Where Greatness is Surpassed

For many, many years there was nothing that you could ever say or show me that would remove Michael Jordan from the throne, “greatest basketball player of all time”. Recently that has changed, at least been matched anyway… And it has absolutely nothing to do with performance on the basketball court.

You could argue with me all day long until you’re blue in the face that, what encapsulates a great anything – is how one has proven themselves within their art. We all know that the truth is, how we measure who we believe to be the greatest extends beyond that particular person’s field of play. Who they are off the floor is just as important. I won’t get real deep into this aspect, but shoes, clothes, relationships, scandals, philanthropy, etc.; are everything to this society’s perception of public figures. When that conversation arises in reference to basketball the answer for me had always been Jordan. I’m not going to pretend that I never did like Kobe Bryant’s game, of course I did. I’d deny it for a long time but he was the closest thing to Jordan, and I did admire his game and performances.

Kobe was somebody I’d always put on the back burner in talks of greatness in basketball. As funny as it may sound, he just seemed to be too close of a reflection of Michael Jordan. I know, weird right? Honestly somehow in my mind, that disqualified him from obtaining that title because of that relationship. To me he wasn’t the original, so.

 

 

It’s not even the fact that Kobe recently won an Oscar for his new television show ‘Detail’, that changed my perspective on him. After sitting down and watching his show, I came to the realization that he was sharing his brilliance. Hmmm, that’s different… On a large scale, nationally, globally for all to see, not just to a small select group of people who paid a large amount of money. Whoa!!! A quality that I’ve always admired most about athletes especially, is their tenacious competitiveness within the lines, but then to be down to earth and humble human beings outside of the arena. Kobe, a man of legendary status, has shown me that throughout the years. And now, for him to share all the little intimate details of what made him great, his thought processes as a basketball player; that shoots his level of greatness into the galaxy.

 

 

In the grand scheme of things, Kobe’s actions and achievements may seem a bit insignificant. Though in this case he has, can and will change the lives of many young people that wish to grow up and play basketball at the next level. Even those who are already there in the NBA. The integrity of the game has been in question in recent years. Kobe with his new series has a chance to completely change the direction it’s currently going. Although nobody will ever make me feel the way I did when I watched Michael Jordan play. I cannot deny Kobe Bryant and his brilliance. Or even his imprint on shoes, apparel, media attention, fame and so on and so forth. The most honorable though, and the greatest of these is his philanthropic excellence. The passing down of knowledge is crucial to our youth in today’s society. For a man of his stature to do it so articulately, puts him for me, extremely high in the “greatest of all time” conversation. Maybe even number one!!

Autism Awareness Month Event 2018

 

When I first began my basketball program in 2016, one of the very first students I had was a young man by the name of Monjavid. This kid was truly a blessing to me! I knew in my initial meeting with Monjavid that he was a special young man. He was very shy and quiet. In his shyness, he’d turn his head away as he cut his eyes up at me, smiling from ear to ear. He brought joy to my evening meetings with him, because I knew what it meant for him to be there. Although I didn’t quite have a full understanding of what Monjavid’s emotional state was, as I didn’t make it a point to ask, I knew that there was something that made him unique.

What was undeniably evident, was that Monjavid could shoot the basketball extremely well. I mean, really well! I was amazed at the gift he had for putting the ball in the hoop. I showed him the form, and almost to a tee he could imitate exactly what I was showing him to do. I was extremely impressed that it was so easy for him. He was awesome!!!

It wasn’t until after our time together was complete, that I learned why Monjavid was such an amazing kid. His mother sent this to me, “… Because of you, my son, who is autistic, has come out of his shell this year during the basketball season. He was told by so many that he has an amazing talent when it comes to those long jump shots. Thanks to you and your classes, my son has only missed 4 out of I don’t know how many shots that he took this year. So again, thank you, and may you continue to succeed in all of your future endeavors.”

That letter touched my heart… After receiving that message, I had a much greater understanding as to why he could lock in with such intensity and shoot the basketball so exceptionally well. The repetitive nature of shooting the ball is what makes a great shooter, great!! For Monjavid, that was a gift he was blessed with at birth.

I am not naive to the fact that autism isn’t pretty. So many youth struggle with the day to day nature of this neurodevelopmental disorder. But I believe and have witnessed, that deep within those who are autistic there are extraordinary gift to be displayed. I could see Monjavid light up when he began to shoot at our lessons, there was stimulation there for him that he really loved. My encounter with him gave me an entirely new perspective. I’m just wondering how many more share this gift for shooting the basketball the way he does?

Saturday, April 28th from 4-6pm at First Baptist church on the corner of Washington and Taylor St (downtown Kokomo) I’m hosting a free basketball event for kids with autism. This will be a special opportunity to meet, and explore the gifts and talents of autistic children in basketball. I sure would love to meet so many of you who live in or around the Kokomo area. Thank you!!

To RSVP, or to receive more information, please email me at jcleebarnett@gmail.com..

 

HOF Draft Class

When I look back, basketball is woven into an unbelievable portion of the fabric of my life. I can remember just like it was yesterday, hearing Jason Kidd’s name being called.. June 29, 1994 on my 9th birthday my parents gift to me were tickets to the NBA Draft. Look at me and all my siblings, man the 90’s lol.. Oh and in addition to Jason Kidd as one of the newest members of the HOF Grant Hill was a part of this draft class. Ha, look at the jersey I’m wearing, everybody knows who the man was back in the day Glenn Robinson (Big Dog). He too was was apart of this class and will one day be in the HOF. My brother in law growing up in Gary, Indiana watched Glenn grow up on the playground, literally. He said one summer he left home to go to camp and came back, he’d grown 6 inches between his sophomore and junior year of high school. When you have a love and a passion for something, look around you, ask questions. There are amazing, and pretty cool connections to what you love closer than you think..

 

 

 

School on the Move

At this very moment, I’m in the beginning stages of actively recruiting quality young individuals who just happened to be excellent high school or college basketball players. And, particularly good at shooting the basketball!!! My vision is to bring aboard several teachers that have a passion for youth. I ask that you allow God to start working on your heart right now, as it will be a great commitment. I wish by the summer of 2019 to have teachers ready and available to begin. It’s imperative that anyone working alongside me have the same desire I possess to pass down this great tool within the game. I will use my degree program to put prospective candidates through intensive teaching, training and drills to ensure that whoever is chosen will be an extension of myself. Not only in being a capable teacher, but in keeping the proper perspective, patience and temperament to create a fun, effective learning environment. I’m extremely excited at the idea that I’ll be able to reach so many who have expressed interest in my program with minimal wait time. Potential applicants, ***Please submit your resumes to jcleebarnett@gmail.com***.. Thank you so much, and stay tuned for all the wonderful things to come from the JC Barnett School of Jump Shooting!!!

Purpose vs Purpose

What is your purpose? Not in the sense, what is my reason for being and living. I mean it in the sense, what are your intentions?

Life, it can be a funny thing. We can be so caught up in the functionality of what we do, and completely forget why we are doing it. With hand raised — I am Guilty!!! No judgement upon you by me. I simply wish to give you some perspective. In our toughest moments we tend to feel alone. Our closest friends, our family, our closest advisors willn’t be that audible voice to help guide us through. We have to be able to hear that inner voice that says in a whisper, “Remember why..”.

Basketball has given me a voice, to impact a people. To touch the lives and hearts of those who of course love basketball, but it doesn’t stop there. Also to those who may be struggling to find a way. Maybe those who need to hear or see something positive. Maybe to those who don’t even really like basketball, but need an outlet. Those who need a voice to push them, those who need attention, those who need bulit up and lifted in spirit, to those who just need… Something.

My purpose. My intentions are greater than just teaching basketball. My purpose is to help others find purpose. Ain’t no achievement greater than that!!

Sealed with a Promise

 

There are so many people to compete with in this world, it’s truly difficult to set yourself apart. For instance, in academia, two people can graduate with nearly identical and equally as impressive resumes. Both having obtained a 4.0 gpa, nearly perfect standardized test scores, involved in multiple clubs and invested in community service. Those are all wonderful examples of being a leader and performing at a high level. But, if one of those persons were to include in their portfolio evidence of going an extra step further, that could be the difference between failure and achievement.

Twenty plus years in hoops, I’ve experienced many different aspects of the game. What seems to be at the forefront of my observations, simply because I have compassion and an eye for it, are the inequalities those of a certain build and physical stature face. Despite them having next level skill sets, the “eye test” just doesn’t seem to favor them as much as others. I’m not saying this is always the case, of course there are those who are exceptions to the rule. But I often ponder, how do more “little guys” have a chance to succeed at moving on to play college basketball and beyond? The answer I’ve found is that they must possess an undeniable ability to score the basketball. Being able to shoot the ball at an above average level, I believe, is the ticket.

On behalf of all the little guys of the world, I express that we’ve always had to be different and had to go the extra mile to achieve. It isn’t easy, and it never will be. The future that you wish to see come to fruition for yourself, must be attacked with great tenacity. In basketball I believe, that in offering tangible evidence of one’s ability to shoot the ball at an extraordinary level, it will move a kid who otherwise may have been overlooked, into a position of elite status.

In the process of creating my new degree program, I’d never had so much fun working so hard in my life!!! Obtaining my degrees in shooting the basketball was a journey that was filled with mostly triumph. Do not assume though that I didn’t encounter a few failures along the way myself, I most certainly did. Creating a degree schedule that was challenging yet attainable was tough. I questioned myself often, “is this too tough?”; “should I make this a little more difficult?”; “what is the value of this, do people even want to be challenged?” I find more so these days, people don’t see value in anything that will not get them to the next step in life. So, I commit to you this promise:

Dear Beloved Student,

I, JC Barnett III, commit to creating relationships necessary, networking and communicating with next level basketball people and organizations to make obtaining a, ‘Bachelors in Jump Shooting’, ‘Masters in Form and Technique’ and ‘Doctorate in Precision Jump Shooting’, worthwhile. I look forward to the honor of handing you your certificate of completion upon meeting the requirements necessary. You, as one of my exceptional group of students, will have a greater chance at playing next level basketball within the state of Indiana, and the country, for believing in yourself enough to obtain a degree from the JC Barnett School of Jump Shooting. Sincerely, I thank you in advance.

Best Regards,

JC Barnett III

 

‘The Good King’ – Kace Kitchel Interview

JC: Kace Kitchel, what’s up my man!! In north central Indiana, the last name ‘Kitchel’ is synonymous with the game of basketball. Your dad Jon, who went to Purdue.. Your uncle Ted, played for IU.. You’ve now created your own identity within the game.

JC: How proud are you of that rich family history? How proud are you of the success you’ve had to add to that history?

KK: “I’m very proud of all the things my family has accomplished over years and those accomplishments push me that much more to add to our success.”

JC: I was able to come and see you play late last month, Kokomo at Cass, despite being a little sick. You put up right at about your average with 13 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Your really such a gentle spirit, but on that basketball court I see a fire in you.

JC: What do you feel when your out there on the court, what does basketball do to you?

KK: “When I’m on the court it changes my personality entirely. I’m usually a pretty quiet guy, but when I get on that court  I feel an extreme passion for the game.”

JC: Kace you’re 6’9″. 215 lbs.. At the next level depending on the makeup of your team you’ll be a 3, stretch 4.. In our time together, you have proved to me anyway, that you have such a soft touch on your mid range jump shot. And, have the ability to finish inside very well. I’ve been in basketball a while and it seems that to be better at one, there is a lack in the other.

JC: To be able to work inside the paint, and then to be able to pop out. How hard is that for your opponent to guard?

KK: “I always knew I’d be taller than most people and that that would give me an advantage, but I didn’t want to be a one dimensional player that was known only for his size. So developing my shot to go along with my size makes defenders have to defend me harder than they would if all I had was size.”

JC: To me, there is nothing like Indiana basketball. To say that I got the opportunity to play in this state, against the best talent at that time means the world to me. Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Eric Gordon, Josh McRoberts etc..

JC: Who would you say you’ve been blessed to play against? Did being out on the court with them raise your level of play?

KK: “My aau team this summer really helped my game. They liked to play at a very fast pace and it forced me to speed my game up or else I’d get left behind. That really helped me prepare for the next level  because I know that the pace will be much faster than it is in high school.”

JC: With this being your senior season and all, when you think back on all the times you’ve had here at Lewis Cass.. the games, the crowds, the atmospheres, relationships with coaches and teammates. Trust me I know the feeling of wanting to extend this thing as far as possible.

JC: Number one, what kind of heart and desire are you taking into the post season to make a push for the sectional title and to go beyond? And then at whatever point the season comes to a close for you, how hard do you think that moment will be for you?

KK: “Once the post season begins heart is more important than talent. If you have a desire to go far in the tournament, then you’ll have a huge advantage over a team that has talent but no heart. Being my senior year and all, it’s going to be rough once the season comes to an end. This is the last sport that I’ll ever play with my buddies here at Cass, but we have made some pretty great memories along the way!”

JC: It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you, and working with you. Thank you again man.

Klair Merrell Interview: ‘NW Lady Tigers State Bound’

Photo credit: Mike Wise Photography

JC: Klair!!! Oh my goodness, what an amazing season you young ladies at Northwestern are having. State, wow!!! I can only imagine how excited you must be feeling.

JC: Klair, first and foremost thank you for taking the time to talk with me, I really do appreciate it… I remember when we did our training back in May of last year, there was an excitement and a buzz in the air about how good the Northwestern girls basketball team was going to be. And it was the truth!! Everything you ladies were expected to be has become a reality, congratulations!

JC: Can you tell me, what has been your role and contribution to this team?

KM: “Thank you for taking the time to interview me. My main role on the team this year has been defense. Our team really works well together and does a great job at shutting down our opponents.”

Photo credit: Mike Wise Photography

JC: High school hoops is not easy, at any level. As for the mental aspect of the game, there is certainly a learning curve. As a sophomore, how do you feel about the fact that your able to contribute to a team of this calibur so early in your career?

KM: “I feel very blessed to be a part of this team. We have all put in a lot time and hard work in the off season to make it to this point. My dad always says that anyone can try but those that try harder win and our coaches really push us to do that.”

JC: When we were training, I believe it was volleyball practices you’d just be finishing up with — and it was an all day thing. I thought, man, she is a dedicated young lady to jump right into a shooting workout. Before school even started your focus was basketball. Do you have a passion for basketball? Is it your dedication to the game that gives you an edge?

KM: “Yes, I have a passion for basketball. I love how it has taught us to work as a team to achieve a common goal. We are all very dedicated to the game.”

Photo credit: Mike Wise Photgraphy

JC: Klair, I think… Forgive me I don’t think, I know, as a student of mine you have as natural a feel for shooting the basketball as anyone I’ve ever worked with. At times it seemed effortless for you. Have you found that any of the things we’ve worked on together transferred to your game time shooting? What lesson from our time together stands out the most in your mind?

KM: “My lessons with you helped me to realize that no matter how much experience you have there is always room to improve your shot and make it better.”

Photo credit: Mike Wise Photography

JC: It is such a cool thing to see you succeeding as a Northwestern Lady Tiger. If it was ever a dream for you at all to play high school basketball and make it to the state finals, that dream has come to fruition for you. Express to me what you are feeling at this very moment?

KM: “At this very moment I’m feeling very excited and blessed that God gave me this opportunity to play with such a great team. I can’t wait for next weekend! Thank you so much!”

Photo credit: Mike Wise Photography

JC: No, thank you!!! My goal was to gain perspective on your journey playing hoops this year, and to hear your thoughts and feelings. And I believe that was accomplished… Once again, congrats to you and your teammates on a wonderful season, and I can’t wait to see you competing for the state championship next weekend!! Go Lady Tigers!!!

***Special thank you to Mike Wise Photography for being gracious enough to allow me to use his photos. Excellent work my friend!!!

Trajan Deckard Interview

In late January I got to sit down with Trajan Deckard, star shooting guard of Kokomo Wildkats basketball. I wanted to pick his brain, and get a little insight into why he’s been so successful this basketball season. From his scoring, team leadership and maturity, Trajan has taken his game to a new level. He also has a message for young and upcoming future Wildkats.

JC: Trajan man, you are scoring the ball so well right now. I’m proud of you and the success I see you are having individually. I’ve seen so much maturity in your game. To what do you credit most of your success as a far as your ability to score the basketball? And how much does your team play a roll in that?

TD: “I credit the time and dedication I put in the gym over the off-season. My teammates are playing a big roll in my scoring because they are looking for me, feeding me the ball when I’m getting open. I’ve become more confident in my shooting and can now show what I’m capable of.”

JC: Your ability to get to the basket and finish is incredible, but also your jump shooting has proven to be a major threat. You remind me of a young Dominic James, having that dual threat. What would you say.. Is it that getting to the basket helps your outside game more, or is it your outside shooting increases your ability to get to the basket easier?

TD: “My outside shooting helps me get to the basket easier. As teams scout they say “shooter”, but when I can dominate the arch and then the next few possessions pump fake, I can make one move to the rim with a finish.”

JC: Personally, I’ve truly enjoyed the times we’ve spent together training. Being able to offer you and others what I know about shooting the basketball has been a dream come true for me, and to see a student that I’ve worked with be so successful is wonderful. What have you taken from our time together and how do you apply it on the court?

TD: “Yes, the time we’ve spent getting better was tremendous. The key to my jump shot you told me was keeping my elbow in and aligned with the basketball. That’s helped me a lot and what has boosted my free throw percentage.”

JC: Now in your senior year, performing the way you have, you are definitely putting yourself on the radar. How do you remain humble and focused? How do you maintain the concept of team first while having so much individual success?

TD: “Being a senior I understand that I have to be a great leader and keep the young guys focused. Playing the way I am I know that I have to be patient and play at a higher level with more intensity than any other player on the court. I know that I am the key to my team and have to keep everyone on the same page.”

JC: I had to leave early from the Logansport game with my son, he was just so ready to get out of there lol. But, I listened to the rest of the game on the radio and man you showed out with 22 pts in the second half. I thought, wow!!!

JC: With averaging right around 18.7ppg this season, you’ve posted these numbers in great fashion. Season highs being: 32, 25, 24, 23. Not only are you active in the points category, but I’ve been impressed with your rebounding, with 3 to 4 rebounds a game. The other night against Logan, you didnt force anything, you let the game come to you and you did what you had to do to help your team win. That to me spells out, unselfish.. What’s truly the most important thing you, the team winning or personal accolades?

TD: “First half of the Logansport game I didn’t shoot much I looked more for my teammates getting shots because they pressured me well. When I had the ball in my hands I felt as if it was a smart move for me to do that, because second half they focused more on Anthony which gave me the chance to get open and attack the basket. Logansport normally has a good team so I knew that being patient and controlling the ball would keep us alive even when it hurt us as a team that I wasn’t getting shots up. Team winning always comes first to me. Being on top is always a great feeling even if I didn’t have the greatest game I could’ve played. I hold my head high because that means the young guys and other seniors stepped up and were prepared to battle. Being the teams leading scorer is good but you also have to know that being a team player there’s some games when it’s not about being the leading scorer. You’ll have to help your team get the victory by getting others open and playing hard on both ends of the court.”

JC: Trajan, its been such a pleasure man. I’m proud of you.. I’m watching you.. I’m a fan.. And my prayers are with you as you continue to grow and mature as a person and a basketball player. I’m so looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you my man. Thank you for this opportunity!!

TD: “I appreciate the kindness and willingness for you coming to me for this interview. This a special moment that will live forever and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to give back information on my season. Hopefully the up and coming Wildkats in the future will read this and learn that it’s a tough game and takes hard work and dedication to play at the next level. Thank you for your time!! Take care.”

Keeping It Real

 

You know. You’d really be hard pressed to find a trainer more blessed than I am with the clientele I’ve worked with over the past year and a half. I say that from the perspective of – it’s been expressed, and shown to me, that my students and their parents have an extreme level of trust in me. And in a world where it’s easy nowadays to be skeptical of pretty much everything and everyone, I’m thankful they believe in me the way they do. I will not let them down!

 

Basketball is a great love of mine, has been since I was a kid. I’ve made this game a priority in my life for such a long time. I’ve turned it into a business and a major part of my livelihood. With respect to that, honesty has in every aspect of what I do been first and foremost. So, I’m going to give it to you straight because that’s what you deserve.

 

 

I’ve had several students here recently, with the start of the new basketball season tell me that their basketball coach wishes to change their form; and that they are uncomfortable with it. Parent and student both have communicated to me, they believe in the process and the principles involved in my form – and have seen results they like. No fault of the coaches who are just doing what they think is best, and I say this with the utmost respect to all who are coaching the youth, there are not many coaches who specialize in shooting the basketball the way that I do. In many instances because they have not studied shooting the ball in depth the way that I have – they harm the process and don’t help the cause in attempts to change a kid’s shot. It’s an extremely tough situation especially for the kid – who has received training and been shown a certain way to do things and now all of a sudden it must be changed. I’m not going to lie – that bothers me!

 

Having said all that, at the end of the day, that kid plays for a coach who holds in the palm of he or she’s hand their playing time. Parents, because ultimately you have the greatest influence over the decision making of your child and their mentality at this stage in their lives; you must help your child understand and weigh the importance of these two questions. Do I listen to my coach? Or, do I listen to my trainer?

 

Students of mine both current and of the past, I, as your trainer, hold the keys to a quality jump shot. I have the ability to teach you how to make an impact on the game when the opportunity presents itself; but, the coach gives you that opportunity to display that skill. Parents, once again, I urge you to help give your child some perspective and encourage them to listen to their coach. “JC, this is your business why would you say that?” Well, because that’s truly what is best for the kid, to be given a chance to play and enjoy the game. Do not though, take on the mindset that it is pointless to come and see trainers like myself who are teaching special skills within the game. As kids grow and move forward playing basketball, having the knowledge, being equipped with valuable tools such as a quality jump shot, will benefit them greatly.

 

 

Personally, I would love the opportunity to help relieve some of the pressures on a kid when they encounter situations like the one I just described above. How can I help them adjust to the situation? How can we find a way to stick to the form, principles and foundation of a quality jump shot while also pleasing the coach? I am here for you! If you are not already booked with me and have questions you may need answers to concerning basketball, please feel free to email me at jcleebarnett@gmail.com.