Recently, Al Squires, a St. Petersburg barber, claimed, "There's only so many ways that you can cut a head of hair." Obviously, he doesn't know what Pasco High's Jaime Grant can do with a pair of hair clippers.
Grant, a reserve basketball player, is, quite unofficially, the Pirates' team barber, holding shop in the locker room.
"I don't charge anything," Grant, 16, said, "but when I cut (elsewhere) I usually charge $2 or $3. I make about $30, $35 a week.
It's good pocket change and it gives me something to do."
Grant, who lives in Lacoochee, started cutting hair two years ago when his brother, Julious, returned to Bethune-Cookman College. "I figured I had to learn how to cut or I'd have an afro," Jaime said.
On game day, Grant said, he "cuts at least 10 heads of hair in two hours' time." Mind you, these haircuts aren't basic, like the Marine-style crewcut.
Grant has cut and created enough styles in the Pasco varsity players' hair that they're a walking African-American male haircut catalog. In a game recently at Zephyrhills, Grant's custom-made haircuts were all on display: Grant checked into the game in the second quarter with the high-top fade (the top portion of the hair stands three inches upward, formed into a perfect box) or the "Big Daddy Kane."
"He's my favorite rap artist and he wears this style," Grant said.
Grant's haircut had two steps - actual simulated stairs - along with five stripes on the right front side.
Van Wilson, who also entered the game in the second quarter, sported the low-top fade (the smaller variety of the high-top fade). "I plan to let it grow into a high-top," Wilson said.
The Belton brothers - Darryl and Ramon - sported two different styles of fades. Darryl, a starter, wears a bald fade, while Ramon sports the high-top variety with two tiger stripes circling his head.
Both have four-inch tails - a thin strand of braided hair - on the back of their hair-dos. By the way, Ramon and his haircut didn't get in the game.
Perhaps, the best haircut belonged to Bernard Marshall. Marshall, a 6-foot-5 senior center, went up for a layup. With Marshall's back toward him, Zephyrhills' Reggie Roberts was guilty - instead of playing defense, he was caught reading the inscriptions in Marshall's hair.
Roberts wasn't alone. In fact, during warm-up drills, it appeared some of the audience at Zephyrhills was captivated by the Pasco haircuts.
Marshall's inscription in his hair read: "Nike, Just Do It," complete with a small Nike trademark "swoosh." It was clear enough to read.
"We should send him (Marshall) to Nike and get him paid for that," said Pasco coach Willie Broner, referring to Marshall's cut.
Marshall thought briefly and then his eyes lit up. Move over, Bo Jackson, here comes Marshall.
"It only took (Grant) 15 minutes to do that," said Marshall, whose hair has had 2-COOL, among other things, cut into the back.
Marshall could hardly wait until his next sitting with Grant: "Next time, I'm thinking about having him cut me an Avia (the shoe brand of choice for the Pirates) mark in my head."
Although Grant handles the hair clippers as if they were a basketball, he does encounter occassional difficulty. Several weeks ago, Grant cut the word "Flight" into the back of the hair of Mike Johnson - in script. Johnson, a freshman, is a member of the Pasco junior varsity basketball team.
"That was the hardest to do so far," Grant said, "and it took me 30 minutes to finish. But I try to give them what they want. Lots of my ideas come from the rap artists."
For the various half designs the Pasco basketball players have in their hair, the average barber would charge $5 every half-hour. And he would take an estimated two hours to complete the haircut.
High-top, low-top, hill-top fades. Steps, and the whop (style worn by rap singer Bobby Brown). Today, Broner, who likes his team's haircuts and hair designs, needs a glossary to keep up with the different styles. "A long time ago, we called what a fade is today a bowl cut," Broner said.
But Broner doesn't hassle his players for their latest fad.
"As long as their hair is neat and it says nothing derrogatory," said Broner, stroking his hair.
Broner also is a regular customer for Grant. "It shows originality. As long as it doesn't cover up their ears," he added.
Wilson puts the hairy situation into perspective. "I'm going to have to grow out of it, because I leave on Aug.27 for the Navy."