The Art of Imitation

 

 

I’ve never really been able to place my finger on why — but, it seems to me people get disturbed by the idea of imitation. Society will call you out!! Especially, if you’re in the public eye as “copying” someone else; the ability to imitate exactly what someone else can do kind of means that you are able to do it just as well, right? Well, maybe not in every case but who wouldn’t want that for themselves — everybody wants to be good at something.

There is one case though that makes a darn good argument for the art of imitation. I remember when Kobe Bryant first entered the league, just right around the time Jordan had come back after retiring the first time. Kobe was this fresh 17 year old talent out of Lower Merion high school in Ardmore, Pennsylvania right outside Philadelphia. Man was he confident — he was pretty much everything he was expected to be drafted straight out of high school in the 1996 NBA draft. Kobe was explosive, he could jump, finish at the bucket and could shoot very well — he had all the intangibles that made a player great. But, even I as a young kid at the ages of 11 and 12, could see something in his game. In hind sight I have more of an understanding as to why he may have been so good.

 

 

There will never be a conversation concerning the “greatest of all time” as far as basketball is concerned where Michael Jordan could ever be topped. When Jordan entered the league he set a standard that in my eyes is unattainable for most. Not only for his capabilities on the court but his legacy in the world of shoes, fashion and design. That combination is a force that maybe shouldn’t play a role in the “greatest of all time” conversation, but it does. His legacy is great and will continue on because today’s generation may not know, or have already forgotten what he’s done on the basketball court — but I can betcha they know his products.

Many basketball fans just younger than myself who may not have witnessed Jordan as much as I, have already passed the crown to Kobe and LeBron; it is not my call to say whether or not that is legitimate. As a fan of the game — as a witness to all the greats of today — my opinion is, nah, Jordan is still the greatest!!!

Growing up, Kobe was a great admirer of Michael Jordan himself; he even went as far as to say he idolized “his airness”. Bryant in a CBS interview once stated that words couldn’t do justice to the influence Jordan had on him. Living in Italy Kobe said that all he had to study from was video tape footage of the games that he would receive. At one time he said he would study everybody he could, but then realized that he probably wouldn’t ever grow to be 6’9”, so “I started studying Michael exclusively.” Kobe goes on to say, “And then when I came to the league and was matching up against him, what I found is that he was extremely open to having a mentor relationship and giving me a great amount of advice and an amazing amount of detail, strategies, workout regimen and things like that.”

Kobe in a sense, not entirely as he was and is his own man; but in many ways was a product of Michael Jordan because of his love and admiration for him. His exclusive study of Michael along with many hours of working out in the gym allowed him to develop moves that in the beginning were not entirely his own. If one is able to duplicate another’s actions they are then able to make those actions their own. It is not being a “copy cat” in the negative use of the term — it’s simply the art of imitation!! That art form allows you to take what you’ve seen and uniquely put your own touch on it. It is such a simple concept, and one that people have used for many years to establish their own greatness in this world.

 

 

Over the course of twenty years Kobe made his greatness in the city of Los Angeles, across the nation and even the world with his ability to play basketball. He used a love that he had first for the game, then for a man he could follow and learn from to gain much success. For those of you reading — will you allow yourself to imitate? There could be great things inside of you waiting to blossom from a seed planted by someone you admire.

“A jump shooter is always in the game”

J.C. Barnett III

 

Driveway Battles

I love to talk about the past and everything that makes up who I am as a basketball player. Not because I did great things – not because I went on the play college ball, or pro ball, I didn’t do those things; but because my calling is to give young people perspective. That perspective is — whether it is just a little taste of basketball growing up and playing throughout high school as I did, or being blessed to go on and play college or pro ball – you will never ever forget the relationships that were developed.

Over the years I have met people within basketball that quite honestly have changed my life. I don’t think though – the molding of who I am as a basketball player happened so much any place else than my very own driveway. Friends, family – that’s where you develop a little something called, drive. In the summertime’s of my childhood my driveway was the spot. That tiny court was the venue for many competitive one on one, and three on three games/tourneys.

You know — we become much more thankful when we realize the origins of success… People listening to what I have to say concerning shooting basketball and playing hoops, goes deeper than what they’ve seen me do; I’ve been able to do because of who helped me develop.

Jeremy Rogers was one of the fastest people I knew growing up. Not as much of a basketball player as he was just a naturally gifted athlete — he was an extremely competitive defender and was a challenge on offense because of his ability to get where he wanted.

Sharmichael Allen, known for the abuse he used to take in the post by my dad’s hook shot haha (my dad always gives him a hard time about that). In all seriousness, Sharmichael was one of the older guys who came down to play, was a talented ball player and being older gave us younger guys a healthy challenge.

Emmanuel Perry was a couple of years younger than I was. But, how do I describe this kid – he was at that time the craftiest, most shifty kid I’d seen play. His handles were incredible and he could get the ball up off the glass quickly and finish well defended. D’Juan Perry, Emmanuel’s older brother was not a super tall guy, but it seemed that way because he had length. D’Juan was a lot like his younger brother, or Emmanuel was like him rather, in that he was shifty as well. He could change direction in the blink of an eye and be up in the air finishing at the bucket.

My main man Terrance Story, who of all the guys I’ve mentioned so far would be the only one I’d go all through high school playing hoops with. He was a year older than me in school so having him to compete against growing up was very beneficial to my game. Terrance had size – he was tall and super strong; When I say the guy had a “killer crossover”, that is absolutely no joke. Driveway, playground, middle school and high school there were many victims of his mean crossover drive and finish at the bucket with a smooth finger roll.

And one of my best friends, Marcus Johnson, probably more than anybody was a guy who helped me develop my game the most. He was over to my house every single day — we battled one another in the driveway and we would shoot and rebound for each other all the time. We made each other better that is for sure.

Jeremy Rogers (top left), Sharmichael Allen (top right), Emmanuel Perry (middle pic far left), D’Juan Perry (middle pic far right), Terrance Story (bottom left) and Marcus Johnson (bottom right)

I’ll never forget these guys… For the drive they helped me develop, for creating the competitive atmosphere every day; and all the many laughs and memories..

“A jump shooter is always in the game”

J.C. Barnett III

The Roar

“March Madness”, what an amazing time of year!!! A few weekends ago, Indiana was jam packed with college and high school basketball. As I witnessed the 2017 IHSAA State Finals and the NCAA Division 1 ‘Elite 8’ Tourney, I came to an understanding about something that most don’t take the time to think about, especially as a young kid or teenager. I’d like to give everyone – particularly the young audience – a little bit of perspective.

 

This may sound like a line straight out of the movie, “Pursuit of Happiness”, that’s because it is, paraphrased haha. “You gotta dream… You gotta protect it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” That is exactly my message. It may sound a bit odd to others, but do you know what my favorite sound in the whole wide world is? Beside the sound of my baby boy and girl crying as they came into this world, it is “the roar” of a crowd. I don’t know, I must have developed this love as a young kid when my dad would take me to Kokomo basketball games on Friday nights. That anticipation of  “the roar” as a 3 point shot attempt goes up while the crowd yells in unison “Threeee”, or the anticipation of “the roar” when a talented athlete breaks into the open court knowing he’s going to throw down a monster dunk.. And then to hear it!!! Wow, goosebumps every. Single. Time!!!

 

So, as I’m sitting on my couch watching game after game, I realize:  there are people in this world that will never ever get to experience “the roar”. College and Pro crowds obviously are on a whole other level as far as attendance goes, but that sound, that “roar” was an old familiar sound. Even 13 years removed from playing high school basketball, I can still hear that sound, and it’s something that you will never forget. Seems just like yesterday, 2003, Kokomo’s Memorial Gym on a Friday Night, it was Kokomo basketball program’s 100 year anniversary. Legends of Kokomo basketball were in attendance that night and we were facing an, as usual, tough Muncie Central team. They would later beat us in the first game of the regional, but were no match for us that night. The electricity of 5,000 plus spectators provided us on that special night more than enough energy to get the job done.

 

I will never forget my coach, Mike Wade, calling me from the bench to enter the game for the first time that night. It had been a back and forth game, and as the half approached I could only imagine that he put me in to make a key play we needed to go ahead. That key play, I provided; with a defensive possession on the south end of the basketball court, just in front of our student section it wasn’t long before I made my move. With sturdy, rugged defense I got my hand in on a pass and deflected to a good friend and teammate of mine Deshawn Hawkins.. I’ve heard many athletes say that as they are making a big play they hear nothing that they zone out, not me, I wanted to hear it. So after Deshawn grabbed the ball I had run out ahead of everybody to get a lead down court. I noticed a guy from Muncie by the name of Josiah Miller, he wasn’t far behind so when I got it I had to do something quick. Deshawn and I locked eyes and he tossed it out ahead of me and when I caught it I raced down to do a patented hook layup that a couple teammates used to laugh at me about, but it worked. That last moment as I laid the ball off of the glass, I heard a loud smack that I would realize later was Josiah smacking the backboard in an attempt to block my shot. The ball went in and 5,000 plus went crazy in Memorial Gym to close out the first half. There would be many other moments throughout my high school basketball career that I would hear “the roar” of the crowd, but none would compare to that night.

 

As I sit on my couch watching big shot, after big shot the high school and college athletes were hitting in the biggest games of their young lives, I kept hearing that old familiar sound. A sound I can’t shake, honestly don’t ever want to shake, because it puts me back out on that basketball court. Takes me back to when I would hit a big shot and the crowd would erupt for me, because of something that I had done or a teammate had done. I think about why I was able to hear those sounds, and at the end of every day it comes down to my ability to shoot the basketball.

 

Kids, knowing how to shoot the basketball can bring you amazing opportunities, opportunities just like the one I described to you. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they should be able to look ahead, look into time and see what it is they want to look back on and say, wow, that was a great time. Whether it is good or bad you will be at a point in life where something is going to trigger an emotion, you want that emotion to feel good and not one filled with regret. I’m thankful that I put myself in a position to succeed when I was given the opportunity, for me that was working on my jump shot. In working so hard to be great at shooting the basketball, doing so lead to moments of being able to hear the beautiful sound of a cheering crowd. Choose to be a part of the game in a way that only you can be, everyone has their special and unique place. Doesn’t necessarily have to be shooting the basketball as it was for me, maybe its defense, maybe it’s getting to the basket, maybe its rebounding. Whatever it is nurture it, grow it and watch it help you fulfill some of your dreams..

 

“A Jump Shooter is Always in the Game”

 

~J.C. Barnett III

The JC Barnett School of Jump Shooting Gives Kids A Shot

The JC Barnett School of Jump Shooting has a simple motto: “A shooter is always in the game.” Recruiters, coaches and sports commentators all agree that the ability of a basketball player to shoot and score from anywhere on the court is the key to winning games.

Take, for example, top high school recruitJosh Jackson. The Justin-Siena High School shooting guard out of Napa, California, averaged 28 points per game as a freshman and earned a spot and Gold Medal in the FIBA U17 World Championships in 2014 and the U19 World Championships in 2015.

Jackson’s prolific 50 percent jump shooting from 3-point land during the U19 tournament and his high 2-point percentage made him the No. 1 ranked college recruit this year, according to Rivals.com. He has committed to the Kansas Jayhawks for the 2016 season. The ability to make consistent jump shots sets one player apart from the rest on the court.

Likewise, Steph Curry has captured the imaginations of basketball fans around the world. But what many do not realize is that Curry was not a highly sought after recruit heading into college. He struggled in high school with an awkward jumper.

As an article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out, “Stephen Curry was still shooting from his waist in high school, but his father (Dell Curry) knew he needed to remake his shot to keep up with bigger and better players.”

Curry took a summer off to rework his jump shot and get the ball above his head quickly. He established a new motion for himself in which he elevates only slightly and fires the ball on the way up. The form reduces his release time to as fast as .03 seconds, which cuts down on the defender’s ability to guard the shot. Curry’s training and discipline highlight exactly why developing athletes need good basketball coaching at an early age, which allows them the opportunity to progressively advance their game to the next level.

At the JC Barnett School of Jump Shooting, our mission is to teach the fundamental tools of the jump shot and instill confidence in young basketball players. Our school hones each player’s natural abilities and trains youngsters, 5 and older, and young adults using various techniques, methods and sports theories that build confidence on and off the court.

The game of basketball is a tremendous teacher for youth and adults alike. In basketball, players with excellent shooting skills have the ability to score a flurry of points and overcome late-game deficits. Overcoming adversity in sports shows that, with determination, these kids can learn to overcome any adversity life throws at them.

People like Josh Jackson and Steph Curry are success stories because they learned, early on, the very skills the JC Barnett School of Jump Shooting teaches. These early experiences have made a wealth of difference for them as athletes and can make a difference for you too. Book your session with us today.