There will be a Spears in the starting Georgetown backcourt next season, but not the one who has scored more than 20 points a game since coming up at the end of his eighth-grade year three seasons ago.
The Blue Crew and Royals fans will bid a fond farewell to Jaymie Spears, who will leave Georgetown and venture an hour south to Southborough to attend St. Mark's School — the team that recently won the Class C New England Prep School Athletic Conference championship. Johnny Spears, Jaymie's younger brother, will remain at Georgetown.
Jaymie, a three-year varsity starter, who averaged nearly 22 points per game last season as well as more than three steals and four assists per game, earned the Cape Ann League Small player of the year. Spears also led Georgetown this past season to its first ever No. 1 seed in the Division 4 state tournament.
"Obviously I will be playing against better competition with a lot of potential scholarship players," said Spears, who earned a scholarship to attend St. Mark's. "My team has a lot of players that will be good in the future, and being surrounded by those people in practice will make me a better player."
Spears will repeat his sophomore year at St. Mark's next fall, as many transfers and post-graduate high school athletes do, having the opportunity to play and mature over the next three years under coach Dave Dubick, with hopes of earning a Division 1 basketball scholarship.
"I'm also happy about the fact that I will be repeating my sophomore year because that gives me an extra year to develop and work on my skills," continued Spears, who believes he will be more of a distributor than a scorer for the Lions against much taller competition. "It gives me an advantage because now I will have played six years of varsity basketball, playing since eighth grade, and that will be huge."
As for the program he leaves behind, his former coach will be sad to see the all-time great leave, but believes it will be best for his future.
"It's a great opportunity. I'm happy for him and sad for the program," Rowinski said. "As a coach I'm disappointed. I think if he stayed he would have done some phenomenal things here because he's only a sophomore. We're only losing Joe (Esposito), and we have a good nucleus coming back. But he now has the chance to play with some of the great kids from around the country."
Yet for Rowinski, in losing Jaymie, it was almost as if the sophomore was simply graduating and moving on.
"He came up as an eighth-grader when most kids, even if they are really good, don't make the team until they are sophomores. He played his whole freshman year and earned All-League, an award usually reserved for juniors and seniors. Then he won the MVP this past season for the CAL Small, which usually only happens for seniors," said Rowinski, adding Spears came up just 34 points shy of joining Randy Rogers as the boys program's second 1,000-pointer scorer. "It's like he's graduating and moving on."
Now Rowinski will get to watch Spears and enjoy his accomplishments from a new perspective, that of the fan.
"I'll be his biggest fan," Rowinski said. "I know the girls coach says Taryn (O'Connell) was the greatest player ever to play at Georgetown, which the stats will say is true, but Jaymie would have been.
"He'll be missed, but we'll always leave the door open," Rowinski said. "He's always welcome back."
As for Spears leaving behind the CAL, he said it was a great experience playing at a school like Georgetown, but that now St. Mark's was the best option for him.
"I have to do what's best for me," said Spears, who will most likely continue his football career because St. Mark's students have to play one sport every season. "I think St. Mark's is what's best for me now."