Boys Basketball: Shepard’s Jacob Littleton opening eyes
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org February 26, 2014 9:06PM
Shepard's Jacob Littleton (4) dribbles into the front court against Hillcrest. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 27, 2014 2:15AM
Jacob Littleton likes to sleep.
In fact, Shepard’s point guard prefers 10 hours of shuteye each night.
Opponents, however, have learned not to sleep on Littleton.
Shepard’s senior point guard is averaging 17.5 points and 3.5 assists per game.
“I’m mad at everybody when I don’t get my sleep,” Littleton said.
Littleton’s numbers are major improvements from his junior season, when he was plagued by inconsistency.
Those struggles motivated the 5-foot-10 Littleton during the offseason.
“I was a little lazy last season,” Littleton said. “I went into the offseason thinking I had to show that I was good enough to compete at a high level on the varsity. The hard work has definitely paid off.”
Shepard coach Tony Chiuccariello expects his players to work on their game every offseason. Littleton, though, took it to another level, devoting considerable time in the gym and weight room.
“Jacob is a hard working, reliable, young man,” Chiuccariello said. “He has never missed a practice in his three years on the varsity. He’s a captain of our team and leads by example. He worked extremely hard in the offseason. He spent a lot of time in the weight room, both in cardio class and after school. Jacob shoots on his own a lot and has exceptional court vision.
“He’s a very smart guard who is quick to read defenses and knows where everybody is suppose to be on the floor in any given situation.”
The Astros have been somewhat inconsistent this season, sitting at 9-16. Littleton, a Robbins resident, remains confident his team can rise to the occasion during the Class 4A playoffs. Shepard opens the postseason Monday at home against Hubbard, with the winner taking on powerhouse Simeon on Tuesday at Shepard.
“I think we can go a long way in the playoffs,” Littleton said. “People doubted us vs. Richards and we beat them. We proved we can play with very good teams.”
Littleton remains undecided about college. His dream is to play Division I, but he just wants a chance to continue to play the game he loves. Having the ability to play the point and shooting guard should enhance that opportunity.
“I prefer playing point guard,” he said. “I can control the tempo of the game. We can play uptempo or slow it down.”
Littleton acknowledged that without the guidance and support of his coach, he likely wouldn’t be the player he is today.
“Coach Chiuccariello has a lot of faith in me,” Littleton said. “He’s always been there to back me up. I learned so much from him to become the player I am now.”
And that’s a dangerous one.