Depending on the type of deal he strikes, Jeremiah Talton can ask to sample all the Gatorade flavors offered or just request his favorite.
The Quincy High School boys basketball team's coaching staff is obligated to deliver.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore forward is owed eight bottles of Gatorade -- one each for the eight charges he draw last weekend during three games in the 49th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament. A bottle of the popular sports drink has been the reward for taking a charge since Andy Douglas became the head coach six years ago.
He's handed out quite since then. Last year, the Blue Devils earned nearly 40 bottles collectively with Talton drawing the most. He took 15 charges, swiping the title of "Mr. Charge" from former teammate Jaeden Smith. At Talton's current pace, no one will come close to challenging that title.
"When someone is able to put their body on the line for the team and take a charge, it's big time," senior guard Adonte Crider said. "It gives us a lot of energy and gives us a lot of motivation for the next play."
Not everyone is willing to go it the way Talton does.
"I'm scared to put my body on the line like that, but sometimes you have to do that for the team," Crider said. "I'm glad he does that for us."
Talton does it in textbook fashion. He squares up to the offensive player, plants his feet and allows the contact to come to him and knock him flat on his back. He doesn't get every call -- he was whistled for blocking last Saturday night against Chicago Leo -- but he gets the benefit of the doubt most times because of his execution.
He opened the season by drawing four charges against Lutheran North, including back-to-back charges at a critical juncture late in the third quarter. The Blue Devils led 43-32 when Talton stepped in front of players driving to the basket. He did it again early in the fourth quarter, and the Blue Devils converted it into a Jack Rupert layin for a 49-32 lead.
"You can tell their momentum just drops," Quincy senior point guard Lucas Reis said. "They think they have an easy basket, and he just slides in. It gives us a chance to score."
When Talton does it a pivotal moment, it's an instantaneous energy shift.
"After the third one, I looked at him and said, ‘I just love you,'" Reis said. "If it wasn't for that, it would have been a closer game."
It was a critical part of an overall stout defensive effort. The Blue Devils limited their three opponents to 32.7-percent shooting from the field and 22.6 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 15.7 turnovers per game.
If that didn't cause Quincy's opponents enough angst, Talton's ability to draw a charge did.
"It took them down emotionally," Quincy interim coach Tom Lepper said. "It demoralizes them and picks us up."