Thursday , April 20, 2017 - 5:00 AM
KAYSVILLE — If you want to challenge Jesse Wade’s abilities on the basketball court, it’s best not to do so around his younger sister, Olivia.
This was evidenced shortly after Jesse, a graduate of Davis High who is signed to play basketball at Gonzaga University, left on a two-year LDS mission to France in 2015. As Olivia tells the story, one Twitter user challenged the idea of Jesse being the best basketball player from Utah.
“I lost my mind,” Olivia said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry in my life. I probably said more than I should have.”
Olivia really does believe in Jesse’s talent that much, but there’s something else that drives her to defend him. He’s her best friend.
She has his back.
He has her back as well.
“We’ll be out and about talking with people and people will say, ‘Gosh, Jesse, there’s another Wade that’s doing pretty cool things,” said Eric Wade, their father, referencing Olivia, a Davis High junior committed to play soccer at BYU.
“He’ll say, ‘No question she’s the best athlete in the family.’”
When Jesse came through the airport terminal upon arriving home on April 11, Olivia said she was “bawling so hard.”
“I don’t think I could get a word out for 10 minutes,” Olivia said. “Seeing your best friend after two years was the most incredible moment I’ve ever lived.”
According to their father, Jesse and Olivia have always been close. The notion of a sibling rivalry doesn’t really exist with them (although Jesse does occasionally like to hold it over Olivia that he holds the family record for most goals scored in a soccer game).
There’s only support and love.
“She’d go rebound for me and when we’d go on the soccer field, Olivia would run circles around me,” Jesse said.
Jesse is trying to get back into top basketball shape as he prepares to play at Gonzaga, which recently lost to North Carolina in the national championship game, and Olivia has been right there to rebound for him.
While the two will be playing for rival West Coast Conference schools, Eric Wade said the two will put their support for each other ahead of their allegiance to their school. When BYU plays Gonzaga on the basketball court, Olivia will be there to support Jesse. When BYU plays Gonzaga on the soccer field, Jesse will be there to support Olivia.
“As a family, we’ve always been supportive of every other individual in the family and their activities,” Eric Wade said. “Whether it be a basketball game or a football game or a soccer game or a play … as a family, we’ve felt it was important to support each other in the things they were doing.”
Jesse, who averaged 26.8 points per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field, 44.9 percent from 3-point range and 85.6 percent from the free-throw line as a senior at Davis during the 2014-15 school year, doesn’t seem to have missed a beat since returning home.
According to his father, Jesse took between 600 and 700 shots during a recent trip to the gym, mostly 3-pointers, and “made about 80 percent of them.”
Jesse says he has never doubted his ability to return strong after so much time away from the game.
“I was never once worried about losing any talent because I know where that talent comes from,” Jesse said.
Although Jesse will be a freshman next season, his father made note of junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss’ decision this week to declare for the NBA draft and sign with an agent.
“He looks as that as an opportunity to step into a top-ranked program from the beginning and make a mark,” Eric Wade said.
Challenge him at your own peril.
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