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In the midst of a seven-game tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the young man wearing jersey number 30 was more than on his game. The hoop was bigger, the ball was light and Jesse Pistokache was on his game like never before. All on the biggest stage in the country: the 2011 National Championships.
Playing point guard for the AAU Club, the Texas Titans, Pistokache is part of an elite basketball squad that took last year’s national championship in Memphis. Seeking to defend their title, Pistokache and the Titans entered the tournament that included 113 teams from all over the country and proceeded to dominate. Jesse had no problem dropping 30 points in back-to-back games. The kid was feeling it. The kid had Jimmer-blood in his veins. It was unbelievable. Then.
Then, suddenly, in an effort to secure a loose ball, the Titans’ point guard collided with an opposing player, sending pain from his upper chest muscles down his right arm. It wasn’t serious, just a stinger. But the immediate consequences were serious. The stinger would keep the 15-year old from playing to full capacity for the rest of the tournament. Still, his team did go on to win the national championship. The title was the second straight for the organization, as they beat a fellow Texan team for the title.
For Jesse, the injury will heal, but it kept him from competing at full capacity on the biggest stage for high school athletes. Though the incredible baller is not allowed to have official contact from college coaches until the summer after his sophomore year of high school, these tournaments are unofficial breeding grounds for the next great college players and NBA stars. Further, Jesse will likely not be able to compete at this weekend’s “Hoop Group Elite” which prides itself as the “Nations #1 Exposure Camp.”
However, while this national stage is often “high school politics on steroids,” the young baller has had quite the following already on this inflated stage. Pistokache did a question and answer session with SlamOnline.com and is featured on Lebron James’ website under the page “Young Ballers.” Further, there are plenty of YouTube videos featuring Jesse’s game.
“Jesse flat out scores the basketball as well as any guard in the class of 2015,” says Dave Spahn, the writer for Slam Magazine that conducted the interview with Jesse and is an active follower of high school recruiting. “He has phenomenal court vision and leads a team with great passion. His size, skillset, and character will make him a hot commodity amongst big time college coaches in the near future.”
Only entering his freshman year, the Pistokache will have plenty of time to build his reputation in the Rio Grande Valley and then continue to attend the elite camps and tournaments. For the rest of 2011 and then into the early part of 2012, Jesse will have the unique opportunity to play with his older brother Quino at Sharyland High School.
The two are primed to make a near unstoppable duo for the Rattlers. Quino has starred for David Keith’s squad for the past two years and looks to have a memorable senior season playing alongside Jesse. Merely by Jesse’s addition to the team, Sharyland will be a serious contender for a District 30-5A title. The freshman Pistokache will be a perfect ball handler to run Keith’s offense and to set up his brother as well as himself.
In time, Jesse will be feeling it. The RGV will be feeling it. And, before long, the nation will be feeling it.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.