With a season that spans six months, the John Brown University basketball team has the longest season of any sport at JBU. As the conference tournament draws near, both the men’s and women’s teams hold high conference rankings.
The men’s team is 13-8 and jockeying for a playoff position in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament. The women’s team is 15-6, currently on a five-game winning streak. Both teams are looking to finish their regular seasons strong as they prepare for the conference tournament. The men’s and women’s teams are in advantageous positions in large part because of the leadership and influence of their seniors. The women’s team has one senior, starting point guard Kodee Powell. The men’s team has four seniors: Zach English, Matt Ledford, Miguel Martinez and Ricky Roberts.
All the seniors are excited for the last four to six weeks of their collegiate careers.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet, that I’m playing the last games of my career,” Powell said. “I started playing in second grade and it’s been my whole focus ever since. I’m locked in for the last push this season, but I’m sure it will hit me at some point.” Both teams hold high rankings in their conference but have room to move up in the next few weeks before the conference tournament begins.
“My time here at school has forced me to learn how to live and interact with people who see the world differently than I do,” Roberts said. “At home, you don’t always get that, and I feel like JBU has prepared me to interact with others as I move on.” Powell agreed.
“At JBU there is always conversation, specifically about God, faith, and my relationship with Him,” she said. “That’s not something I got much of in high school or at my Junior College. This environment has forced me to be mindful of my faith and grow in my faith.” English most appreciates the change in perspective he acquired at JBU. He said JBU gave him many opportunities he felt like he did not deserve, and feels blessed by his experience at JBU.
Ledford said JBU’s diversity was what impacted him the most.
“Different takes on religion along with interacting with others from different backgrounds and upbringings has definitely opened my eyes and widened my acceptance of others,” he said.
While all five seniors share a passion for basketball, each has a different plan for what they are doing after they graduate. Powell is looking to become a basketball coach, specifically a graduate assistant. Ledford and English are both pursuing jobs around Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Roberts is also looking to work near his hometown of Dallas, Texas, and Martinez will pursue his master’s degree in business at JBU.
Both the women and the men’s basketball teams have upcoming home games on Feb. 2, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and Feb. 23. The seniors will be recognized on Feb. 23, the last home game of the season.