MERIDEN — Tim Spikes had an obscure career on the Platt hardwood. He scored just 233 points in 39 games in his two years at the varsity level.
But after a year at the post-grad level, with two years of junior college in his immediate future and an offer waiting for him at Central Connecticut State University, big things look to be ahead for the 6-foot-1 shooting guard.
After graduating from Platt in 2013, Spikes spent a year at the Shooting 4 Greatness Academy in Raleigh, N.C. Playing under coach Kyle Solomon this past winter, he averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds and began to notice a steady improvement in his game.
“It turned out to be the best experience of my life,” Spikes said. “As soon as I got down there I had no choice but to fit in. I had to step it up and play at a high level.”
Stats don’t tell the full story with Spikes. He was one of the team’s top defenders and was often matched up with the opposition’s biggest scoring threat. With the difficult schedule that Shooting 4 Greatness played against, it wasn’t an easy task.
“I played great defense,” Spikes said. “I was on top of our press and we played some intense defense.”
The prep school finished with 25-9 record.
This year, Spikes will be heading for his first of two years at Wake Tech Community College, which is also in Raleigh. That means he can continue to work with Solomon.
“He’s a hard-working kid,” Solomon said. “With Tim, it was all about getting his confidence up. He had no choice. He has a lot of expectations on himself because his father was such a great athlete.”
Tim’s father was Rahshon Spikes, one of the greatest running backs the Silver City has produced.
The elder Spikes, a three-time All-State player, graduated from Maloney in 1996. At the time, he was Connecticut’s career leader in rushing (6,876 yards) and scoring (542 points).
He went on to N.C. State and, after college, spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers as well as with NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy and Barcelona Dragons. He later signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, but never made it to training camp.
Tim Spikes lives in Cheshire with his mother Heather, whom he said was also an excellent athlete.
“There is a lot of athletic ability in my family,” Spikes said.
As for himself, Spikes said the prep year in North Carolina brought the best out of him.
“That was a great life experience,” Spike said. “There were also two other kids from Connecticut there, but I was playing with great players from all over the country. I met a lot of people and spoke with a lot of coaches once I started playing down there.
“Things really changed in a year. I’ve come a long way since Platt. Now these next two years are very important to me.”
Spikes said Central’s offer is waiting for him after his two years in junior college. He is strongly considering the offer, but will wait until after a year at junior college before making a final decision.
“I probably will end up going to Central because they were the first Division I school to offer to me and they are so close to home, but I want to wait out and see for a year,” Spikes said.
Solomon said Spikes is certainly a Division I talent.
“He’s a drop-dead shooter,” Solomon said. “He’s definitely a late bloomer. He had a confidence problem. He could be a really good Division I player. He plays great defense and he gives it his all on the court.
“You could see that coming down here changed his life. We got the best out of him here. The sky’s the limit for him. He just has to keep working. He can be something special.”
When home in Connecticut, Spikes plays with Quinnipiac-bound Chaise Daniels and Maloney senior and Tracy Rumley.
Rumley, a 1,000-point scorer, is also in demand. He currently has offers on the table from the University of New Haven and Robert Morris.