Jacquez Fountain's ability to dominate games in the interior went a long way towards helping the recent Cass High graduate earn Daily Tribune News boys basketball player of the year honors this past season.
It was Fountain's athleticism in the open court that most often led to his signature plays, including a dunk against Hiram that was featured by Overtime — a Twitter account dedicated to basketball highlights.
His overall game landed him on the radar of Albany Tech and led to Fountain signing with the JUCO program after averaging 18 points and nine rebounds per game in his only season at Cass.
“We think he’ll be a great piece,” Albany Tech head coach Sylvester Patterson said of Fountain, following his June 20 signing ceremony. “He was already doing some of the things we like to do. The fact that he’s athletic, he’s long, good wingspan. He falls into a lot of the categories of what we like to do. I think he’s going to fit right in.”
Even still, the Titans project to see some of the skills the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Fountain utilized from time to time with the Colonels, including his 3-point shooting and dribbling, become major assets at the collegiate level.
“He was versatile,” Patterson said. “He could put the ball on the floor, stretch the floor and shoot 3s.
"We like to shoot a lot of 3s, and we like our forwards to be mobile and go end to end. He really showed that on tape. I talked to a couple of coaches in his league, and they were really high on him. They said he was an explosive scorer, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Meanwhile, Fountain, who garnered first-team all-Region 7-AAAAA recognition, is looking for a chance to improve his skillset at a JUCO in hopes of making the jump to a Division-I program in two years. He believes Patterson and Co. will provide a boost in his hopes of achieving that goal.
“If you’re trying to further your talents, you want to go somewhere you can show what you can do on the court,” Fountain said. “[Patterson] basically told me, that’s where I’d have a better chance and I trust him.”
Patterson knows it will take some time for Fountain, who shot a solid 32% outside the arc and stellar 56% inside it this season, to transition from his role as a post player at Cass to one as a wing for Albany Tech. That being said, the head coach liked that Fountain will bring a toughness on the boards that his team sometimes lacked during the 2017-18 season.
“We see him as a 3, 4,” Patterson said. “He’s going to start off playing some 4, but hopefully by Christmas or the end of the year, he could move to the 3. … He’s already kind of advanced, where he can put the ball on the floor and shoot the 3. We need to tighten up his ball handling and tighten up his defense, as far as guarding perimeter players.”
While some players might be hesitant to change positions, especially after having so much success, Fountain is definitely looking forward to playing more on the perimeter.
“I think it’s good, because in high school I played 4 and 5,” Fountain said. “I shot a couple [three-point] shots, but that wasn’t my main product, I was in the paint. That will be fun.”
Cass head coach Sean Glaze, who joined the Colonels not long after Fountain last year, believes his now-former star player's competitive drive will guide him to new heights as he takes on a new role.
“He’ll be a very strong rebounding 3, and he’ll continue to work on his shot to be someone who can contribute at that level as a shooter,” Glaze said. “That said, being surrounded by kids who are going to continue to push him is going to be a great situation for him. It’s going to give him an opportunity to build a very different life for himself, and we’re excited for him to have that opportunity.”
Regardless of the time it takes Fountain to fully develop his shot, he will certainly be able to make an impact for the Titans in a plethora of other ways.
“He certainly is a capable athlete,” Glaze said. “He was certainly the best player on the floor a whole lot of times this past season.”