Jason Preston had been living with his mom in Orlando, Florida. She was his only family as his father had left their home when Jason was born and there were no siblings. It was his mom who helped inspire his passion for basketball and who encouraged him to watch and learn from NBA players on TV as he tried to perfect his living room shots on a mini hoop inside their house.
Then, when he was a sophomore in high school, he lost his mother to lung cancer, along with what dreams he had for basketball.
An aunt, living in Jamaica, became his legal guardian, but Jason chose to remain in Florida, moving into an apartment with the son of his mom’s best friend.
Jason’s prospects for playing basketball did not look good. He was six feet tall, weighed a mere 140 pounds, and his high school stats were just two points per game.
Jason then was persuaded to attend a prep school – the Believe Sports Academy in Tennessee – which had four teams – A (the best team), B, C, and D. He was chosen for the C team, where he played well enough to restore a belief in himself.
Using film of a triple double, he, with a friend’s help, created his own highlights tape, which he posted on Twitter.
That post got him two offers—from Longwood University in Virginia and Ohio University, located in Athens, in southeast Ohio.
On the day after Thanksgiving—November 27, 2020—Jason, now a college junior, scored 31 points as his Ohio University Bobcats barely lost 77-75 to the University of Illinois. The U of I was ranked by the Associated Press as the #5 team in the country, with Jason competing against Illini preseason All-American Ayo Dosunmu.
In a recent interview with journalist Mike Lopresti, Jason describes his journey of the past few years as “belief and faith…praying to God and just believing in myself.”
As Lopresti observes in the NCAA.com article, “Some athletes take the fast lane, but Jason traveled the long way around, and there can’t be many other players in Division I who value the chance to play more than he.”
Asked about whether Jason will be an NBA prospect one day, Ohio Coach Jeff Boals says, “One hundred percent!”
The coach found a diamond in the rough.
Jason has found a way to overcome adversity.
To read Mike Lopresti’s full interview with Jason Preston, please visit here.
Please click here for a nearly three-minute highlights video supplied by the Big Ten Network of Jason’s 31-point game against #5 Illinois on the Illini’s home court in Champaign on November 27, 2020. URL: Jason Preston’s Effortless 31 Point Game vs Illinois | Full Highlights | 11/27/20