Chelsea's Jake Stephens signs with the University of North Georgia


Jake Stephens going to the hoop. photo by Mike Williamson

A sigh of relief, but also a good feeling is how Chelsea student-athlete Jake Stephens described his recent signing with the University of North Georgia, where he will attend school and play basketball next year.

The Sun Times News (STN) caught up with Stephens, a senior at Chelsea High school going into his final season as a Bulldog, to ask him about this exciting news.

“I feel really good about my signing. It’s like a big sigh of relief,” Stephens said. “I have worked basically my whole life for this moment, and to be able to put the pen to the paper and make my commitment to UNG official makes me feel really good and proud. I’m also really thankful to be in the position I am, knowing how difficult the road has been to find a home for the next four years.”

Stephens and family on signing day. photo courtesy of Chelsea Athletics

He said he picked UNG for a few reasons.

First, he felt really welcomed by the team and the four players that he stayed overnight with.

“They made me feel like part of the team already,” Stephens says.

Next, he said the coaching staff.

“I really like the way Coach Evans coaches and treats his guys, and his philosophy as a coach,” he said. “I feel like I fit in really well to the system he has running. I also formed a really good relationship with both assistant coaches, whether it was through a random FaceTime, Phone, or Zoom call with the whole staff, including Hannah, the Graduate Director of Operations.”

This fits into what he loves most about basketball, which is being around his teammates and the people.

“The team aspect of it is my favorite part,” Stephens said. “I also really like the work it takes to be successful and all the behind the scenes workouts we do.”

Going into his senior basketball season, STN asked him what it’s meant to him to be a Bulldog and compete for CHS.

“My favorite part of playing for the Bulldogs is being able to wear the name ‘Chelsea’ on the front of my jersey and representing the community,” he said. “Also, all the young kids that look up to us really motivates me to be a good role model.”

Looking ahead to UNG gave him a chance to look back at who has helped and supported him in getting to the point of being able to sign with a college athletic team. From his family to coaches, Stephens said he has had some important help along the way and is very thankful for it.

“I would like to thank my parents for putting me in the position to be the most successful and giving me the opportunities to show my basketball abilities in front of the right coaches,” he said. “I would also like to thank my family for sticking with me through the whole process and providing me with help.”

On the court, he said he would also like to thank all of his AAU coaches through the years, especially Greg Rowe, “who put me in the position to be successful, whether it’s in tournaments, or a late night practice in Dewitt.”

“Then lastly, I would like to thank my teammates and my Chelsea coaches and supporters for putting me in the right place to be successful and for providing me the opportunity to be the best version of myself and pushing me.”

Stephens going for a lay-up. photo by Mike Williamson
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