When Snider takes the court to start basketball season, it will be with one of the Panthers best football players leading the way with the ball in his hands. A proven winner, Jayshawn Underwood will take on the point guard mantle as a starter for the third straight season.
For those unfamiliar with Summit Athletic Conference basketball on an intimate level, Underwood’s inclusion on the Top 50 list this high would raise eyebrows if you looked at his numbers alone; he and his coach are probably aware of that. But it brings us to the most important point about Underwood: you have to see him to believe it. Underwood played over 22 minutes per game for a deep benched Panther team last year because Snider plays their best basketball when Underwood is anchoring both the offense and the defense with his 100-plus percent effort.
Underwood led Snider is assists and steals per game, but even his numbers in those areas (2.9 assists, 1.9 steals) don’t begin to explain how vital he is each night. Defensively, it is sometimes easier to see. Underwood is one of the elite lockdown defenders in the area, but he doesn’t just do it when the ball is in the offensive player’s hands. If Underwood is guarding you, the chances of you getting the ball in your hands cleanly is slim. Offensively, Underwood is the ultimate gamer; he knows not only his role but the role of everyone on the floor which allows him to break things down and read the game on a higher level.
“The best on-ball defender in the area,” Snider coach Jeremy Rauch says of Underwood. “Ultimate competitor, ultimate winner. Knows our offense as well as anyone, and has good feel for the game on both sides of the ball.”