By MICHAEL LETENDRE
PLAINVILLE – The newest public school player to score 1,000 points this year, Bristol Central’s own Jaekwon Spencer, has certainly established himself as one of the premier players in the Mum City over the past three seasons of so.
Scoring 1,000 on the scholastic level is certainly an amazing accomplishment and over his career, he’s been the most consistent player for the Central program under the guidance of head coach Tim Barrette and his staff.
And those kinds of skills Spencer have shown on game day just don’t appear overnight.
“What people don’t see is behind the scenes,” said Barrette of the work Spencer puts in.
What looked like a future talent as a freshman in 2014-15 became a reality as he was the second leading scorer for the program as a sophomore behind sharp-shooter Jamil Hornesby.
That meant early morning shooting sessions and long hours with the coaching staff, watching film and breaking down opponents.
“He spends so much time with me,” said Barrette. “He watches film with me, he asked me how to get better and he’s in the gym with me at 5:30 in the morning because he wants to be.”
And when Hornesby moved out of town, Spencer’s role changed as he became the offensive focal point of the team.
As a senior, he’s had a breakout year.
Spencer played in his 70th varsity game, scoring 1,196 points for an average just over 17.1 points for his career.
He’s the seventh all-time leading scorer in school history.
That kind of output has put him on the radar of such NCAA Division III programs as Western Connecticut State University, Mount Ida in Newton, Mass. and the like.
Spencer would immediately contribute to one of those two programs immediately if he chooses to play in that collegiate division.
He certainly has the size to make the jump plus a good outside shooting game that will be needed at the next level.
And it’s the shooting part Spencer continually works on with his coach.
“He asks me, ‘coach, can I get five-hundred jumpers up today? Coach, can I get [another] five-hundred jumpers up today?’” said Barrette.
Spencer averaged 15.8 points-a-game as a sophomore, notching 331 points for the campaign, while as a junior, he led the squad in scoring and upped those numbers to 16.6 points an outing, snaring 349 points that included 23 3-pointers and 86 free throws.
And then this season, he’s put it altogether as a 20-10 guy (20 points and 10 rebounds a game) for the program.
In 24 games played this season, he scored 514 points, which translated into 21.4 points-per-game.
Those gaudy numbers included 155 field goals, 29 three-point bombs and 121 free throws.
Over his three varsity seasons, Spencer has 56 3-pointers to his name and when your big man can go outside of the paint and shoot, you have a special player on your hands.
Barrette certainly knows that fact to be true.
“I haven’t had many kids, minus DaQuan Brooks, who have wanted to get into the gym at 5:30 in the morning to get shots off. So how do I say no to that?” said Barrette
One-thousand-point scorers are not uncommon in Bristol scholastic sports as St. Paul Catholic and Bristol Central have combined for 19 players reaching the 1,000-point barrier including the Falcons newest member to the 1000-point scoring club, scoring ace Mike Palmieri.
Two players from Bristol Eastern have earned that milestone and at Bristol Central, 10 boys have scored 1,000 points for the program.
One of the many trophy cases at Central has an official plaque of those scoring accomplishments, which also features the two girls in school history who have accumulated 1,000 points.
Karin Przygocki (1,066 points from 1985-1989) and Lindsay Hermann (1,051 points from 1996-2000) both accomplished that outstanding feat over the years.
There are two boys not listed on the 1,000-point club plaque – honored in memory of Dennis Hernandez – but for the sake of accomplishments, those individuals will be listed below.
Here’s a list of 1,000-point scorers in Bristol Central program history:
George Benoit (1961-1964) – 1,264 points.
Todd Hasler (1974-1978) – 1,036 points.
Bruce Kuczenski (1975-1979) – 1,093 points.
Deja Dennis (1981-1984) – 1,024 points. He scored some of those at Crosby in Waterbury.
Martin Huckaby (1984-1988) – 1,825 points.
Malcolm Huckaby (1986-1990) – 1,645 points.
Jeff ‘Big Deli’ Salovski (2000-2004) – 1,269 points.
D.J. Hernandez (2000-2004) – 1,033 points.
Aaron Hernandez (2003-2006) – 1,222 points.
DaQuan Brooks (2004-2008) – 1,313 points.
Jaekwon Spencer (2014-2018) – 1,196 points