Braden Bayless, from Tulsa, Okla., is new to the JBU men’s basketball team. Formerly a player for Regent Preparatory School, Bayless has a lot of experience in the sport.
Bayless said he looked for a school that had basketball and a Christian community.
“Aside from basketball, I chose John Brown because it was all I was looking for in a college: great academics, awesome Christian community, and a beautiful campus pretty close to home.”
Although Bayless is a redshirt freshman, he said he is enjoying the season so far.
“The season is progressing really well. We are at the top of the conference right now and we still have lots of room to grow,” Bayless said. “I’m excited to see how this year turns out and for next year as well. . .I’ll be able to play and we will still have almost everyone back. As good as things are now, they have the potential to get even better.”
While adjusting to college life can be difficult at first, Bayless said after a while it gets better.
“I’d say the hardest adjustment was time management,” he said. “It is tough to juggle athletics, academics, and a social life, as well as get enough sleep, which is often the area that ends up suffering most. I’m still learning what to prioritize and how to maximize the time that I have.”
Joshua Rhodius, a senior engineering major and a close friend of Bayless said he has high respect for Bayless. “First of all, when I think of Braden, immediately I think that he is such a great kid. Great, being an understatement for how hardworking, how smart, and pleasurable he is as a friend and teammate,” Rhodius said. “He is so enjoyable to hang out with because he has such an interesting plethora of background on interesting movies, books, and academia that go beyond entertainment, but activate a desire of thought. As I said earlier, he is such a great kid. He is humble, ambitious, determined, high spirited and Christ inspired and brings such a positive energy to his surroundings.”
Throughout the 2017-2018 season, Bayless has made memories with his teammates.
“My favorite memory with Braden, thus far, would have to come from practice,” Rhodius said. “We were competing in a full-court drill. All of a sudden, Braden scored three straight times for his team, a couple short corner jumpers and another from the elbow. What was so great about this memory was that as a redshirt freshman, it is hard to compete day in and day out with your team and not be able to do so in games.”
Rhodius said that redshirting does not discourage Bayless in the slightest. “The best part is this: Braden, being a red shirt freshman, acted like he had been there and done this before maintaining his focus and composure after getting buckets. This speaks so loudly on his discipline, work ethic and maturity as a freshman, which I’m sure bleeds into other aspects of this young man’s life. I wish him nothing but the best in his years to come.”
When Bayless is not playing basketball, his favorite activity is sleeping in.