North's Jacob Zacharias, No. 21, increased his scoring from 11 to 13 points per game during the time he was a varsity basketball player.
August 21, 2014He just went out and played.
It didn't matter if it was tennis, basketball or baseball, Grosse Pointe North 2014 graduate Jacob Zacharias did his best.
He practiced hard and played hard and didn't mind putting in the extra time to make sure he was as prepared as possible to be at his best.
"I loved playing sports and I played sports since I was a little kid," the 18-year-old Zacharias said. "It will be a little weird not playing sports when I'm in college and I will miss it, but I understand what I have to do and that is study hard and do well academically."
He had opportunities to attend Wayne State University and Oakland University, but when it came time to make a final decision, Zacharias chose to attend the University of Michigan, where both his parents, father, Jeff, and mother, Virginia, earned medical degrees.
"I can't wait to go to U-M," Zacharias said. "It will be tough academically, but I'm confident I can get good grades. I did it at North while playing three sports, so I'm sure it will be done in college. I have to get good grades in order to get into medical school, which I plan to do."
He is majoring in biology and wants to pursue a career like his father, an orthopedic surgeon.
Zacharias had above a 4.0 grade pointe avearge.
"The career is very rewarding and it does involve sports," Zacharias said. "I can see myself as an orthopedic surgeon and eventually I will get to that point."
While at Grosse Pointe North, Zacharias moved through the ranks on his athletic teams. He played freshman and junior varsity to strengthen his skills, then made the varsity squads during his junior and senior years.
He made his mark on the tennis courts for head coach John VanAlst. He wasn't the best tennis player at No. 1 singles, but his steady, athletic play helped him win some big matches.
"I held my own and I had the confidence from my coach," Zacharias said. "I struggled early at No. 1 singles, but improved and began to win. I had a lot of fun playing tennis and it helped me with footwork and endurance I needed for basketball."
As a junior on the hoops court, he scored 11 points per game, while earning First Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-Metro East.
Through hard work during the off-season, Zacharias put together a statistically better senior year, scoring 13 points per game. Despite the team's struggles, Zacharias remained steady and played with confidence game-in and game-out for head coach Matt Lockhart.
He made Honorable Mention All-Conference this winter. However, his all-around game improved as he was a consistent contributor on the offensive and defensive end of the court.
Zacharias shot 44 percent from the field as most of his shot opportunities were long-range jump shots. He is 6-feet and 165 pounds, so he had to use keen court sense and an inner confidence to play well since he wasn't very tall for basketball.
"My junior year really prepared me for my senior year," he said. "I learned the varsity game and used my playing time to get better and see what I had to do to be a better player my final season."
The Norsemen didn't win many games his senior year, but they did beat city rival Grosse Pointe South, which Zacharias said was a highlight of the 2013-14 campaign.
Zacharias donned the Norsemen baseball jersey for head coach Frank Sumbera during the spring. He played well and the team did a nice job on the diamond.
He helped the team remain in division title contention until the final day of the division slate and the guys were able to beat South a couple of times during the season.
"I had a lot of fun playing for coach Sumbera," Zacharias said. "He joked a lot and told us to play up to our potential. It was tough to end the season with the loss to South in the district championship game, but overall I can't complain. I had a lot of fun playing baseball at Grosse Pointe North."
Sumbera counted on Zacharias to be a team leader. He went about his business on the field with confidence and in the end, played well throughout his final season on the diamond.
Zacharias also subbed for a travel baseball team, but soon enough he will put away his athletic equipment and prepare for his studies at U-M.
However, his love of sports will take him to the Wolverines' football and basketball games, since he has season tickets to both venues.
"I'm not playing sports anymore, but I will be in the stands cheering on U-M at the Big House and Chrysler Arena," Zacharias said.
His fall class schedule includes biology 171, psychology 111, math 115 and Spanish 231.
"I like my schedule and I can't wait to get to college and being on my own for the first time," he said. "It's close enough to go home when I need to, but far enough away to truly experience being on my own.
"It will be a good experience for me and I am going to take full advantage of this."