Jacob Tala, the 6’2 shooting guard out of Shanghai American School, has become the first ever “Global Squad Lifer”. Jacob earned this distinction by joining the Global Squad as an 8th grader and returning every year until entering college. For this reason, we are excited to announce that Jacob Tala has committed to Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT). Jacob will be the 2nd player Global Squad has sent to play in the Empire-8 Conference.
Jacob was drawn to Stevens by the opportunity to play basketball, but also because of the reputation of their business program. Prior to Jacob committing, he shared his thoughts. “Stevens is my top choice because it’s a good school and they are very close to Wall Street. A lot of students get internships on Wall Street and I’m very interested in that industry.”
Jacob, the Global Squad Lifer, makes this commitment after four remarkable seasons with our program. When Jacob first showed up for camp in 2012 there wasn’t a single person in the world that would have called him a college prospect. To be honest, he wasn’t even a high school prospect. Jacob was short (5’7), had minimal athleticism, and lacked the skills necessary to find any playing time. These are not exaggerations, Jacob was not good. He tallied just 2 points, 10 rebounds, and 1 assist for his entire season of Global Squad.
Jacob returned to camp in 2013 and made one of the biggest transformations we’ve ever seen. He went from scoring just 2 points a year ago to leading the Red Dragons (A) in points. He also finished 2nd in both assists and steals. While we were excited to see Jacob’s improvement he still wasn’t a college prospect. So…he kept working.
In Jacob’s 3rd season, he continued to show tremendous development and he grew several inches. At 6’1 Jacob finally started to look like a potential college player. His 3-point shooting ability emerged as the skill that would carry him to the next level. This time Jacob played for both the Red Dragons (A) and Gold Dragons (B). For the 2nd straight year he led the Red Dragons in points (11.8) per game. Jacob also led the Gold Dragons in 3-point percentage (38%) and 3-pointers made per game (1.7).
Jacob left Global Squad 2014 with a real buzz and excitement. Playing college basketball was no longer a pipe-dream. He now had a legitimate shot at becoming a collegiate student-athlete.
Jacob’s 4th season with Global Squad began with much anticipation. He grew another inch and clearly spent a lot of time in the weight room. Unfortunately the Global Squad season took a discouraging turn. Jacob suffered a back injury that seriously limited his ability to play. Jacob wasn’t going to allow this to get in the way of his dream. When it counted, and coaches were watching, Jacob summoned the toughness that got him to this point. Despite the injury, Jacob impressed several coaches who wanted him to join their program.
In the end, Jacob chose Stevens Institute of Technology. Stevens will have one of the most dedicated and hardworking players we’ve ever seen. Anyone who saw Jacob four years ago and saw him today would not believe it’s the same person.
Obviously most of the credit goes to Jacob for getting in the gym and putting in work. Shanghai American School coaches, Mark Hefte and Matt Kuykendall deserve recognition as well. They provided support, instruction, and added fuel to Jacob’s fire throughout his high school career. Then the there’s the Global Squad coaching staff who were willing to put in extra time with Jacob because he was willing to work so hard.
Jacob finished his senior season at Shanghai American School (SAS) averaging 24 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and shooting 45% from long-range. He also led SAS to their 2nd consecutive APAC Championship.
Jacob, we are very proud of you. Congratulations to the first ever Global Squad Lifer!