RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) – Catching alley-oops is no problem for Madison Central’s Jayden West. He was catching passes all fall, high pointing footballs as the school’s star wide receiver.

“It definitely helped a lot because if I can jump up there and get a football I definitely know I can get up there and get a basketball, it’s a little bigger in shape and size,” West said.

“I’ve seen a lot of players come and go and he’s without a doubt one of the top three athletes and I mean pure athletes that we’ve ever had here at Madison Central,” Madison Central head boys basketball coach Allen Feldhaus said.

A pure athlete, a guy that can jump out of the gym, and it’s got to be easier without those heavy football pads on.

“I definitely feel more comfortable in basketball being able to jump as high because in football you never know who’s gonna come and hit you but in basketball I just feel like I’m safer in the air,” West said.

West has always felt safe on the ballfield or court, it’s his safe place; has been since he was a kid, growing up with his dad, Jay.

But when West was just eight years old, his best role model delivered his worst heartbreak.

“My dad he used to have high blood pressure and one morning we woke up and he wasn’t feeling that good so we called the ambulance took him to the hospital and he ended up dying from blood clots in his heart so it was a big factor in my life it really hurt me mentally physically,” West said.

“It really hurt him when Jay passed he really shut down he had a really hard time with it for a couple years,” Jayden’s mom Joanne West said.

First responders arrived to the house and Jayden’s dad passed away in the ambulance, the same morning that Jayden has his first youth baseball game.

“He was pitching and I could see him looking at me while he was pitching and he could see I’d been crying and everybody coming up to hug me which made me cry more so it was really, real emotional,” Joanne West said.

It’s been nine years since his dad passed but Jayden still holds those memories close to his heart.

“I just remember him being goofy he was hard on me too he wouldn’t let me do anything wrong I had to keep good grades but yeah I just remember him being real goofy funny big loving guy,” West said.

He always wanted to make his dad proud and he still does, hoping to play football at the next level. He has an offer from Eastern Kentucky to play D-I college football, doing it all for his father who is still cheering him on.

“It’s definitely helped my work ethic trying to get to the next level because I know he would want me to so I really just push and strive everyday for my pops,” West said.

“It would be nice if he was here because I know he would be estatic he would be Jayden’s biggest fan there would be no doubt about it,” Joanne West said.