Friends can surface when you least expect

Many people come into situations not knowing what to expect. 

For myself, I thought classes at the University of Detroit Mercy would be easy and the basketball plays would be easy to learn.

I thought that since UDM is such a small school and a mid-major basketball program in comparison to Michigan, it would be easy to be successful. However, my first week here was one of the toughest weeks I’ve ever had.

I had a wake-up call during my first day of class. We were immediately given homework and a quiz, not to mention I had a plethora of eclectic plays to memorize for intense basketball practices.

It was extremely difficult and I wasn’t sure what to do. This situation was definitely not what I expected.

Then I was introduced by teammate Ray McCallum to a five-foot-seven guy with bent glasses. His name is Karic Jones.

Subsequently, Karic and I bonded and he ended up being one of the coolest students that I ever met here. Karic helped me with my studies and helped me learn the plays for the basketball team, despite being the worst basketball player I have ever seen.

When I had a bad game, he was the first person to tell me to keep my head up. He always checked to see if I was doing well in the classroom. He taught me how to control my attitude when I wasn’t given the minutes to play in the games that I felt like I deserved.

He also taught me not to give up no matter how terrible the situation seemed.

When my junior season was over, Karic and I had a long talk about what I needed to do for the off-season. I set goals for my weight, my leadership on the basketball court and most importantly my conditioning. 

That off-season he encouraged me the whole summer. He constantly sent me text messages saying, “C.B., what things did you do today to make yourself a better basketball player?”

I was playing for a summer league basketball team in Lansing and Karic would text me before my games wishing me luck and after my games telling me what I  could have done better at.

My family and Karic pushed me to be the player that I am my senior year. Due to Karic’s efforts to motivate me, my first game of the season was a fun experience: I had 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds. That was just the beginning because every subsequent game was an improvement.

After every game, I continued to listen to Karic’s and my family’s words, even if they disagreed with my own thoughts. I knew even the harshest words were out of love and empathy because they, among others, only wanted the best for me.

I can truly say that my family and Karic believed in me when no one else did. Even some coaches and teammates had written me off.

My mom once told me, “Just do your best and those who love you will be there at the end.”

I truly think that Karic Jones will be there at the end.

Sometimes he has believed in me more than I’ve believed in myself. Karic is not only my friend, but also a great mentor.

Not often does one come across a person like Karic who is willing to help a person regardless of the circumstances.

I’m so appreciative that I learned so much valuable information from him and I hope to inspire others in the same manner in the future.