Jerome ‘KC’ West prepares for life after Spingarn

February 14, 2013

Spingarn huddles with Coach Keith Jackson. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Spingarn High School will play its last home game in 61 years tonight against Luke C. Moore in Northeast Washington, but the season will continue after Thursday for the Green Wave, which still have road tests at Phelps and H.D. Woodson next week.

And life will continue to go on for star forward Jerome “KC” West, who has become accustomed to weighing options throughout his three years of high school.

West didn’t play basketball due to academic issues his freshman season at C.H. Flowers, and he said he considered enrolling at the public charter school Friendship Collegiate to play his sophomore year. That plan never materialized, but he found a home under the guidance of basketball coach Keith Jackson at Spingarn, where things have turned around for West.

“I’m showing leadership,” West said. “Spingarn will be the, like, number one for me, because by ninth grade I didn’t have no grades. Now I’m getting my grades up.”

After the season concludes next month, West said he will continue to put work in at Spingarn’s classic gym, and continue to play basketball with his AAU club, DC Assault. But then will come the decision on where to enroll for his senior year; he has referenced Princeton Day in Beltsville as a possible destination. Wherever he lands, he said, he is setting his sights on collecting a scholarship offer to play basketball in college, adding earlier this week that he has received interest from several schools this season.

“I am going to decide in spring… after the [AAU] circuit is over, that’s when I’m going to decide where to go,” West said. “My goal is to play college ball.”

After a terrific sophomore season at Spingarn, in which he averaged over 20 points per game, West is averages 22.1 points a game this season. He put on over 20 pounds during the offseason and is now a more physical combo guard for the Green Wave, who also have a prolific scorer in senior guard Garrett Washington (21.1 ppg). There have been some high moments in the final season of Spingarn basketball; Jackson’s club has won three games in thrilling fashion, clinching those victories over Anacostia, Eastern and Phelps by three points or less, and the Green Wave took talented St. Frances down to the wire two weeks ago in the Maryland Challenge at Coolidge, losing 82-71 in overtime. West had 36 points and five boards, calling it the best memory he’s had while playing at the school. He will be among 10 underclassmen on the team.

“It’s hard for him, just like it’s going to be hard for every kid,” Jackson said of West moving on after the season. “He’s a good player, and he’ll be remembered as being a good player at Spingarn.”

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Preston Williams | February 14, 2013