Jaden Barnes is a 16-year-old team manager for the Harrah basketball team in Oklahoma. He’s also a student with Down Syndrome at the school, and has dedicated himself to the sport and his team without any reservation.
On Saturday all that commitment and hard work was repaid with a first career varsity start for Barnes, who immediately made the most of his opportunity.
Barnes was given the start for Harrah’s game against Bethel, and not only received the ball off the opening tip off, but scored the game’s first bucket with a perfect jump shot just inside the key.
That opening sequence wasn’t the start of Barnes’ glory night, though. This was:
That is one heck of an entrance, Jaden. Way to make the most of it. Then it all flowed from there, with the opening tip off, the game’s first bucket and all the celebratory zeal that went with it.
Two days later, Jaden was apparently still on Cloud 9 about his appearance, as were his teammates. They won the game, 57-42, but really they had already won after Barnes’ basket. That was the most important moment of the game, and possibly their season, already.