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Boys' basketball: Davis' Jesse Wade earns All-Tribune MVP

Published April 4, 2015 2:13 pm

Though his record-setting Davis career ended one game early, Jesse Wade is still the All-Tribune Most Valuable Player.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kaysville • The words "Defend the Tradition" grace the entrance to Davis High, celebrating the school's 101 years.

But they could also apply to Jesse Wade, the Darts' star guard the past three seasons and this year's Salt Lake Tribune boys' basketball Most Valuable Player.

Wade has carried on his family's basketball tradition, defending it with hours of work, good sportsmanship and at least two small reminders of the past.



Jesse's dad, Eric, and mother, Amanda, both played college basketball. His grandfather and namesake, Jesse Lester Wade, was a legendary basketball coach in Driggs, Idaho, who coached his teams to five state titles.

The elder Jesse Wade, who passed away in 2009, always wore the same tie when winning those championships. His grandson inherited that lucky tie and began wearing it to every game since he was in the seventh grade.

Then Jim Price, a former Davis assistant who played for Wade at Teton High, told Jesse that he could have a piece of one of the nets Price received when the team won three straight state titles. Wade used the net as a shoelace to honor the family tradition.

At 6-foot-1, Wade is not particularly imposing as an athlete. But hard work turned him into the highest scorer in Davis history (1,367 points in 69 games), and the school's all-time leader in 3-point field goals, assists, and steals. He set a single-game Davis scoring record by dropping 46 points on Fremont in early January.

He had Utah's best scoring average this season, with 26.8 points per game, and hit the most 3-point field goals in the state. He was one shy of tying the state's single-season 3-point record of 102 set by Tabiona's Levi Gines in 1998-99.

Of course, the missed 3-pointer that would have tied that record still haunts Wade. As the senior tried to lead Davis into the state title game in the Class 5A semifinals against Brighton, his desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer just missed.

"When I shot it, I thought it was going in," he said. "When it bounced off the left side of the rim, I couldn't believe my high school career was over. There was such a flood of emotion, walking to the locker after losing the game and wanting to win the state championship."

But it wasn't for lack of effort.

Wade usually woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get to school in time to shoot 300 to 400 jump shots. After school, he would add another 400 to 500 shots to the routine.

"You can't cheat basketball, you really can't," said the player with a 3.98 grade point average. "To be a good jump shooter, you have to practice that 600 to 700 times a day. That's how basketball is. It is constant repetition, taking no days off. It never gets boring, not when you love it. I am excited when I wake up and get to go shoot."

But that practice will end suddenly on April 29, when Wade leaves for a two-year LDS Church mission to Lyon, France.

He gets one day off a week and plans to take a basketball with him. He will be hooking up with former Lone Peak star T.J. Haws, who is already on his mission in Lyon.

After that, Wade plans to play college ball at Gonzaga.

"It just felt right," Wade said. "I like their style of play. I watch their guards to see how I would affect that game. Gonzaga guards tend to be short ... and shoot the ball. Their style is my style. Their coaching staff is amazing. The Gonzaga fans are so supportive."

Supportive fans should be nothing new to Wade, as the Davis gym was regularly packed for games. He said his best memory of his senior year will be winning the Region 1 title outright in his final regular-season game against archrival Layton, the team that would go on to win the state title. The place was so packed that it was almost impossible to move in the stands.

Chad Sims, who came to Davis this season after coaching against Wade at Weber, said he admired the guard's work ethic.

"From Day One, it was evident that Jesse would work hard. In practice, in the summer, during skill development and in games, he put himself into a position to be successful. … I trusted him to make the right decisions for our basketball team."

And his teammates bought into the fact that Wade was a special player.

"What didn't he do for our team?" asked Caleb Leonhardt. "He puts in a ton of work, so it's not surprising."

Mitch Sanders remembers Wade's 44 points against Moreau Catholic when the team played in San Francisco.

"It felt like he was carrying us the whole game," said Saunders. "He was creating for everybody else and hitting shots going up against those big kids. His work ethic is second to none. Nobody works harder than Jesse. That's why he is so good."

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton —

About Jesse Wade

• 6-foot-1 senior guard

• Averaged 26.8 points (Utah's best), 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.8 steals per game

• Set the Davis High record for most points scored in career (1,367 in 69 games) and in a single game (46)

• Led Davis to Region 1 title and Class 5A semifinals

• Wade has signed with Gonzaga to play college basketball after serving a church mission

 

 

 

 

 

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