Home Cinnaminson News JP Rickus becomes Cinnaminson boys basketball’s king from beyond the arc

JP Rickus becomes Cinnaminson boys basketball’s king from beyond the arc

Years of practice and hard work resulted in Rickus setting a Cinnaminson school record for most career three-point attempts.

When it comes to hitting shots from beyond the arc, no one in the history of the Cinnaminson High School boys basketball program has done it more than senior JP Rickus.

In a Jan. 12 game against South Brunswick High School, Rickus made his 134th three-point shot to break the school record for most career three-pointers. The previous mark of 133 was held by 2014 Cinnaminson graduate Jackson Merget. Entering last Thursday’s game against Florence Township High School, Rickus’ career three-pointer mark was at 145.

How does one make so many three-pointers in a span of less than four seasons? For Rickus, it’s a combination of factors, including working with the right coaches, understanding his role in the Pirates’ offense, and thousands upon thousands of shots in practice.

A basketball player since he was in first grade, Rickus attended a number of clinics as a kid to refine his game. Upon starting the sport, Rickus said he fell in love with the art of shooting and focused on that aspect of his game the most. Rickus would attend Hall of Fame basketball coach Herb Magee’s shooting camps and also spent time working with Kevin Walls, one of Camden High School’s all-time greats who was one of the top high school players in the country in the 1980s.

“To start off, it was going to Herb Magee’s camps to learn the fundamentals,” Rickus said. “Then it was Kevin showing me different drills to improve and fixing the little pointers with my shot, and then going with my dad to the gym and putting up hundreds and hundreds of shots.”

“There’s no doubt his work ethic has led him to where he is today, especially with his dad as well, he’s put him in so many leagues over the years and clinics,” Cinnaminson head coach Mike Fries said. “He’s excelled tremendously.”

Beginning in fifth grade, Rickus began playing on courts with a three-point line. At that point, Rickus began tossing up threes and has never stopped.

When asked about the secret to his success, Rickus feels he was able to simply find a comfortable shooting form where he could hit his shots consistently. Rickus added he doesn’t believe there is such a thing as perfect form, stating each player needs to figure out what works for them.

“When shooting the basketball, it starts with having good mechanics,” Rickus said. “Starting with a solid foundation is great when you’re starting something. So having the proper footwork, the proper balance, the right body position when you shoot the basketball. Also, it’s being consistent and finding what works for you.”

Rickus doesn’t believe he could have the success he does on the perimeter without the help of his teammates. Inside scoring threats such as Chad Howard and Ahmad Gantt help to open up the perimeter for Rickus.

“When we look to go to the post and our big guys and (the opposition) doubles down, it opens up a lot for him,” Fries said. “Especially setting the screens for him up top, he gets wide open shots.”

“Chad, his ability to handle the basketball and get inside the paint really collapses the defense and gets all of the eyes on him,” Rickus said.

Rickus said he was proud of his accomplishment after setting the record following the Jan. 12 game, but added that moment is now in the past. Rickus wants nothing more than to win a state championship and believes, with an experienced team, Cinnaminson has the ability to reach that goal in 2019.

“I never want to focus on individual success,” he said. “I’d rather our team win a state championship and have that memory than have an individual record.”

After his playing career is done, Rickus wants to teach what he knows about shooting to others. Outside of basketball season, Rickus works in Cinnaminson Memorial School’s School-Age Child Care program and watches as elementary school students dribble around the court and try to hit their own shots. Rickus talks of how he encourages them and will sometimes lift the youngest kids who can’t reach the rim into the air so they can make a shot.

“After my individual playing career, (I want to) be able to work with young kids, anyone up from first grade all the way up through high school and college and professional athletes, (and) help other people to fulfill their potential in the game of basketball,” Rickus said.

Exit mobile version