GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Jakobi Gillespie, sophomore on the Greeneville boys basketball team.
Greeneville’s Jakobi Gillespie isn’t a chatty guy.
“That’s the way he is, he’s not a very talkative guy, good guy but not a talkative guy you kinda gotta squeeze stuff out of him,” Greeneville boys basketball head coach Brad Woolsey said.
He’s still only a sophomore, doesn’t have to be that vocal leader.
“But I also think that I’ve improved on scoring throughout the year I started having more high scoring games,” Gillespie said.
And coach Brad Woolsey doesn’t expect that out of him, Jakobi stays in his own lane.
“Another good thing about Kobi is he takes the pressure, you can yell at him or cheer for him and he’s not gonna look any different, he’s so level he’s a joy to coach and we’re looking forward to seeing what he does in the future,” Woolsey said.
He’s creating his piece of Greeneville history, and he’s not the first Gillespie to do so.
“You can even look back at his Dad and his uncle I went to school with his Dad Byron and then you got Jaevon and another brother Jordan who are both playing football at UVa-Wise and so he’s got a lot of that in his family,” Woolsey said.
“They’re at UVa-Wise and they played both sports, I just play basketball,” Gillespie said.
There we go, creating his own path.
“I played freshman year and I just didn’t want to play sophomore year because I wanted to focus on basketball,” Gillespie said.
“It’s good for me as a Greeneville guy to see that pass down from one generation to the next,” Woolsey said.
Now, he’s the next Gillespie you cannot miss in a Greeneville uniform.
“I play AAU ball and playing school ball so I think I’m ready for this,” Gillespie said.
Jakobi was a huge piece of this year’s basketball team, a legitimate scoring threat.
“Just keep working hard in the off-season, keep working hard in practice,” Gillespie said.
“They’re a great offensive team but we talked about in tournament time you can’t just be good offensively you have to be great on both ends but to be honest we’ve been great offensively the last 6 or 7 games,” Woolsey said.
The Greene Devils were rolling, winning the district tournament and making it all the way to the state tournament.
That’s until the TSSAA suspended the state championships.
“Yeah it is tough I mean you look the kids have been working hard ever since March in the weight room and skill development,” Woolsey said.
TSSAA said there’s still hope to resume the state tournaments, so Greeneville is staying ready.
“I still get in the gym because I think we’ll still play, just go to the Y shoot or do that and dribble and workout still, I just stay ready,” Gillespie said.
And Jakobi is motivated with his turn to do something special at this school.
“There’s not many teams that have done that at Greeneville and we can make history if we win, it I think we can make it the next 2 years after this too, I think we can still compete,” Gillespie said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.