Jaye Stackhouse called to congratulate his father Sunday for his latest athletic achievement.
Brought in by the Brooklyn Nets to serve in a player-coach capacity, former UNC basketball star Jerry Stackhouse turned back the clock Friday in christening his 18th NBA season, scoring 11 points while donning some old-school Fila sneakers from his vintage collection.
“He’s enjoying it,” Jaye Stackhouse said.
While the famous 38-year-old father is finding ways to extend his professional run, his eldest son is just beginning to gain exposure a prospective college athlete.
Jaye (6-1, 190), a 2015 prospect, just completed his first season as a starting cornerback at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga.
Purdue and UNC have already expressed interest in Stackhouse as a football prospect, and he joined a handful of teammates – 2013 safety commitment Donnie Miles, 2013 offensive tackle target DeVondre Seymour, 2014 defensive end target Dante Sawyer and 2014 receiver Nate Brown – in attending the Tar Heels’ 68-50 defeat Saturday to Georgia Tech.
“That was the first college football game I’ve ever been to,” Stackhouse said. “It was exciting getting to meet all the coaches and seeing how the program works. I like to follow Carolina football, so it was nice seeing things from the inside.”
“I felt the offense was perfect and did a good job. The defense struggled at moments, but I felt they were headed in the right direction. Once they get that back on the right track, they’ll be in the top 25 pretty easily.”
Stackhouse has suffered a torn labrum and is expected to miss the next 3-4 months of action, which includes North Gwinnett's football playoff opener Friday.
He has been timed as high as 4.65 in the 40, and his size has proven a commodity in defending fades and jump-ball situations.
Stackhouse spent his freshman season at Greater Atlanta Christian and figured to be a key cog in North Gwinnett’s returning 5A quarterfinalist basketball squad this season as a sophomore guard.
He has only played football since eighth grade, but increasing sentiment holds that his ceiling might be higher in that sport than it is in basketball.
“Coach Adams, he’s been watching, and he said I have pretty good size and potential,” Stackhouse said. “Coach Fedora told me to just keep working. I’m young, and there will be plenty of attention when my time comes as a junior and senior.
“I’m leaning more to football, but I always want to keep my options open. People ask me all the time which is my favorite, and I’m developing a love for football. Basketball I’ve played my whole life.”
While Saturday’s trip marked his first as a prospect, Stackhouse has predictably grown up quite familiar with the campus.
“Chapel Hill is almost like a second home to me,” he said. “I make a trip up there almost every summer. We have a house up there right down the street from the Smith Center, so I go up and visit when I can. I spend a lot of time in North Carolina, as that’s where a lot of my family is from.”
It is common for legacy athletes to want to carve their own identities, inspiring the next generational prospect to distance themselves from their familial ties and the expectations those create.
That doesn’t appear the case with Stackhouse, who beyond holding an affinity for Texas football – ahem, Mack Brown was UNC’s coach during Jerry’s college days – is all Tar Heel.
“I’ve always been a Carolina fan in all sports, all the way around,” Stackhouse said. “I kind of want to follow in the family footsteps. My mom and dad both graduated from Carolina, and I know that area more than any other college campus.”
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