Toyota Athlete of the Week: J-D's Payton Shumpert following in Preston's footsteps

The Shumpert family (Payton, left; Preston, center; Preston Jr., right) poses for a photo after a Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball practice.

It almost feels like yesterday.

It was 2002, as a matter of fact, when a tall and lanky Preston Shumpert dominated at Syracuse University.

"I see a lot of kids now that I work with and I train at the schools," Preston Shumpert explained. "I'm like, 'you don't remember me but your parents remember me!'"

Now, that very same silky smooth jumper has resurfaced in the form of his oldest son, Payton.

"It feels good to be the leader of the team because I know how to play," Payton Shumpert shared. "So I get everybody else involved and not just myself."

Payton [Shumpert] is averaging 16 points per game through the first five games of the season. That leads the Jamesville-DeWitt Red Rams, who have yet to lose.

"He has an understanding of the game, first and foremost," Red Rams head boys basketball coach, Jeff Ike said. "He's willing to do whatever it takes to help us win."

"I average a triple-double right now because everyone's getting open. I tell them to just get open because I'll find them and get them the ball," Payton Shumpert articulated.

There's a pipeline between Jamesville-DeWitt and Syracuse University, and it runs right through the basketball court. You think of guys like [Andy] Rautins, [Brandon] Triche, DaJuan [Coleman], [Buddy] Boeheim, and now, possibly [Payton] Shumpert.

Payton has told CNY Central, Coach Boeheim and the Orange have shown some interest but it's still very early in his recruiting process.

But, according to his Dad, another Shumpert wearing Orange would be a dream come true.

"It would be awesome," Preston [Shumpert] added. "It's so cool they have the chance to follow my footsteps and make a name for themselves. I told them when they were young, 'don't play because I played, don't do it because I did it -- do it because you want to do it and it's your love.'"

"Everyone always asks me where I want to go to college," Payton [Shumpert] continued, "and SU is always the one big one of mine. It just has a special place in my heart."

With yet another Shumpert coming up the pipeline, look out for Preston, Jr. at J-D.

"Yeah, it's very special walking in their footsteps," Preston [Shumper] Jr. added. "Throughout high school, it's very special for me."

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