After a loss to the United States at the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Championship in June, Team Canada was left playing in the bronze medal game of the tournament.
Coming off an 11 point performance on 2-of-5 shooting (5-of-5 from the free-throw line), combo guard Jacob Theodosiou and Canada entered a contest against the Dominican Republic in one of the biggest games in the young teens’ lives. With a team-high 15 points on a 5-of-8 shooting (3-of-4 from beyond the arc) performance, Theodosiou helped Canada to clinch the bronze with a 92-76 victory over the Dominican Republic.
After an early loss to Argentina to open the tournament, Theodosiou told WV Sports Now he just had to re-group mentally and keep doing what he was doing. He didn’t hang his head, stayed present and helped Canada win a bronze medal.
“It was a really great honor, especially just playing for your country,” Theodosiou said. “Few people get to do that kind of thing, and coming out with a medal, I thought we bounced back from our loss against Argentina early and were able to close it out. So, it was an amazing experience.”
Theodosiou (6-foot-4, 175 pounds) hails from Ontario, Canada, but he will play his sophomore season at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. Only a sophomore this season, his long frame and capable three-point stroke (evident by a 13-of-25 showing from 3-point range at the Americas Championship) showcase his potential as a Division I prospect.
With an offer from South Carolina and already having visited Pittsburgh, Theodosiou made his second collegiate visit to West Virginia on Saturday, and after hoping to get the chance to check out the Morgantown campus, get a feel for WVU head coach Bob Huggins and get to experience the WVU environment. It’s safe to say he accomplished all of his goals.
“I played pickup with the team, coach Huggins had me playing with the guys, which was a good experience,” Theodosiou said. “Obviously, they’re bigger and stronger, so it was good to see how they are at that level like just guarding players of that level. Then we went to the football game, it was a blowout, but it was still a good time. Got on the field a little bit, sat up in the box seats which was pretty nice.”
As a sophomore in high school — albeit, a sophomore with some size at 6-foot-4 — playing against some seasoned veterans on the WVU roster, Theodosiou was anything but intimidated by an NCAA Tournament team.
“Playing pickup was the best thing, just being in that environment,” Theodosiou said. “A Division I environment like that and playing against Division I guys was — obviously that’s where I want to be in the future, so it was a good test of what I need to work on.”
With WVU players a decade or more older in some cases, ranging from 6-foot to nearly 7-foot, it was certainly a challenge for him. However, he adapted to be able to contribute in a high-energy environment against guys that will compete with the best of the best in NCAA basketball this season.
“I played alright at the start. It was a little hard to get used to it,” Theodosiou admitted. “Some of the moves that I do against guys my age or in high school weren’t working, so I had to use different finishes at the basket. Overall, I thought I played pretty well. I was passing the ball pretty well, like off screens and stuff.”
It was perhaps an experience that other coaches wouldn’t offer potential recruits, but Huggins is anything but conventional. Theodosiou hoped to get to know Huggins more, having only heard about Huggins through 2022 three-star point guard Josiah Davis — a WVU commit from the Ontario, Canada area –and Higgins was what Theodosiou hoped for.
“He’s a real funny guy, he’s just straight up with you, doesn’t BS or anything like that,” Theodosiou said. “He’s a good guy. He’s almost like a God with the people in West Virginia, like we’d be walking and people would always know him.”
Davis had told Theodosiou a bit about Huggins prior to the visit, pointing to Huggins’ hard-nosed approach and desire to bring out the best in his players as a potential fit for him.
— Jacob Theodosiou (@JacobTheodosiou) September 12, 2021
Pointing to his hard-working work ethic, a competitive streak and the hatred of losing, Theodosiou feels like he’d be a good fit in Morgantown.
“And then, [Coach Huggins] also likes his shooters,” Theodosiou said. “I’m also a bigger guard, so I feel like I could help in that note. I can shoot, I’m taller for a point guard and I can also play defense — like Jevon Carter. He could do both, so I feel like I could do that as well.”
Aside from playing some pickup and heading to the WVU rout of Long Island University, Theodosiou was able to sit down and have good talks with both Huggins and WVU assistant coach Ron Everhart, and after both, he felt like almost all of his questions were answered.
With just his visit to Pitt and now WVU on the ledger, along with Huggins still in place, Theodosiou spoke positively about the potential of playing in blue and gold in the years to come.
“It was only the second school I’ve ever visited so it kind of separates themselves as well as being one of the first to have me on a visit. I don’t know how many years coach Huggins has left coaching, but definitely, if he’s still there, I’d for sure consider them because it seems like a program I could see myself in.”
Without an official offer from WVU yet, however, that could soon be changed with Huggins himself coming to visit him.
“I know this week coach Huggins is going to come down to our open gym, I think Thursday or sometime, then they’ll go from there with offering and that kind of stuff.”
While his goal is to come in and play immediately as a first-year player wherever he decides to attend college, he’s still got a few years of seasoning left with Western Reserve, and his ultimate goal is to play his game and not get lost in the hoopla of prospect rankings. However, he still needs to get his name out there.
“Hopefully get my name out there a little more,” Theodosiou said. “I’m at a good place right now with Western Reserve Academy with a good coach, he’s very connected. He’s always pushing me, so I feel like you can expect to hear my name a bit more like I’ll be getting my name out there.”
With a full sophomore, junior and season left before him, Theodosiou is still a long way from college, but he’s still thinking about where he’ll be ending. He’s hoping to be committed by the end of his junior year.