Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Hot-Shooting Levitch Expanding Role On Prep Scene
This is where Jax Levitch belongs.
Sure, he's roughly 1,033+ miles from his Louisville stomping grounds at Elev8 Prep in Delray Beach, Fla.
In Louisville, hoops is akin to religion.
It is a never-taken-lightly tool for community engagement.
And so Levitch's family, devout Louisville fans, have long been consumed by the perennially-tough Cardinals.
It's certainly rare for Levitch to be absent at the KFC Yum! Center, where he grew up traipsing the sidelines.
From the electrifying finishing of Terrance Williams to the blur-like quickness of Edgar Sosa to the scoring spurt-ability of rugged guard Russ Smith, Levitch has seen it all up close in the damn near Spike Lee seats.
As a 6-foot-6 left-handed 3-point dagger man, Levitch is bordered by even more high-profile talent at Elev8.
The big guard has established himself as a veritable kickout threat, a cerebral 18-year-old capable of spreading out a guard-loaded lineup.
For Elev8, Levitch's penchant for sticking shots under amplified pressure is a necessary component.
That's because this team, deeper and more multi-layered than ever, now entertains championship aspirations.
Yes, you may have heard of Delray Beach's vibrant Atlantic Ave. nightlife, scenic boat houses, beach-side condos, tiki bars, and even the vast number of sobriety homes and halfway houses.
Far exceeding the tropics, especially for a shooter of Levitch's magnitude and range and knockdown responsibility, is the city's new hardwood homes.
While Delray is a long ways from Rucker Park or Dyckman, a basketball culture is slowly growing.
Not only is it a sun-soaked paradise, it's paradise for a 1200 shots per day worker.
Located smack in the middle of a football hotbed, there is the outdoor court at the nearby Teen Center.
There is the oft-flooded court at L.A. Fitness on Linton Ave.
On a given night at L.A. Fitness, you'll find a group of grown men engaged in a heated 5-on-5 battle.
They play with ferocity, as if a national championship is at stake.
Every loose ball is chased thoroughly.
Every shot is contested.
A questionable foul call can elicit intensified barking or even belly-aching.
There are outdoor courts and a newly-minted 94x50 hardwood at Lifetime Fitness in Boca Raton.
Levitch surely is not looking to write a book for tourists intrigued by the game.
What he is seeking, however, is a shiny souvenir on which to culminate an illustrious career.
There were 11 offers on the table for Levitch.
Taking the Prep route provides Levitch the opportunity to pack on muscle and showcase his outside touch on a broader scale, as Elev8 plays a national schedule.
He's worked to utilize the augmented strength defensively.
"He took about eight charges in our first game," said teammate Sandro Noel, himself sifting through a bevy of Division-I offers.
"He's a smart player. Beyond his shooting, he knows the game real well. He's got that cerebral quality to him."
Levitch has budding interest from Rutgers, Delaware, Florida Gulf Coast, Texas State, Bowling Green, and myriad others.
Should his role piloting the perimeter game increase, so will the interest.
Levitch's brother, David Levitch, is a rail-thin 6-foot-3 junior guard at Louisville.
He scored 1900+ points during his stay at North Oldham, where he buried 220 three-point field goals in four years.
Partly at his spindly 150-pound frame and partly at his lack of Division-I offers (Stetson and Bellarmine expressed interest, every other potential suitor was Division-II), David Levitch opted to walk-on at Louisville.
While he saw minimal action as a freshman and played sparingly as a sophomore, his grit and effective long-range stroke garnered Rick Pitino's respect.
In August, David Levitch became one of just few walk-ons in program history to gain a scholarship.
The Elev8/Louisville pipeline is multi-layered.
Levitch learned of Elev8 through former Louisville guard and family friend Luke Hancock.
Hancock, who etched his name in U of L record book lore with a stellar shooting performance in the 2013 NCAA finals, played under Elev8 coach Chad Myers at Hargrave Military Academy several years ago.
Meanwhile, former Elev8 Player Development head honcho Cody Toppert worked consistently with L-Ville product Terry Rozier (Boston Celtics) during NBA pre-draft and beyond.
Toppert, currently with the Houston Rockets organization, helped ready Rozier for the rigors of the NBA game.
You ever see that old Tom Cruise flick, "All The Right Moves?"
This season, Levitch must subscribe to the theme of making "all the right plays."
"He's leading the team in charges right now," said Myers, whose squad is off to a 3-0 start.
"He's become more adept at guarding the ball, he's really done a great job of defensive rebounding. He may not be the most athletic kid on the court. Yet it's his IQ, his toughness, and his shooting ability which translates to the Division-I level."
Rutgers, Delaware, and Bowling Green have been in most persistent pursuit of Levitch. He'll likely decide after the season.