'Storybook' ending for Bear Creek senior Jamie Meyer | Male Athlete of the Year
By TIM WATANABE
Redmond Reporter Sports Reporter
June 14, 2010 · Updated 11:00 AM
Over the past four years at The Bear Creek School in Redmond, the name Jamie Meyer has become just as synonymous to the Grizzlies' basketball program as a player like Kobe Bryant is to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meyer, a pure shooter, excellent ball handler and a three-time Sea-Tac 2B League MVP, led the Grizzlies to their second state appearance in the last three seasons by averaging 19 points per game in 28 games last winter, leading the team to a 26-2 record.
In a tremendous display of athletic versatility, the lanky 6-foot-5 senior, played doubles tennis this spring — on a whim — with his best friend Jake Imam, the defending state singles champion, and the duo ran through the postseason.
Meyer, who had hardly picked up a tennis racket until after the basketball season ended a few months ago, ended up placing second at state with Imam after losing a hard-fought championship match that went three sets.
For his dominating performance this season on both the basketball and tennis courts, Jamie Meyer has been named the Redmond Reporter's Male Athlete of the Year.
"A SPECIAL TEAM"
Coming off consecutive MVP basketball seasons, Meyer admitted that coming into his final go-round as a Grizzly, he knew the 2009-10 squad had limitless potential.
"What crossed my mind was, more than anything, was the chance this team had to really be something special," Meyer said of his preseason mindset. "Every single person did their job to the very best of their capability. That's what I thought we had a chance to do at the beginning, and I really think we did that."
A large part of the Grizzlies' core this year were the other two seniors on the team, Kyle Blankenbeckler and Michael Davisson, who pulled Meyer into the sport back in 7th grade, the year he came to Bear Creek.
"They were playing that year, so I decided to join them and play competitively," Meyer recalled. "We've come through this program together, pushed each other through this. I know I'm not nearly the player I am today without those two guys. Knowing we were able to experience all that together means a lot."
Even Grizzlies' head coach Scott Moe, who took over the struggling program in 2005, saw instant potential in the young, scrappy 8th grader shooting hoops during breaks in the gym.
"I remember my first year here was his 8th grade year, and I had him in P.E. class.," Moe remembered. "During the morning breaks, he, Kyle and Michael would come in here and play a game called '25' where all they'd do is shoot three-balls. From that time on, I knew that kid could flat-out shoot the ball."
Meyer's prowess evidently translated very well onto the court on game nights, as he drained 177 3-pointers during his four-year tenure as a Grizzly, a new school record.
Heading to Whitworth University in Spokane this fall to study Biophysics and Philosophy, Meyer said that one of the things that will stick with him the most was the humility and sense of brotherhood on the basketball team.
"Everybody is just dialed in and we are on the same wavelength about what needs to be done in that particular game," said Meyer, adding that he benefited from "incredible mentors" in his freshman and sophomore years. "It was an incredible blessing... when everybody comes together for one purpose, and is willing to give up everything else for that group."
MAKING A RACKET AT STATE
The only sport Meyer had participated in up until last summer — with any level of seriousness — was hoops. That all changed when Imam proposed the idea of teaming up on the tennis court.
"I didn't believe him at first, it was more like, 'You're nuts!'" Meyer said with laugh. "Jake is a phenomenal athlete, and a phenomenal friend to me, for doing that. It was a lot of fun for us, and he knows he could have gone back three more times and repeated as state (singles) champion."
Meyer, already a proficient ping pong player, began practicing in earnest in March, under the tutelage of Grizzlies' coach Dennis Sherrer, who helped him learn the basics and progress to more advanced skills.
"He's got those long arms and quick hands which helps him at the net," Sherrer said of Meyer. "But when he first came in with the idea (of playing tennis), I thought he was crazy."
It also didn't hurt Meyer to have one of the state's top high school players take him under his wing.
"(Jake) is very disciplined and intense, so we did a lot of extra things outside of normal practice times," Meyer explained. "I found myself playing at his club a lot, sometimes ridiculously early in the morning. Jake is also an incredible teacher."
Imam, who suffered an early-season back injury but came back strong, and Meyer only lost one match the entire season, and it happened to be in the state championship, a heartbreaking 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 defeat during which they were one set away from winning state.
"I was doubting it, as it was a real struggle to gain any proficiency at tennis at all," admitted Meyer when asked if he envisioned a state run at tennis before the season began. "But looking back, it was possible from the very beginning."
Although Meyer will put his athletic career on hold, at least for a little while, to focus on a tough academic load next year at Whitworth, he will always remember the people that helped him develop into the complete athlete and person he is today.
"I have to thank my parents... they make such sacrifices with their time and everything else, and it's inspired me to become the absolute best that I can," Meyer acknowledged. "I don't think I could have asked for a better set of coaches, Coaches Jensen and Jackson, when I was in junior high, got me off to a really good start. Coach Moe is a phenomenal coach, and the staff that he had around him: (Greg) Cheever, (Russ) Schoene, (Scott) Nelson, the list goes on. They're all great guys and taught me a lot about myself as a person and the sport they know and love. And of course my friends, especially Kyle, Michael and Jake... all of those people I had made all the difference in the world. It was pretty storybook for me."
Jamie Meyer's scoring records as a Grizzly:
Points in career: 1,683 (only player with more than 1,000)
Points in a season: 531 (2009-10)
Most varsity games in career: 100
Highest free-throw % in a season: 81% (2009-10)
3-pointers in career: 177Contact Redmond Reporter Sports Reporter Tim Watanabe at email@example.com or (425) 867-0353, ext. 5054.