Wynnewood >> As Friends’ Central School alum Amile Jefferson opened the doors of the auditorium in Shallcross Hall, the memories of where his basketball career began to take flight all came to the forefront.
Greeted by family, friends and former teammates prior to the ceremony May 10 that was going to be held to retire his high school number, a big smile came across Jefferson’s face as he greeted everyone who came far and near to share this special moment.
As the ceremony neared its start, Jefferson got a quick reminder of how special the Friends’ Central community truly is, as the current student body poured into the auditorium to share this special moment.
“It was really cool to be back at Friends’ Central,” said Jefferson. “I was super excited to come back to the place that is a special community that let me just be Amile.”
Jefferson then quipped, “It also let me know I was getting old.”
“It was a special feeling to see Amile‘s jersey immortalized at Friends’ Central,” said Jason Polykoff, who coached Amile at Friends’ Central and is currently the head men’s basketball coach at Earlham College. “He was and is such a special person, and he contributed so much to the Friends’ Central community that it is only right that he is recognized in this fashion.”
After completing a standout high school career in which he scored over 1,500 points and grabbed over 800 rebounds at a school nestled just off City Avenue, Jefferson packed his bags and headed to Durham, N.C. to take the next step in pursuing his dream of reaching the NBA.
Jefferson went on to become a three-year captain, score over 1,000 points, grab more than 940 rebounds, set a school record of games played (150) with 103 starts under the tutelage of legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski, and obtained his undergraduate degree (history) and a Master’s Degree in Christian Studies at Duke’s Divinity School.
“Each step has laid bricks to the foundation that is still being built,” said Jefferson, who completed his first in the G-League as a member of the Iowa Wolves, the farm team for the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Friends’ Central was the first stepping stone, as the community helped lay the foundation instilling discipline, integrity and being open minded. Duke helped me become the man I am today.”
“Amile was always mature beyond his years,” Polykoff said. “It is not surprising that he has developed into the player and person he is today. I hope I have played at least some part in that development.”
“Both coaches (Jason Polykoff and Coach K) have been amazing mentors,” said Jefferson. “Coach K would pull me into his office and talked straight with me. It showed true love. Coach Polykoff helped me since the beginning and has given me memories to remember.”