Canadian prospect Jacob Theodosiou was involved with soccer growing up and later started dedicating himself to basketball starting in 7th grade, noting a carryover of translatable skills such as footwork. In 2019, he played on the U15 Team Ontario team competing in the Canadian National Championships. Currently, Theodosiou suits up for the Wildcat Select Adidas AAU program and transitioned to Ohio for high school at Western Reserve Academy to play for coach Pete Hutchins this past season. Theodosiou has had the opportunity to match up against older players, which has helped accelerate his development as an underclassman. One of the main areas of his game that he has consistently worked on is his ball handling, spending countless hours in his basement and utilizing the HomeCourt app for training.
With interest coming from schools such as Indiana, Villanova, Saint Joseph’s, and Davidson, the 6’3” guard possesses advanced playmaking flair, elite ball control, and knockdown shooting capabilities as a lead guard. In the open court, Theodosiou puts enormous pressure on defenses due to his sound decision-making. A rising star, it is only a matter of time before more college programs hop onto the early stages of Theodosiou’s recruitment.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Theodosiou discusses how he started playing basketball, his move to the US and playing high school basketball in Ohio, his goal to make the U16 Canadian team this summer, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Jacob Theodosiou, from Waterloo, Ontario:
Pro Insight: Talk about your background.
Jacob Theodosiou: I come from Cypriot and German descent. That's where my parents are from, but I was born and raised in Canada, in Waterloo, Ontario.
PI: Do you have any siblings?
JT: I have one younger brother. He's nine years old. He plays hockey and soccer. Which is kinda different from me, which is good. I feel like it's nice to watch other sports other than basketball. So yeah, I enjoy hanging around with him and doing different sports as well.
PI: Coming from Canada, did you play any hockey growing up?
JT: Yeah, with the Canadian background. Actually, I can't really skate. [My brother] is definitely a better skater than me, but I played soccer when I was younger. I feel like it's also helped me translate with basketball, just like footwork and everything. It's really helped me. I stopped playing a couple of years back when I started to focus more on basketball, but yeah, I used to play soccer for sure.
PI: When did you start dedicating yourself to playing basketball?
JT: I would say in seventh grade, I really started to just stop soccer and focus more on basketball after I made the Junior Academy [Program] (JRA), which is the Canada Basketball [Target Athlete Strategy] (TAS), like the start for their academies, like going onto the national team. So that's when I really started to say, “hey, I got to get this — these are my goals to play at the national team-level so I got to focus on one sport.”
PI: Prior to Western Reserve Academy, where were you playing?
JT: I was playing out at Waterloo Collegiate, which is just my local high school in Waterloo, Ontario.
PI: What’s the story behind how you ended up with WRA?
JT: Well, Coach Pete [Hutchins] started recruiting me through some common friends that my father coached. But yeah, it was a great school. He reached out to me and he was like one of the... I had some other schools talking to me too, but this one really stuck out. Great school, great coach coming in from division one. And it just clicked. I knew it was the place for me.
PI: Has the transition been smooth in the midst of a pandemic?
JT: Yeah, for sure. With COVID they definitely, they take care of you for sure.
PI: How has it been training and playing during the pandemic?
JT: I mean, it's a little different because obviously we were wearing masks for a while. I know our team, we had a COVID outbreak so we had like a three week pause in our season, which was just like adversity for our whole team, but it kind of just, it made us better — made us fight through. Every team's got to go through adversity to be great so COVID definitely affected us, but we were able to get through it.
PI: Big man Milos Nenadic is on your team at WRA and also from Canada. What’s it been like playing with him and knowing someone from your home country?
JT: I mean, I always knew of him. He’s a little bit older than me. He's a senior here, but for sure, it's been nice to have that guy you can, you know, talk stuff about Canada — that you can always relate back. Talk about what's happening back home. It's definitely been nice. I didn't know him as much when we were back in Waterloo, but now we've definitely clicked and had that good bond and brotherhood.
PI: In early April, you balled out at the HoopGroup Spring Jam Fest at Spooky Nook Sports with your 15U Wildcat Select team going 5-0 — how did you feel out there?
JT: Umm, it's a lot. I definitely had some good experiences playing my own age, playing against these varsity guys, guys on my team, such as Markus Ilver or Oleg Kojenets, they’re going to Nebraska and Wisconsin [respectively]. Like it's definitely made me a better player being able to play against my own age. I feel like I have an advantage playing against those higher-level guys — gives me definitely a little more pep in my step on the court with guys my own age.
PI: What are some of your biggest interests outside of basketball?
JT: Honestly, just hanging with friends and family. Just spending time with others. I try, I would say I'm a pretty social guy. Just having good experiences as well, like balancing basketball and just still having fun.
PI: What apps are you on the most?
JT: I would say Instagram. I use HomeCourt for ball handling and stuff. I had a high score on that app — that was when I was younger. It’s a fun app, for sure. And then just like Snapchat, Instagram, Messages, and HomeCourt. Pretty much those are my top four.
PI: That’s really interesting that you’ve used HomeCourt to improve ball handling.
JT: Yeah. It's been a little harder in my dorm, but for sure when I'm home, I get in my basement and do some ball handling.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
JT: I'm a good Canadian boy. I like some Drake. He’s definitely my favorite artist, gets me ready for some games. Also my pre-game song is Ramble On [by Led Zeppelin], just like an old country rock song. That one just gets me in my rhythm. I feel like those are my two pregame artists and songs.
PI: For those who don’t know, describe a bit of your game.
JT: I would say my strongest parts of my game are my shooting abilities and my IQ. I feel like I'm able to find people on the court that most people couldn't see — and then just shooting. I feel like lots of coaches have told me that if you can shoot, you have a spot on their team. So I've just taken pride into being able to shoot the ball.
PI: Which position do you play?
JT: I have played point guard my whole life. I'm able to bring up the ball. Obviously, I would say I'm a point guard with my IQ — but I’m versatile, I can guard the two or the three, as well.
PI: What are you trying to improve in your game?
JT: I'm always trying to get better. Just fixing my shot. There's always something to improve on. Also, ball handling can always get quicker and also just getting faster and stronger. That's what I've really tried to do, especially here at WRA — we would go in the weight room three times a week in the morning so that's always good. That’s one of my main focuses is just getting faster and stronger for AAU.
PI: Who do you model your game after and study on film?
JT: Yeah. I like to model off Steve Nash and Steph Curry. Steph Curry's really been blown up lately. I've been watching a lot of his film. Yeah, but it's been good watching those guys. I try to watch people who I think I can eventually play like.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
JT: I would say just guarding this, he's on my WRA team — his name is Alan Brzezinski. He played for the Swedish national team dropping like 30 a game. He's a really strong, muscular guy. He's quick. He might not be the biggest name, but he definitely is one of the hardest guys to cover for sure. He's older than me and bigger so it's definitely been good.
PI: What is your recruitment update?
JT: I've talked to Indiana, Villanova, St. Joe's, and Davidson. Those are like the main four that have reached out, just like interested. They called my dad or emailed. Hopefully when you can get kids on campus, Indiana said they would get me on campus for a visit. But yeah, those are like the main four right now.
PI: What have been some of the challenges of being recruited during COVID?
JT: I mean for me, I feel like the older guys have more of a challenge cause it's their year with the transfer portal, everything like that. But for me, just being young, I feel like I could be at that level, but I just gotta be patient. Just get 1% better every day and just, I know it will come for me personally.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player and as a person?
JT: For sure just to make the U16 Canadian national team. That's been my goal since I was little, just being able to wear Canada across your chest would be amazing. And also hopefully by the end of the summer, I hope to pick up my first division-one offer. That's the goal. And just as a person, just staying humble, keeping my grades up, and just being overall that on-and-off the court good guy.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
JT: I would say success is obviously just accomplishing your goals, doing everything you are capable of and what you think you can achieve — like how you think you can accomplish those goals, what you think you can get it to.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
JT: I want to be remembered like I said before, just a good guy off-the-court and on-the-court, someone that people like to be around, just humble. And obviously, I want to be able to be remembered for my shooting and my ability on the court as well. So on-and-off, “he's a good guy.”
Watch the full interview with Jacob, here