Jaylen Barford’s return to South Side inspires the young Hawks

JACKSON, Tenn — Back in 2014, Jaylen Barford helped the South Side Hawks win their first ever state championship, and this week he returns to where it all began.

“It feel great to be back home, I haven’t been home in a minute, fresh off a tournament run, it’s been great, had a great season,” Barford said.

The 6’3 junior guard at the University of Arkansas saw his season come to an end in the NCAA tournament when North Carolina defeated the Razorbacks, 72-65. But Barford wasted no time getting back on the court. South Side head coach DaMonn Fuller holds open gyms for his current and past players, an idea he got from when he played ball at Memphis.

“When I went off to the University of Memphis, I came back and tried to inspire some of the other kids to try and play and do the things so they could be successful,” Fuller said.

Seeing guys like Barford walk into the gym, Fuller says it catches the current players attention quickly, and it’s also something Barford takes pride in.

“It’s very important to me honestly because it happened when I was in high school, we had people come back and play with us so I try to get in the gym as much as possible with the people that look up to me sometimes,” Barford says.

Coach Fuller said he opens the gym for former players whenever their in town, everyday of the week if they want too. His open gyms are for current and former Hawks only.



Categories: College