A Dixie State University alumnus basketball player returns to the court this year, but this time as the new assistant coach.
Jeremiah Barnes, a Compton, California native, recognized his admiration for basketball at an early age in his life.
“I always remember loving basketball; as a kid my dad would take my brothers and I to the gym to play,” Barnes said. “My dad played and my brothers played so therefore, I played.”
To some, basketball is simply a hobby or pastime. But for Barnes, it’s a way of life.
“Basketball has given me the opportunity to travel and get to meet a lot of people,” Barnes said. “Some of my closest friends I’ve actually met through basketball. It has become a great tool that I use for networking and getting to know people, and that’s what I like to do.”
After being recruited to the DSU men’s basketball team, Barnes began his journey on Trailblazer, then the Red Storm, grounds in 2009. Graduating in 2011 with his bachelor’s degree in integrated studies, Barnes intended to get his master’s in higher education. But within the year of graduating, he remained at DSU working in the Multicultural Diversity Center, now Multicultural Inclusion Center, then soon began coaching.
“Coach (Jon) Judkins begged me to try out coaching basketball, and that’s when I started out at Dixie High School for one year,” Barnes said. “Then I got the opportunity to coach with my brother at the Academy of Art (in San Francisco, California) for the past five years,” Barnes said.
In a DSU press release published Aug. 22, head coach Judkins expressed his admiration for Barnes' return to the court.
"We’re really excited to have Jeremiah and his family return home to our program,” head coach Judkins said.
Judkins is more than eager to welcome him back onto the DSU coaching staff.
With the men’s basketball team ranking fourth in the NCAA Division II level in 2016 and top six rankings in the past 10 years, the team is looking for another positive year. And having Barnes, a previous player, aid the team in this coming season, the new experiences and changes for the team are something to look forward to.
“Barnes was part of two NCAA tournament teams as a player at DSU and helped lead the program to the 2011 West Regional final (Sweet 16),” Steve Johnson, associate athletic director of media-relations, in a press release.
Barnes’ view as assistant coach is different in comparison to other coaching staff because he understands what its like to be on the team and has previously worked with head coach Judkins during his basketball career.
“I think that I can be an asset to the playersbecause I understand and have worked with our head coach, but I also understand the point of view of the players as well,” Barnes said. “I believe that assistant coach Kasey Winters and I will be that key factor in communications between the players and coach Judkins.”
While attending DSU, Barnes made his mark by setting the DSU record for most assists in one game, which is 13, in 2010 against Pacifica College, in Moreno Valley, California.
“I know our boys are great players and they might be able to beat that record, but I hope it’s something (that) stays in the coming season and more,” Barnes said.
Although the PacWest league season doesn’t begin until Dec. 2, the men’s basketball team is still training for its games. The first scrimmage is set for Oct. 27 at 3:30 p.m. against Snow College.
Barnes has already set a couple of goals for the coming season. First, he wants the players to experience winning the national tournament, like he did with his team. However, he also wants his impact to last longer than a season.
“I want to establish lifetime relationships with this team,” Barnes said.