If someone had told Javin Montgomery-DeLaurier when he was a little kid that by age 16 he’d already be on the receiving end of more than a dozen scholarship offers to play college basketball, he probably would have laughed.
“I was still growing really fast when I was 10, and I was really clumsy,” Javin said, pointing to his size-19 feet. “I’ve always played sports, but the coordination wasn’t always there.”
Clearly, Javin caught up to his towering height of 6’9″, as the power forward at St. Anne’s-Belfield School has become a leader on the basketball team and a highly sought-after recruit for schools like Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Richmond. The STAB junior said he doesn’t yet know where he wants to go to school come 2016. A science whiz whose current favorite class is AP biology (and who also plays viola in the orchestra), he’s considering pre-med, but at this point he’s just taking it all in.
“I’m just really grateful for all the opportunities,” Javin said. “I’m not going to analyze it all until after the season, but I’ll be looking at both the academics and the basketball program. It’ll be whatever’s the best fit for me, on and off the court.”
For Javin’s mom C’ta Michaelson-DeLaurier, who makes the hour-long drive from the family’s Nelson County farm to STAB each day, basketball is about more than just physical activity. As the mother of four boys, she’s grateful for any outlet for all that energy and testosterone, but it’s also given her eldest son a sense of focus.
“Beyond the obvious physical benefits, it can provide an opportunity for real production, introspection and reflection as well,” she said. “Kids exist in that moment, focusing only on that task during competitive play, working towards a favorable outcome. Then afterwards, at least in Javin’s case, he processes what he thinks he can do differently to enhance overall play.”
Javin’s been an athlete for most of his life, but it wasn’t until the last few years that he started channeling the majority of his energy into basketball. He used to spend time on the football and baseball fields too, but as a freshman at STAB, he decided to focus his athletic efforts on the basketball court. When he wasn’t dunking for his high school team, he and his family were schlepping to Washington, D.C., or Richmond for him to to play on an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) boys’ basketball team.
“That was a two-and-a-half-hour trek every weekend for me and my family,” Javin said of his experience on the D.C. team. “That was definitely a big moment when I decided, if we’re going to do this, I’m going to have to commit to this.”
AAU may have eaten up a good chunk of his weekends, but it also sent him all over the country—Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Vegas—for tournaments and championships, and put him on the court with athletes he may end up competing against in college. It’s a “different kind of basketball” from the local high school league, he said, and he doesn’t necessarily favor one over the other.
“There’s a lot less running and gunning. It’s more of an offensive play-oriented style, whereas AAU is a lot faster.”
Playing for two different teams (which compete during different seasons) has jumpstarted a lesson for Javin that a lot of students may not learn until they’re stuck with a roommate in college.
“You have to learn how to play with your teammates, and you might not always get along or like each other,” he said. “It forces you to put circumstances aside and achieve a common goal. When it comes down to it, you’re not always going to be able to pick your situation. Sometimes you’ve just got to do the best with what you’ve got.”