Rifle’s Boone wins PI’s Athlete of the Month
Rifle senior forward Jacob Boone is a relatively quiet person, both on and off the floor. However, his play — and future aspirations — speaks volumes as to just who the 6-foot-6-inch forward is.
Although the Bears boys basketball team has gotten off to a slow start this season breaking in a host of new starters under Head Coach Roger Walters, Boone has been the consistent driving force, averaging nearly a double-double while scoring over 20 points in almost every game this season.
“He’s really come out of his shell since his freshman year, and I’m really proud of him for that,” Walters said. “He’s trying really hard to be a leader for this young team. He’s a lot more aggressive on the floor. He was super passive early in his career, but he’s become much more aggressive and has really asserted himself.”
Not one to worry about stats or accolades though, Boone just likes to play basketball and try to help his team win on any given night. Although on a nightly basis Boone can fill it up, he just simply doesn’t care what he finishes with as long as the Bears come out on the right side of the game.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m playing pretty well, but ultimately we’re just trying to get wins here,” Boone said before a recent practice. “My part is to try to score the ball and to distribute the ball when the double team comes.”
There are times when Boone can simply take over the game with his ability to score inside and outside, showing off his toughness inside and his soft shooting touch from beyond the arc. But for as much as he can gain headlines for what he does on the floor, Boone would much rather spend time away from recognition, whether that’s in the wood or along the banks of a river or lake. In fact, Boone’s passion resides more in outdoor recreation, as does working with his hands as a welder or technician, than it does with sports.
“He is really gifted when it comes to welding and working with his hands, but the passion is really with hunting and fishing,” Walters said. “The glow really starts to come to him when he gets on those subjects, because that’s what he loves and that’s what really drives him.”
Just last year Boone was featured in the PI’s Scene section as an artist spotlight due to his work as a welder. In 2016, Boone took welding courses through Colorado Mountain College, which seemed to stoke a passion for him with a torch in his hand.
“Yeah, I like welding a lot. It’s a lot of fun for me,” Boone said. “I like building stuff with my hands, but I don’t have a welding class this year so I’ve sort of shied away from it. I know a couple of people outside of school that still weld, so if I need to fix something or want to make a cool gift I can still do it.”
The process of starting from scratch and seeing something you’re working on directly come into focus is the part of welding that really intrigues Boone.
“It’s something cool that a lot of people don’t know how to do,” Boone said. “To me, it’s all about the struggles and having to start something over or redo it just make a piece that looks cool is what really interests me.”
Despite being one of the top players in the 4A Western Slope League, Boone really doesn’t see basketball as part of his future. Due to his work with his hands off the floor, the senior wants to go to a trade school in Denver and learn how to become an electrician or a heating and cooling technician.
“School really isn’t my thing; I don’t really like to be in classrooms deep in books because I learn better with my hands,” Boone said. “I want to go to a trade school and get out with my trade certification and get on with whatever it is I’m doing. It’s not that I don’t like school and don’t want to play basketball, it’s just that I know I’ll be doing a trade with my hands as my career and I want to get into that. Plus, I’m not a big fan of cities and tons of people, and that seems to be what all the good schools are like. That’s just not me.”
With that statement, it’s also easy to see why Boone would much rather prefer to be in the woods hunting or dropping a line into water instead of doing other typical things for a high school senior in the valley.
“Just being in the woods and it being just me and God is pretty cool,” Boone said. “All of my friends hunt and fish as well and like being in the outdoors. Growing up in Rifle, there’s not much to do, so there’s a lot of hunting and fishing to do, and I enjoy it. I wouldn’t want to grow up anywhere else. This is what I grew up to do.”
Although he’s made a name for himself in the valley due to basketball, there’s so much more to Boone off the floor, and for that, he’s very deserving of the PI’s Athlete of the Month award.
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