During the past eight years the Motlow College men’s basketball program has enjoyed a tremendous run of success by the team, its head coaches, and individual players. Five of those eight years the team won 20 or more games, and there have been four all-Americans at Motlow since 2009.
Winning the state championship in 2013, having multiple head coaches leave to become assistants at Division I universities, and featuring highly-recruited players like Tyree Evans and Dequon Miller has helped the national spotlight to occasionally shine towards Copperweld Arena.
If the current recruitment of rising four-star sophomore Jaylen Barford continues at its current pace, his announcement of where he plans to continue his career in 2016 is poised to be the highest-profile event for a Motlow student-athlete since former Bucks baseball player Bryan Morris was drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006.
Barford, a 6-4 combo guard from Jackson, Tenn., is coming off a tremendous freshman season at Motlow that saw him average 20.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He shot 53 percent from the field and 70 percent from the foul line while blocking 14 shots. He was named an honorable mention All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association and was a first-team all-Region VII selection.
He had six double-doubles during the season, and his near-miracle steal and subsequent made free throws to beat nationally-ranked Southwest Tennessee by one point on Valentine’s Day will go down as one of the greatest single regular season moments in Motlow basketball history.
With the Bucks being nationally ranked themselves for much of the year, and then-sophomore Miller drawing national recruiting interest, Barford had the opportunity to play in front of a significant number of Division I coaches and scouts during the season. Obviously they were impressed.
As of mid-June according to JucoRecruiting.com, Barford has received offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, Missouri, Texas Tech, and Wichita State. In addition, Iowa State, Xavier, Florida and LSU have expressed interest.
He was already drawing recruiting attention when he led Jackson South Side High School to the 2014 Class AA state championship by scoring 25 points in the title game and averaging 22.5 points and seven rebounds per game during his high school senior season.
Barford is scheduled to participate in multiple junior college player showcases during the summer, including Mullen Sports JC Top 100 in St. Louis and JUCO Showcase Elite 80 in Atlanta.
He has not indicated when he will announce his next destination, although he has two options. The early signing period for college basketball is the week of Nov. 11, 2015. The regular signing period is April 13-May 18, 2016.
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