Thursday, April 14, 2016

Meriden's Late Bloomer Spikes To Take JUCO route

At long last, Timothy Spikes has penned his letter of intent to play at Cincinnati State Tech. The slim guard developed late, emerging as a high-efficiency scorer (surges to the rim, transition leak out layins, a dependable 18-20 footer) after being known primarily as a defender earlier in his career.

 Spikes, out of Meriden, Conn. grew up on an instinctive style of play. A highly-pressurized wall-to-wall defensive approach wasn't just emphasized--it was preached with an iron fist by his youth league coaches.

Spikes, once considered a mid-major talent, took the rather hard route to the collegiate ranks. While others of Spikes' skill-set and make-up took a nice calming flight to their Division-1 destinations, Spikes took tbr equivalent of a long Greyhound Bus. There were stops in Montana and North Carolina. Setbacks were inevitable, but Spikes' focus never faltered.

After post-graduate stops at StillWater Christian in Montana and Shooting For Greatness Academy (Raleigh, NC), Spikes arrives battled-tested and eager for an instant impact.

"What really factored into my decision is the fact that I'll be playing alongside a great freshman in Desmond Crosby," said Spikes, citing the handle and electrifying playmaking of the bouncy 5-foot-9 Crosby.

"As far as my role on the team, I think it will be based on defense first and foremost. Coach Tate, he said he needs dogs on the court. So, I'm looking to provide on the defensive end to the best of my abilities. My offense will come from great defense and just looking to make the right decisions on the court. Anything that will lead to the win, I'm willing to do."

Spikes, now 20, arrived at a recent realization that he was on a race against time.

 He used the NFL career of his father, Rahshon Spikes, as motivation.

Aware that some regard the NFL as symbolic for "Not For Long," Spikes understood the magnitude of the time factor. He needed to use his time wisely in finding a school in which he could thrive, aa veritable launchpad to a Division-I opportunity.

Spikes said his prep school experience prepared him for the challenges of the ensuing level.

"Shooting for greatness really helped me benefit from the experience of playing against top-level players, playing against elite competition night in and night out," said Spikes.

"It also allowed me to adjust to playing with a shot clock and manage the game better.

There are a lot of distractions that come with becoming what nobody thinks you can become, so prep school allowed me to see what I could do against top players. It gave me the confidence to move forward."

Spikes was very much a late bloomer recruit at Platt High School (Meriden, Conn.), where he played just 39 games.

 Developing a scorer's mentality and enabling his defensive grit to create offensive buckets, Spikes awoke at Shooting 4 Greatness.

Spikes averaged 11.6 points and five boards, emerging into a key defensive catalyst en route to a 25-9 overall record.

Longer hours in the gym made basketball a sustained focus for Spikes, who developed into a dependable knock down shooter for the first time in his career.

Spikes is the son of legendary CT football player Rahshon Spikes.

Rahshon Spikes, one of Connecticut's best all-time running backs at Maloney High, rushed for 6,876 yards during an illustrious career.

He played with both the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers while also spending time in Europe and in the Canadian Football League.

Spikes, who improved in categories such as his catch-and-stick game and overall confidence, said the athletic bloodline propelled him to up his workload.

The killer instinct runs in his genes, after all.

"It gave me a lot of motivation because I got to witness my father play professionally and make it to the NFL when I was growing up," Spikes said.

"There's still a lot of work to do, but I'm just happy I've made it this far and am in the right place going forward."

Spikes made his reputation off confrontational, lockdown defense.

After mastering the role of stopper, a multi-layered offensive skill-set began to follow and eventually blossom.

The combination helped Spikes garner interest from Division-I Central Connecticut State University, which recently hired Donyell Marshall to replace Howie Dickenman.

 Liberty University, another Division-I program, also expressed interest in Spikes.

Surrounding himself with top-profile competition has bolstered Spikes' hunger for the game.

He spent many summers playing against Chaise Daniels, now a bruising forward at Quinnipiac.

Raheim Robinson, a high-octane and high-scoring guard out of Hartford, is another local talent who has helped spur Spikes' quick development.