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Published: Tuesday, 2/23/2010

Nothing but net in prep star's family tree

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

OTTAWA LAKE - When he was 9 years old, Jake DuPree put a pen to paper and laid out his most ambitious sports dream.

"I want to be just as good as my dad so I can score 1,000 points too," wrote DuPree, now a senior basketball player for Whiteford.

Everett DuPree, Jake's father, scored 1,072 points as a Bobcat from 1980-84, one of many in the DuPree lineage to have had success on the hardwood in this small unincorporated community just north of Sylvania across the state line.

He reminded his son of that note early last week before Jake realized his childhood fantasy by scoring his 1,000th career point in the Bobcats' 75-60 win over Britton-Deerfield on Thursday.

"It means a lot, because my dad always wanted me to get that mark, and he wants me to pass his scoring record," Jake DuPree said. "I did it for him, because he's taught me everything in my life. Not even about basketball, he's just taught me everything, like how to be a strong person."

Jake DuPree has shown his strength on the basketball court this season, helping lead White-

ford to a 12-5 overall record and

7-4 mark in the Tri-County Conference through last week's games.

DuPree, a 5-11 guard, is averaging 22.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.6 steals per game this season.

"He's very versatile," second-year Whiteford coach Jim Ross said.

"He can hit from the outside, he can take it inside, he's very quick, he has good pull-up moves as well, and he's a good defender."

DuPree credits his time on the varsity during his sophomore year as a critical building block of his development.

That year, the Bobcats finished 21-4 after advancing to a Class C regional final, and were led by Jake's older brother, Josh, another 1,000-point scorer in

Whiteford's annals.

"When you're a sophomore on a varsity team, you can't slack off at all in practice or you won't play at all, and I wanted to play a lot," said DuPree, who has received offers from several NCAA Division III and NAIA institutions to continue his playing and academic career at the next level.

"Being able to play with my brother and all of his teammates was really, really fun. I watched them growing up and went to all their basketball tournaments," DuPree said.

Now DuPree has developed a new camaraderie with his teammates, especially the other three seniors on the team - Brandon Albright, Travis Pant, and Chris Roberts.

After once again falling short in the regionals last year, DuPree and the rest of the Bobcats' elders have their sights set on a deeper run in the postseason this time around, beginning March 8 in a district quarterfinal matchup with Blissfield.

"I like how this season is going," DuPree said.

"We're playing better toward the end of the year and getting ready for districts."

Contact Zach Silka at: zsilka@theblade.com.



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