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.
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