to make strong, confident moves to the basket and draw that contact. His ability to play inside and outside made him an attractive target for colleges and he said the attention has been nice after injuries derailed him the past two seasons.
Kucela said there’s no doubt Jain can make an impact at the next level anywhere on the floor.
“We needed him in the post,” Kucela said. “He rebounded with the best of them. I think Trevor attacked the rim and if he didn’t score the bucket he was at the free throw line. He was a factor for us blocking shots and making people change shots.
In college, I think he’s got a big upside.”