Somewhere back in the early 1980's I had a chance to see a really talented kid playing some solid hoops at a little High School in the Sea Tac flight path off of I-5 South of Seattle. He was lanky and long and had a beautiful shot playing as a guard at Tyee High School. He left those humble roots and moved on the the J.C. ranks but never really took off as far as he might have if circumstances were a little different and someone had been paying attention.
Now a seasoned professional Air Traffic Controller with the FAA Jeff Lacey has moved on to have a lot of success in life.
Success in his career. Success as a family man and father of four with his wife Dana. And success as a man who never lost his love for the game of basketball.
Lacey has Coached basketball at the youth and High School levels and has for years organized tournaments and helped at camps with a keen focus on developing talent. At the Lacey family home you can always find a well designed outdoor court, a top of the line backboard and net system, and a rack full of balls ready to get busy teaching the young guns to play.
These past few years Jeff has turned his energies to the Auburn Mountainview Basketball programs at pretty much all levels. And he has turned his energy towards his own kids to develop them into the best they can be.
This season we are seeing the development of the oldest boy JJ Lacey rise to a level that is reaching the offices of many basketball coaches and recruiters. JJ who was short for his age as a younger kid always had length.
You could tell someday he was going to catch up to the rest of the guys.
That folks has happened and the shooting guard is now 6'3" and he has a 6'7" wing span. A terrific ball handler JJ is leading the Lions in 2012-2013 season and in the past couple of games he has really begun to press his talents.
Always a kid to create plays and dish off he has stepped into the limelight to become one of the premier scoring threats in the area.
This past week the Lions won three of four games in a 3 game stretch where JJ Lacey scored 18 pts, 27 pts, and 28 pts. Given his talent with the ball in his hands and his size he is gathering growing interest from colleges.
Now the back story gets a little more interesting with JJ because he is not just a Hooper. While that is his sport of choice he has accomplished something no other kid in the school history has done. He has lettered in three sports a year for 4 years now. Since he was a freshmen he has consistently been a 3 sports athlete. He is competitive in Track, as a Cross Country long distance runner, and in the past two seasons has shown great hands and speed on the football field.
He has also proved he can take a hit and survive the brutality of the grid iron. That is a toughness he can really use going ahead on the hardwood.
"Football was great. All of our guys backed each other up all year long and it was great playing for Coach Gervais (Jared)," said Lacey as we interviewed him at Camas High School in 2012.
Now the "Lacey Legacy" does not stop there. Younger brother Ryan Lacey has been making some real noise too. As a youth player he dominated opponents playing all the positions and grabbing up the same skill set his older brother has. A little different then his brother Ryan has some thickness to him and can be a little more physical of a player as he develops.
Ryan, over 6' tall and only a Freshmen, is on the Varsity squad and is not riding the pine. He actually has started these past 3 games as his brother has made this run. So maybe he is pushing older brother a bit. This development makes him one of the only Freshmen in the State of Washington starting on a High School team so it looks pretty clear he will be one to watch as things develop for him.
The Legacy is only half finished there. Because the third son Quinn Lacey is coming up through the Junior High Ranks. And #4 Jenna who is the youngest is a terror in the grade school leagues. She may be the best of them all. Time will only tell.
There is no way to know what exactly Jeff Lacey had on his mind when he started this little family of his. But one thing is for sure. By the time this group is done the Lacey name will be all over the basketball world in Auburn and the State of Washington.
And what a Legacy they are going to leave.
Any recruiter looking for a blue chip student athlete who has a high ceiling would want to be checking in with JJ Lacey right about now. The kid is really starting to showcase the skills.
Catch our Interview with JJ Lacey from Football Season right here.
Here are JJ's Junior Year Highlights! His 2012-2013 will be out soon according to his father!