Javon Haines will always remember being told he wasn’t good enough.
It was hearing those words when trying to make the switch from football to basketball at Ferris State University a couple years ago that altered Haines’ mindset.
And it made the East Lansing graduate realize he needed to make people believe in him.
Haines did just that over the last two years at Lansing Community College. He capped his two-year stay at LCC by recently earning National Junior College Athletic Association Division II first team All-American honors.
Haines, who has flourished the last two years while just concentrating on basketball, ranked second nationally in scoring at 24.8 points per game while giving the Stars a first-team All-American for the second straight season. Tracy Edmond was an All-American for LCC last year.
The 6-foot-3 Haines averaged 5.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and shot 46.8 percent from the field and 79.1 percent from the free-throw line. Those numbers helped the Stars place fifth at the NJCAA national tournament and turn a prediction made by LCC coach Mike Ingram two years ago into a reality.
“Coach told me I was going to be an All-American from the first day he saw me,” Haines said. “He’s been important to me because he told me exactly what it was going to be before everything happened. I could tell he really believed in me.
“He just stayed believing in me and stayed trusting me. He always used to tell me that I was just a different type of player. I appreciate everything he’s done for me so far. I know me and him used to butt heads occasionally, and he might have thought that I didn’t really believe in him. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t even be in this position right now.”
Haines’ success at LCC has led to an opportunity to continue his career at NCAA Division II Armstrong State in Savannah, Ga. He wants to continue to make his mark on the court for the Pirates and learn from former University of Michigan standout and NBA player Cazzie Russell, who is an assistant at Armstrong State.
“I plan on bringing the winning tradition down there,” Haines said. “I plan on everything I did here – I plan on taking it another notch up and building on it. I have a legacy and goals I want to achieve.
“I’m just excited to learn from the great Cazzie Russell as well. Just the fact that I get to learn from him – I’m speechless about that.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.