DesJardins takes long road to scholarship

Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona's Jake Desjardins celebrates as Arizona wins the Pac-12 Championship against Oregon on Saturday, March 11.

Every player has a story. Some stories just happen to be more exciting than others. 

For current junior forward Jake DesJardins, one team dinner at head coach Sean Miller’s house changed the rest of his college career and, perhaps, his life after college as well.

At the beginning of the summer, DesJardins went over to dinner at Miller’s house as the team hosted a recruit for the night.

“[Coach Miller] brought me off to the side and said, ‘Let me talk to you real quick.’ He told me right away that he was going to put me on scholarship,” DesJardins said. “It shocked me; I didn’t expect it at all.”


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The hardest part was what came next: not being able to tell any of his teammates about what had just happened for the next couple of weeks.

Men's bball v West New Mexico University
Arizona's Jake DesJardins, 55, passes the pass through a crowded area during the Arizona-West New Mexico University game on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

“[Coach Miller] wanted to keep it on the ‘DL’ for that time with whatever was going on … So, I had to go back inside trying to hide this big smile on my face,” he said.

The first people DesJardins told were his mom and dad, as any son would do.

“I called them and told them I was just put on scholarship, and my mom started crying. It was a really cool experience,” DesJardins said.

With the regular season on its way, what comes next for scholarship athlete DesJardins?

“I’m looking forward to a team that’s really good friends and brothers that just want to get better.”

In his third collegiate season, DesJardins’ mentality does not look like it’s going to change much, because he is still all about what he’s been doing for the past two years on the team.

“Whatever I can do to make my team better is what I try to do. Whether that’s cheering on the sidelines or scout team in practice, I’m going to continue to give it my all. My teammates are awesome, I couldn’t ask for better teammates and coaches. Doing that for them is what it’s all about,” the 6-foot-6 forward said.

He also had high praise for head coach Sean Miller, especially with everything the team has been through.

“[Miller] is a great guy and an even greater coach. He’s taught me a lot about the game of basketball, and he’s always there for his guys. I’ve really appreciated him over these past few years,” DesJardins said.

Like any hard worker, DesJardins is all about reaping the harvest of his work.

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“It shows that hard work pays off,” he said about being rewarded with this exciting opportunity.

Off the court, DesJardins enjoys hanging out and bonding with his teammates.

“Whether it’s going to lunch, going to dinner, going to shoot extra shots, there is always a group of people that want to hang out. I’ve never had quite a bond of brotherhood like this,” he said.

Men's bball v Chaminade
Arizona's Jake DesJardins cheers on his team during the Arizona-Chaminade exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

One of the other things DesJardins enjoys when he’s not in class or playing basketball is beating his teammates in the extremely well-known video game Fortnite.

He enjoys “squadding up” with a group of four teammates and releasing his inner child. 

In addition to playing the game, DesJardins enjoys watching well-known Fortnite players, including NickMerks and Ninja, play online.

With the loss of some key players from last season, DesJardins and the Wildcats are still looking to make a big run at the 2018-2019 men’s basketball season.

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