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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 4 months ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Jaden Huygens

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The First Academy junior scored his 1,000th career point in high school for the Royals in January.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Jaden Huygens transferred to The First Academy for his junior season and already has been making an impact on the Royals’ basketball team this season after transferring from Cornerstone Charter. He leads the team in points per game, steals per game and rebounds per game and has set the Royals up for success in the postseason with two games remaining on the regular-season schedule. Huygens scored his 1,000th high school career point Jan. 21 during TFA’s 47-41 loss to Bishop Moore Catholic High School. 

What brought you to TFA? 

Whenever I played here, you could walk into the gym and could tell right away that it’s a different kind of atmosphere; they really take pride in athletics. The fact their baseball team won the state championship and had nine (Division I) commits helped push me that way, too. My dad also always liked the school. It’s different than a lot of schools, such as we take one Bible course. It’s a different kind of school atmosphere; the kids are really nice and always reach out to you if you need help. 

What was the adjustment period like for you? 

When I had officially transferred here, I played with the team in the summer. Coach had seen me play a lot and knew what I was capable of, so we had some good talks with the team. As far as being able to play, they accepted me easily once I showed them what I could do. 

Describe your play style as a guard. 

With injuries to the team this season, I’ve had to shoot the three a little more than I normally would. Usually, I play more of a mid-range, over-the-rim kind of a game. I’d say my game is a bit like Terry Rozier, because he’s explosive, but he also knows how to score really well. I’ve had to play a big role here to get points on the board for us. 

How do you anticipate the rest of the regular season to go to set you guys up for playoffs? 

The rest of our schedule seems easy to set us up into districts. I expect to go on a bit of a run to get us into districts. We’d likely play Foundation Academy in the second round, which would be a good game. If we can make it through that, we play Windermere Prep, whom we didn’t play well against the first time, so we’ll have a chip on our shoulder to show people what we’re capable of. 

Favorite class at TFA? 

My English class. I’m not an English guy, but my teacher helped open it up to actually learning how to write rather than a teacher expecting you to know how to write. He’s actually teaching you how to analyze when you’re reading and with how to get the best score on the SAT you can. 

You recently scored your 1,000th career point. Tell me what that feeling was like. 

It felt great. When I first started playing varsity, my dad and I set a goal to hold the record at Cornerstone for scoring. I set it last year and still have it, which was a cool thing. I planned to get my 1,000th point in my junior year. I know a lot of good players may get 1,000 points, but they won’t get it their junior year. I wanted to show I was capable to do that. 

Favorite basketball team? 

Iowa. I like college basketball more than the NBA, plus my family’s from Iowa, so we’re huge Hawkeye fans. I love how they play; they’re a very underrated team. Hopefully they have a run this year. 

Favorite movie? 

“American Outlaws” – It’s funny, and I like the way the action was presented in the movie. I’ve always liked it since I was young. 

TV or Netflix show you are watching right now? 

“How I Met Your Mother” – I started on season 1, and now I’m up to season 8. 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go? 

Bora Bora. 

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Chris Martucci was the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in digital media...

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