By Danny Priest
This story originally ran on scstudentmedia.com on Saturday night at the time of Ross breaking the record. It has now been modified and updated to include results of the game and additional thoughts from Ross, his teammates, and his coach.
In this past Saturday’s 76-75 win over Williams College, Springfield College’s Jake Ross etched his name atop the record books.
After knocking down a turnaround jumper in the paint with 5:10 to go in the first half of the game, Ross surpassed Derek Yvon (‘06) to become the all-time leading scorer in the history of the program.
Ross’s basket gave him 2,103 points for his career, surpassing the previous record set by Yvon with 2,101 points that had stood since his year of graduation in 2006.
Yvon, who still resides in Springfield, made the 90 minute drive up to Williamstown to watch Ross accomplish the feat.
Now with 7 points on the night, Jake Ross has become the leading all-time scorer for @BirthplaceBBall What a tremendous accomplishment. @SC_Pride @SpfldCollege @TheSpfldStudent @_SCTV3 pic.twitter.com/X77NQIEx1S
— Cam Smith (@_thecamsmith) December 7, 2019
“It’s been an absolute pleasure following Jake throughout his career at SC. It’s a great honor to be recognized as scoring leader at the Birthplace of Basketball,” said Yvon, who was reached for comment through text.
“He’s an incredible player, exciting and fun to watch, and so deserving of this recognition. It will be fun for him to tell people he is the leader scoring at the Birthplace of Basketball, I know I had fun with it. Beside Jake’s incredible talents on the basketball court, he’s a wonderful kid off it. I’m very happy for Jake. It’s an exciting time for him,” Yvon said.
Ross and Yvon have been familiar with one another since Ross came to Springfield College for his very first visit, and his support has meant a lot to Ross over the years.
“Derek being there was pretty cool. For him to drive two hours meant a lot. He’s been pretty good to me throughout my career and been supportive of me,” Ross said. “He’s never had any negative comments or anything, he’s always been really, really supportive, so I thanked him and I probably should send him a card or something. He’s a really good guy for doing that.”
When Ross first visited campus four years ago, it was Coach Charlie Brock’s idea to have Yvon present to try and sell Ross on committing to the school.
“He was here and he did advocate that I should come here and it’s a great place. The fact that he was the all-time leading scorer when he was here it meant a lot to me because just the fact that he came out of his way for my visit, it was pretty meaningful,” Ross said.
Now, all this time later, Ross has surpassed Yvon as well as becoming only the third person in the history of the program to score over 2,000 points in a career.
He joins Yvon and Hassan Robinson who graduated in 1995 and scored 2,003 points for his career.
While Ross has made his history as a scorer, Brock saw something else in him while evaluating him as a recruit during his time in high school.
“He just had a great motor, and actually he wasn’t the leading scorer in either of the last two playoff games that they (Williston Academy) had, they won the Prep Championship that year and he wasn’t the leading scorer, but he was the MVP,” Brock said.
“It was pretty noteworthy because he had done so many different things including passing the ball, rebounding the ball, moving it up the floor. Just the way he plays now, so he was special then and he’s special now. I thought he had a multitude of things he could bring to the table and scoring was only one of them,” Brock added.
As far as his teammates go, Ross has had three fellow seniors along with him for this ride. Heath Post, Jake Jacobson, and Trey Witter all came in with Ross four years ago and have seen his progression to the point he’s at now.
“Well, it’s been awesome watching him play to be honest. I mean, I think his games grown a lot in terms of just like I think it just comes easier to him now. He doesn’t have to work as hard and he’s just developed his game so well,” Jacobson said.
Witter had already played with Ross before arriving on campus.“I played against Jake at Hoop Mountain camp at Roger Williams, we played in the All-Star game together, I actually played with Heath in an All-Star game and with Jake in an All-Star game, so I knew both of these guys were really good players and that was definitely part of my decision to commit to Springfield,” Witter said.
Post on the other hand did not know Ross before coming to campus, but it didn’t take long for him to see Ross display his talents on the court.
“The first day we came to Springfield College a bunch of us went outside behind Gulick, we played pick-up basketball and Jake, I was watching one of the games, and he pump faked and drove down the middle and he dunked it, Post said.
“Then, just from playing with him from then on I knew he was a good player, had a bunch of different skills. It was like Rucker Park, Gulick Style,” Post added with a laugh. Witter also commented on the dunk: “He tried to end someone,” he said.
From a pickup game on an old hoop behind Gulick, to a turnaround jumper in the paint on a Saturday night inside a gym in Williamstown, Mass., Ross has certainly come a long way. Now, he has a chance to continue building on his own record moving forward.
Back to Business
While much was to be made of Ross reaching and breaking the record, the Pride still have over half a season to play.
They’ve gotten off to a strong start at 7-1 and will look to continue that moving forward. Previously unranked, the Pride have landed at No. 21 on the D3Hoops.com men’s top 25 rankings for games through Dec. 8.
While Ross was happy to break the record, he’s also happy to now just focus on basketball and not worry about the added attention.
“It was good to get it over with, and sort of (get) ready to move on in a sense. Just happy that we got that ‘W’ because we hadn’t beaten them (Williams) in our career,” Ross said.
The win over Williams, a fellow nationally ranked team, was big and the Pride want to continue that momentum moving forward.
“Absolutely. It’s a good start. We have played well enough to win a couple games and scrape through and a lot of the things that we’ve been able to do are a product of senior leadership from Jake and Heath and JJ and Trey,” Brock said.
“I think we’ve been mentally prepared for a couple of different kinds of situations and that comes down to senior leadership often times, so yeah we’ve just got to take it one game at a time. That records done and that’s not something we want to think about anymore. It’s just now trying to execute and be efficient and play good basketball,” he added.
The Pride will look to continue their winning ways on Friday night when they travel to take on Westfield State in another road test.
That game will becoming on the heels of a close 76-70 road loss to No. 25 Amherst. Springfield will do their best to get back in the win column come Friday night.