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Westtown junior Jahmare Memphis turning into key piece for Moose

12/14/2023, 2:45pm EST
By Mike Livingston

Mike Livingston (@liv_twts22)

CHESTER. Pa. — The CDC recommends between seven and 10 hours of sleep for the average teenage boy. However, most teenage boys don’t listen to doctors, including Westtown guard Jahmare Memphis.

Memphis struggled to find a regular sleep schedule during his freshman and sophomore years at Westtown, but it wasn’t for the reason many would think. 

“He is a really committed student so he was staying up late to do a lot of homework to keep his grades up, so we told him to cut out 30 minutes of shooting and [get] an additional 30 to 60 minutes a night of sleep,” Westtown coach Seth Berger said. “And it has made a tremendous amount of difference for him.” 

“He told me eight hours of sleep,” Memphis said. “I started doing that every day and it was better because getting more sleep more consistently helps you be more consistent.”

Westtown junior Jahmare Memphis is thriving as the team's sixth man. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Thanks in part to that consistent sleep routine, Memphis has become an invaluable part of the Westtown roster. It’s quite a difference from when he first arrived at the West Chester private school as a total unknown. He’s changed his coaches’ outlook for him over the last few years

Born in New Jersey, Memphis moved to Toronto before beginning middle school, spending the next four years in Canada. Memphis returned home during the summers to visit family, continuing to build a rapport with the area.

In eighth grade, Memphis and his family made the move back to the U.S., this time settling down in West Chester and starting his attendance at Westtown. 

The guard decided to attend Westtown beginning in 2020, drawn by the school’s combinations of academics and athletics. Though Memphis did have an intent to play basketball at Westtown, he had no communication with the team prior, just knowing of it by reputation. 

“I was aware of him after he was at the school,” Berger said. “No one from admissions had even told me that he had enrolled, I’m not even sure they had told me he’d wanted to come here for the basketball. Then when he got here I saw some film, and I’m like ‘oh great, it’s a kid I don’t even have to recruit, he’s already here.’”

After only a few workouts, Memphis was brought on to the team before his freshman season. 

Memphis saw minimal playing time as a ninth grader, like many freshmen do at Westtown, with senior guard Quin Berger (Bucknell) and junior Seyphon Tripplett (Stonehill) sharing the point guard duties at the varsity level. 

At the time, Berger saw the 5-foot-7 guard as a Division III prospect, something he told the guard and his family as late as the end of his freshman season. However, Memphis grew nearly six inches between ninth and 11th grade, sprouting to 6-foot by the forefront of his junior year. 

“(The growth spurt) changed a lot, it gives me more confidence not being the shortest guy on the court all the time,” Memphis said. “Obviously with building my body, getting stronger, it gives me more confidence to get in the paint and look for my teammates or get in the paint and find an open shot.” 

By the end of Memphis’ sophomore season, he grew into his frame while also establishing a hard-nosed, unselfish play style on the floor. Memphis became known as a top option off the bench who could get a big steal, make a pass, and even make a big shot when need be. 

On a team like Westtown, which has turned out multiple Division I and even NBA-level talents over the years, a story like Memphis’ is becoming rarer and rarer. The majority of clubs like Westtown are made up of high-level college recruits and budding stars, which makes Memphis’ triumph all the more sweet. 

“Working hard always pays off, that’s something my (parents) told me,” he said. “Just work hard and it’s going to pay off.”

Now coming into his junior season, Memphis is looking better than ever. With Division I interest from Maine and Central Connecticut State, as well as lots of attention from Division II and Division III programs, it’s only going up for the Westtown sixth man. 

In Sunday afternoon’s win over Math Civics and Sciences, the junior guard was first off the bench for Westtown, scoring eight points along with four steals and five assists. Memphis continues to be a dog on defense with elite ball-swiping skills that make him basically a sixth starter for coach Berger’s squad. 

“Just playing defense and keeping my guys involved,” Memphis said of his role. “They don’t really care about the scoring, which is great because I don’t really care about the scoring. I just keep trying to make my guys better and get the open looks.”

The Moose will continue to need Memphis well-rested as they try to recapture the Friends Schools League crown this season.

While he’s catching up on more sleep off court, Memphis’ on-court status continues to transition from sleeper to bona fide prospect as an integral piece for the Moose.

“Jahmare has become as important to our team as any other player,” Berger said. “I didn’t expect him to grow this much, I did expect him to be this athletic. I thought he was going to be an excellent Division III player, but now I’m starting to think he’s really touching that surface of being a Division I point guard.”

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