LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Jackson native Jaylen Barford became the fifth Motlow College men’s basketball player in the past seven years to be honored by the National Junior College Athletic Association as an All-American when the organization’s annual list was announced recently.
Barford, a 6-foot-3 guard who played his high school basketball at Jackson South Side, joins an elite group of only 11 Motlow Bucks to be named All-American since the school began playing basketball in 1969. The most recent honoree prior to Barford was Dequon Miller last season. Miller actually had more impressive statistics this past year than he had last season, but was passed over by the NJCAA.
Barford’s numbers were certainly worthy of a spot on the honorable mention team. He averaged 20.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.4 steals per game. Barford connected on 52.5 percent of his field goal attempts and 70 percent of his free throw opportunities.
The high-flying freshman provided Copperweld Arena crowds with some of the most dramatic moments during Motlow’s 23-6 season, including a last-second steal and two made free throws to beat Southwest Tennessee 76-75 on Feb. 14.
Barford scored a personal best 33 points on Nov. 7 in a 104-95 win over Jackson State and had four double-doubles on the season. He played some of his best basketball during Motlow’s biggest games. In addition to his heroics at the end of the Southwest Tennessee game, he scored 22 points with 11 rebounds in an early season win over eventual conference champion Columbia State; and had 32 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in Motlow’s 105-94 loss to the Chargers in the TCCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
Previous Motlow College players and the year they were named All-Americans are: Jack Battle, 1973; Bob Martin, 1975; Billy Holt, 1978; Mike Dailey, 1982; Tim Fant, 1990; John Gales, 1995; Tim Williams, 2009; Freddie Goldstein, 2010 and 2011; and Miller in 2014.
Barford, who is being heavily recruited by dozens of Division I universities leads a talented group of freshmen, who, if they all return to Motlow for their sophomore seasons should give the Bucks one of the state’s best rosters. The group includes Terry Holt, Jordan Darden and Reid Pierce. Each started multiple games last year.
—C. SCOTT SHASTEEN, Motlow College Sports Information