Arizona St.-bound guard Jaelen House is currently averaging 31.0 points per game and 6.7 steals per game through three games at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic (Del Mar, Calif.). Not only has he led FAB 50 No. 29 Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) to the tournament title game, he’s also joined exclusive company as a member of the 500 steals club. See where House ranks nationally among high school players who create turnovers and the advice he has for aspiring elite defenders.
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It’s ironic the steal Jaelen House didn’t come up with led to a miracle basket that handed Shadow Mountain its only loss so far in the 2018-19 season. Defending Arizona-bound Nico Mannion of Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.) in the backcourt in the closing seconds of a hotly-contested game, the 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior got his hands on the ball and knocked it from Mannion’s hands. Mannion alertly grabbed it and dribbled forward as House’s defensive play knocked it back towards his legs in the opposite direction. House had the agility and awareness to spring back to his feet and stay stride-for-stride with one of the best guards in the country, who eventually hit a miracle bank shot at the buzzer.
As House and Shadow Mountain rack up impressive numbers and wins at the 2018 Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in California, it forced us to take a closer look at the Arizona St.-bound senior’s defensive statistics. The son of former Hayward (Calif.), ASU and NBA guard Eddie House had 34 points and nine steals in a 101-75 first round win over La Jolla Country Day (Calif.). After going for 29 points and seven steals, including a late one to help clinch a hard-fought 72-64 quarterfinal victory over St. Augustine (San Diego, Calif.), we took a closer look.
The official Shadow Mountain books listed House with 493 career steals through 99 career games. When you add the three he had at GEICO Nationals versus University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) it left him with 496 entering the tournament semifinal contest versus Foothills Christian (El Cajon, Calif.). House went on to nail six 3-pointers en route to 30 points and the five steals he was credited with, including the swipe with approximately 5:15 remaining in the game that put him at the magical 500 mark in his high school career, left him in special company.
The online Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Record Book doesn’t list individual steals, but House’s eventual career number would be a good mark to begin with. House currently enters the Saturday evening title game versus Mission Bay (San Diego, Calif.) with 501 steals, which puts him at No. 10 on the all-time reported national list which combines the NFHS National Record Book and the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. His 181 steals as a junior in 28 games will have a place in the national record book for a single-season. If he stays locked in defensively and doesn’t miss any games, he might be only the second ever player with more than 600 career steals.
As of now, House is the tenth player ever with a reported 500 career steals, which is quite an accomplishment for any high school player, much less one that has done it on a team that has been nationally-ranked for his entire high school career. Three other points must be mentioned to put his milestone into proper perspective.
One, he’s playing alongside another ball-hawk who has quite an impressive defensive resume as well in Grand Canyon-bound senior Jovan Blacksher. The close duo does help each other on the court and they know each other’s games well, but over the course of 100 games one likely has taken some of the steals the other could get to. Second, House and Blacksher have also done it while leading Shadow Mountain to an incredible 91-9 record over the last four seasons going into the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic final versus Mission Bay. Since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, with House and Blacksher on the court Shadow Mountain has only lost four games. It wouldn’t be as impressive an accomplishment if Shadow Mountain wasn’t that good or if House gambled for steals while not thinking of Shadow Mountain first or if the program’s focus was for him and/or Blacksher to rack up numbers instead of wins.
Lastly, his steals don’t account for the overall impact his defense has on the outcome of games. Many teams simply get worn down in the fourth quarter in the face of the relentless pressure defense the Matadores bring the entire game. House’s attitude towards defense also rubs off on teammates and makes them pick up their own defensive awareness. There is no telling how many other turnovers he creates as ball-handlers lose the ball out of bounds, forces a 10-second call in the backcourt or draws a charging call on a potent offensive player.
A perfect example of the latter occurred during Shadow Mountain’s 81-59 semifinal win (FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS) over Foothills Christian. With 3:40 remaining in the second period, House drew a charging foul on Foothills’ most skilled offensive player, Derrick Carter-Hollinger. It was his third foul and it had a huge impact on the outcome of the game because Carter-Hollinger was called for a technical foul with 4:13 remaining in the third quarter and his fifth and disqualifying foul less than a minute and a half later. Although it wasn’t a steal, House defensive play was a game-changer
The national career leader with 719 steals is NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, likely the best point guard California has ever produced and still one of the most dominant high school guards we’ve ever covered. Kidd racked up steals because he was such a great on-ball defender who could dominate both ends of the floor with speed, strength, and instincts. Similar to House, Kidd was as fast as his peers were without the ball as he was dribbling it and had great stamina, but we’re talking about a ball hawk who was 6-foot-4, 205-pounds as a high school senior. What put Kidd alone in the 700 club was his freshman season when he averaged 5.3 spg to go along with 17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 8.8 apg and 1.8 bpg and his monster senior season. It may be a very long time before anyone challenges Kidd’s single-season (245 as a senior in 1991-92) and career steals marks.
Jaelen House Steal Totals
freshman year (2015-16): 90 steals in 32 games
sophomore year (2016-17): 156 steals in 27 games
junior year (2017-18): 181 steals in 28 games
senior year (2018-19): 74 steals in 13 games
career totals (2015-19): 501 steals in 100 games
Jovan Blacksher Steal Totals
freshman year (2015-16): 82 steals in 32 games
sophomore year (2016-17): 131 steals in 28 games
junior year (2017-18): 154 steals in 28 games
senior year (2018-19): 51 steals in 13 games
career totals (2015-19): 418 steals in 101 games
All-Time National Steals (Career)*
719 – Jason Kidd, Alameda (Calif.) St. Joseph, 1989-1992 (129)
598 – Leroy Carter, Memphis (Tenn.) Hillcrest, 1991-94
592 – Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills (Calif.), 2013-2016
578 – Demaree Hampton, San Francisco (Calif.) Mission, 2006-2009 (110)
572 – Michael Porter, Modesto (Calif.) Christian, 2003-2006
559 – Jaydee Luster, San Diego (Calif.) Hoover, 2004-2007 (97)
510 – Jermaine Dansby, Lakeview Terrace (Calif.) Community Charter, 2008-2010 (96)
507 – Bjorn Broman, Duluth (Minn.) Lakeview Christian Academy, 2012-15
505 – Jamey Harrison, Sour Lake (Texas) Hardin-Jefferson, 1990-92
501 – Jaelen House, Phoenix (Ariz.) Shadow Mountain, 2016-2019 (100) (CURRENT)
499 – Dee Brown, Maywood (Ill.) Proviso East, 1999-2002
498 – Kenny Brunner, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez, 1994-97 (137)
496 – Grant Pope, Waterville (Minn.) Elysian-Morristown, 2009-12
*According to NFHS National Record Book & Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book
The cutoff for the NFHS Record Book is the 437 steals by John McCartney of San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln (1987-90), so it’s likely Blacksher will also etch his name into national record book. They’ll be the only duo from the same high school (and incredibly at the same time) on the reported national list. It’s a bit insane to think one high school backcourt can accumulate 1,000 steals in their high school career, but that’s exactly what’s going to occur with the Super Snatch Bros. To do it within the context of winning basketball makes it that much more sensational.