By: Kaylee Darnell
The IU South Bend men’s basketball team has been known to break school records and dominate conferences, and this year is no different. The team welcomes junior transfer Dejon Barney from Lincoln College, who has helped the team continue their streak.
“I ended up choosing IUSB because when I came on my visit and met the team, I really felt like I could play here, and I wanted my family to be able to come to every game. I’ve been away for four years; I just felt like it was time to come home,” Barney said.
Barney is a South Bend native who attended Riley High School before leaving to play for Lincoln College. His college ended up shutting down, leaving Barney back on the scouting lists and looking for somewhere new to call home. Luckily for him, home ended up being where home has always been.
“It never occurred to me that he would be available to recruit, but when Lincoln College announced that they were closing down last spring, I reached out to a lot of people that knew Dejon including his former coaches at Lincoln, and they all had a lot of good things to say about him in regards to his character and work ethic,” Head Coach Scott Cooper said. “As I got to know him during the recruiting process, it became clear that he was not only a good fit in terms of his ability, but also he was a great personality fit. Ultimately, between his growth as a player since high school, his character, work ethic, and personality, I thought he could help us continue to compete at the top of the conference.”
Being a freshman on a college team is always hard, but sometimes coming in as a transfer can be even harder. You have more to prove, and you have to show people you have the heart. Joining the Titans was not an issue for Barney, as he said he felt welcomed with open arms, great attitudes and a whole lot of skill.
“When I officially joined the team, they welcomed me immediately,” Barney said. “I came knowing that they were already a good team and at first it was difficult adjusting but they helped me along the way. My first game was amazing – my parents in the stands, and friends that never saw me play – just was a great experience.”
In Barney’s first season as a Titan, he broke the school record for rebounds in a single game with 21 rebounds, and broke the previous record for points scored in a single game with 38 points.
“During the game, I had no idea what I had just done – I was just trying to win the game. My teammates from the beginning of the game were telling me that I was going to have a big night. Breaking this record is a major achievement, and doing it in my first year is even better. It just goes to show that hard work pays off,” Barney said.
Barney also says it was unexpected to break the record for rebounds in a single game; he knew he was racking them up throughout the game, but had no idea how many he actually had. He said he felt as if the other team had no intention of boxing him out, so he kept going.
Dejon’s success hasn’t gone unappreciated.
“It has been a lot of fun to see him break those records, in large part because he has done it within the framework of helping us win,” Coach Cooper said. “You see, in basketball especially, a lot of players chase statistics and records, often to the detriment of their teammates and at the expense of winning. He has had a lot of big games for us, but has also had games where he had to take a backseat to other players on the team because that was what was best for the team to win. We have been fortunate to have a lot of players like that the past few years, and that is a big reason for the success that they have had on the court.”
Now, entering the later half of their season with their games dwindling down and conference tournament creeping up, the entire team continues to put in the work to drive them forward. No one has settled, and no one will settle until it’s officially over.
“My goal for the rest of the season is just to win,” Barney said. “The accolades are cool, but I like to win games.”
For any information regarding men’s basketball or want any other information about athletics at IU South Bend – visit IUSBTitans.com for season schedules and more.