Mount Vernon’s Latest
Jabarie Hinds has come into his own.
One season after serving as Pippen to Sherrod Wright’s (who now balls for George Mason) Jordan, Jabarie Hinds has emerged as a scoring and play-making guard. His stock ballooned over the summer, eliciting more drool than Pavlov’s puppy from college coaches. The small, waterbug 5-11 guard’s stock has been growing, growing, growing — Jack And The Beanstalk style — ever since.
First, the kid from Mount Vernon HS — Westchester County’s rich basketball real estate — needed to rectify his mid-range J. Then, after opening up his jumper while simultaneously extending his stroke, Hinds continued to evolve as a cat-quick floor general who can score buckets by the bunches.
Hinds cooked opponents to the recipe of 37 ppg during his stay at Bob Gibbons in North Carolina over the summer.
He put his stamp on a critical Mount Vernon win during the fall tip off at IS8 in Queens, dropping 22 points, hitting a game-winning floater and showcasing his new touch. “He’s an inside and outside presence right now, including from beyond the arc,” explained Terry Teachout of Teaches Hoops. Teachout, better known as “The Shot Doctor” around the 914 hoops culture, is a shooting instructor at Mount Vernon.
Hinds, a bouncy southpaw, is also a presence on the recruiting radar, where he’s become a highly sought after prospect.
Major Division-I schools are beginning to bust out their credit cards and pay attention. “I got offers from Oklahoma State, UNLV, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, St. John’s, James Madison, Louisville and a couple more,” said Hinds.
Hinds hasn’t even started to narrow down the collection of colleges. He hasn’t cut any schools from a list that’s akin to a 7-year-old’s Christmas gift list in length.
He keeps his former teammates, many of whom Mount Vernon molded and launched to Big East careers, close to his presence. Kevin Jones (West Virginia) Mike Colburn (Rutgers) and Jonathon Mitchell (Rutgers) remain tight with the latest high-octane, go-go guard from Ben Gordon’s alma mater.
“I learned a lot [from the older guys]. I played behind Mike Colburn when he was in high school, so I learned a lot from him. (Former Mount Vernon Knights now playing in the Big East or elsewhere) always come up to the gym, in the offseason we work out. We play open gym. They teach me a lot of stuff, and you know, I teach them stuff too.”
As the lone acclaimed player—and one of the few players who played a significant role on last year’s squad—returning, Hinds has rapidly evolved into the face of this storied program.
Hinds knows he must assume some ownership of the Knights this year. He’s witnessed Colburn, Mitchell and Jones all lead under longtime Knights coach Bob Cimmino, who makes basketball a 24-7-365 commitment.
It’s Hinds’ turn. “Everything is mine now,” said Hinds.
With his leadership position comes a challenge. He now shoulders the burden of leading a considerably callow Mount Vernon team, one which had its roster from last season thoroughly cleansed. “I’m the captain. I’m the only starter back right now, so everybody’s got to work for a spot and go hard in practice every day.
Is keeping a perennial power intact a heavy burden?
“Always,” said Hinds.
“The pressure is there, big time. We need to play hard, go hard every day in practice, make sure we take no plays off, and we should be alright.”
Zach Smart has written for Big East Basketball Report, Hoops Addict and The East Coast Bias. Read more on his blog.