Commentary

Siva continuing Franklin's tradition

Updated: October 31, 2008, 11:22 AM ET
By Brian A. Giuffra | ESPNRISE.com

Jason Terry's retired jersey hangs high above the gym at Franklin (Seattle), while his back-to-back state championship trophies glisten behind a glass case in the school's hallway.

[+] EnlargePeyton Siva
ESPN RISEPeyton Siva looks to follow in the legacy of Franklin point guards.

A 1995 graduate, Terry's career is still revered as the greatest in the school's storied history. And don't think Peyton Siva doesn't notice it all. How could he not? According to Siva, Terry's retired jersey is bigger than the American flag. "One day hopefully I'll get up there," Siva says.

He's well on his way.

Siva, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior, is one of the top ballers in the nation, not to mention the latest in a long line of star point guards to hail from Franklin. Terry (Dallas Mavericks), Aaron Brooks (Houston Rockets) and Venoy Overton (University of Washington) all led the Quakers' offense before Siva.

"One of the reasons I went to Franklin is because they produce great point guards," Siva says. "I like having that pressure on my back of playing at Franklin. I just want to be part of the tradition."

Siva started to create his own legacy as a freshman when he teamed with Overton to lead Franklin to the Class 4A state title. And after this year, Siva will try to add to that legacy in college at Louisville.

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"I really like the way they play," Siva says of Louisville. "Hopefully I can help bring them back to the Final Four. It's going to be a challenge, but I'm never going to back down from any challenge."

Including one from Terry himself.

While Siva was in Dallas competing at the adidas Basketball Experience this August, Terry invited him to go through an NBA-style workout. Siva, who had worked out with Terry before, accepted.

"He knows what it takes to get to that level," Siva says. "It's a lot of work, but it shows me what it takes to get to the NBA and I'm willing to do it."

Willing is one thing. Actually doing it is another. "It's really hard," Siva says.

The workout started at 7:30 a.m. on the track, where the past and present of Franklin's backcourt ran 400-meter sprints until 9:30. That was just a warmup, and the two moved inside to the cooler gym once the Texas sun started searing the track.

Of course, it didn't remain much cooler once they started doing push-ups and sit-ups at a torrid pace. From there, Siva and Terry moved to the practice court, where they each took 500 jump shots. Scratch that  they had to make 500 jump shots apiece.

"He is so consistent with his shot," Siva says. "We had shooting competitions, and if I missed one shot it was over."

The two went through a similar routine again after lunch, adding a weightlifting session to the mix in lieu of running. By day's end, Siva was bent over in exhaustion. But at least he had survived a legit NBA workout. Or so he thought.

[+] EnlargePeyton Siva
ESPN RISESiva averaged 21 points as a junior.

"That was a light day," Siva says. "It gives me hope, though. I see he can do it, and I think I can do it, too."

There's no reason to doubt Siva, who averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game as a junior. He dunks on 6-foot-8 players, blocks shots like a forward, shoots with perfect form, runs circles around defenders and is always looking for open teammates.

But things didn't always come so easy for him. Siva was small growing up and originally liked football better than basketball. He didn't even start playing basketball until he was 9, and even then it took a little pressure from his mother, Yvette.

"My mom wanted to get me away from football because she hated being out in the cold," Siva says.

Once in the sanctity of a heated gym, Siva excelled. He started by playing against his 6-foot-5 brother, Michael. The younger Siva quickly learned how to get around his much taller brother using speed and a little ingenuity. "I would try and cheat and lower the hoop," Siva jokes.

He didn't need to bend the rules for long.

Though Siva was often smaller than his opponents growing up, he made up for his relative lack of height with amazing hops. He threw down his first dunk as an eighth-grader, and he was doing 360s and averaging 13.2 points per game for the state champions by the time he was a freshman.

A rare three-year captain who led Franklin to a fifth-place finish in Class 4A last year, Siva's most impressive skill may not be his leaping ability or scoring. Instead, it could very well be his maturity.

"It's hard to find a kid that's as skilled as him who plays as tenaciously as he does," says Franklin coach Jason Kerr. "You usually find kids who are one or another. He's so mature for his age. He has always led by example. At the next level his teammates are going to love him."

But while his skills, workout routines and basketball IQ may be ready for the next level, Siva isn't thinking ahead.

"I'm focused on winning a state championship and getting my jersey up there next to Terry's," he says.

Then it will be Siva adding to the pressure Franklin's next great point guard faces.

Brian A. Giuffra covers high school sports for ESPN RISE.