Houston Rockets: Jae’Sean Tate’s road less traveled
Jae’Sean Tate wasn’t always an overlooked prospect fighting for his dreams. Coming out of high school he was the number one ranked recruit out of the state of Ohio and the number 60 overall prospect in the 2014 recruiting class.
Even as Tate began his college career at the Ohio State University he had already overcome the terrible tragedy of his mother being murdered by a solitary stab wound when he was eight years old. The murder went unsolved for more than two years until detectives reinterviewed witnesses and determined his mother’s boyfriend was the culprit.
Tate spent almost three years mourning his mother’s death without the closure or justice he deserved. In reality, the most impressive obstacle Tate has overcome came when he was just a child and puts into perspective the basketball journey he has embarked on.
Tate likely went to college with his eyes on the NBA. He was a nationally ranked recruit at a big-time school and would have plenty of time to showcase his tremendous gifts. After four years at Ohio State as an undersized power-forward, his name was not called in the 2018 NBA draft.
The disappointment did not last long as he signed on to play with the Milwaukee Bucks summer league team until a fractured finger once again dashed his NBA dreams. Tate, whose father played professionally overseas, decided that to make it to the NBA he needed to hone his craft in an unfamiliar location.
Jae’Sean Tate: Far from home, far from done
Following in his father’s footsteps, who played professional basketball overseas for many years, Tate signed to play with the Antwerp Giants in the Pro Basketball League of Belgium. In his lone season with the Giants, Tate was a key contributor on a team that won the Belgian Cup and was named a league All-Star.
The successful season in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking half of Belgium where Antwerp is located, was a launching point for Tate to move to the NBL and the Sydney Kings. In Australia, Tate hit another level, he averaged 16.4 points and 6 rebounds per game on 65.8-percent shooting from the field as the Kings won a franchise-record 20 games from their 28 game regular season.
What’s even more impressive about his stat line is that he only averaged 27.5 minutes and attempted 9.8 field goals per game. His ability to post gaudy totals in an efficient manner wasn’t the only thing he showed, he also let everyone know that he was built for the spotlight.
In the NBL playoffs, Tate averaged 18.7 points in only 25.8 minutes per game and led the Kings to their first-ever playoff victories. In one season, Tate became a legend down under and proved that the NBA was where he truly belonged.
Next: Tate's magnificent rookie showing