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Jaylen Barford among greatest student-athletes in Motlow State history

Apr. 22, 2016

With his Motlow State Community College playing career over and his time as a student-athlete drawing to a close with graduation May 7, Jaylen Barford has cemented his place as one of the greatest players in any sport in the history of Motlow athletics.

Barford will continue as a student-athlete next year at the University of Arkansas, becoming the first player in recent memory from Motlow to earn an opportunity to play in the Southeastern Conference.

His accomplishments, accolades and school records are many. Before the 2015-16 basketball season even started, Barford was announced by multiple scouting and recruiting services as the top junior college basketball player in the nation.

He more than lived up to the preseason hype, leading the nation in scoring with a 26.2 points-per-game average and being named a First Team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Although records from the early years at Motlow are not fully complete, Barford is believed to be only the fourth player in school history to be honored on the first team; joining baseball players Mark Shuler (1978) and Tyler Murphy (2012), and softball star Cassandra Jo Sharp (2000).

Barford was named the men's basketball Player of the Year by the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) and earned first team all-tournament honors. He led his Bucks' team to a sparkling 25-7 overall record during the recently completed season and an overall record of 48-13 during his two seasons wearing the green and gold. The Bucks advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament in 2014-15 and played for the tournament championship last season, falling 73-68 to Southwest Tennessee.

Motlow State men's basketball individual school records are dominated primarily by those who played during the early years of the program. Names such as Bob Martin, Jack Battle and Larry Mackin remain near the top of most career and single season statistical categories. More than any player since all-time leading scorer Tim Fant graduated in 1990, Barford has earned his place among those superstars from the 1970s.

Barford is second in career points with 1,393, trailing only Fant who scored 1,551 during his brilliant career. Barford passed legendary figures such as Martin, Battle, Billy Holt and John Gales during the late stages of the 2015-16 season, which included his brilliant 45-point effort during the semifinal round of the conference tournament.

His 23.6 points-per-game career scoring average is fourth all-time, with Fant leading the way at 26.7. Barford is fifth in total rebounds with 423, with Martin holding down the top spot with 773 during his career from 1974-76. Martin also leads in the rebounds per game category, averaging an amazing 14.4. Barford is sixth on that list at 7.2.

Perhaps what set Barford apart from many of those great players from the past, with the exception of Battle, was his versatility. Prior to Barford, Battle was the only player in Motlow history to rank in the top ten on the career list in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.

Barford not only joined Battle in those categories, but passed him in most. Barford's 287 career assists is sixth all-time, with Mackin holding the top spot at 584 total assists and a 9.7 assists-per-game average. Barford's 4.9 average is also sixth on the all-time list.

Mackin had held the all-time steals total record of 153 for 40 years until Barford tied him with a steal late in the conference championship game. Barford averaged 2.6 steals-per-game, tied with Mackin for second all-time.

Barford's place in the single season record book is equally impressive. He scored 837 points this past season, second all-time behind Martin's 860 during the 1974-75 campaign. Barford averaged 26.2 points each game, third behind Martin and Fant.

His 45-point performance against Columbia State in the TCCAA tournament tied him with Martin for the fourth-best all time. Fant set the record of 50 in 1989 and repeated it in 1990. During that thrilling win over the Chargers, Barford connected on 19-22 free throws, the second-best charity stripe shooting day in Bucks history. Andy Baits hit 21-23 free throws in 1985.

Finally, Barford is only the second player in Motlow men's basketball history to be named an All-American following both of his seasons. Freddie Goldstein was named Honorable Mention in both 2010 and 2011.

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Jaylen Barford
Jaylen Barford throws down a slam dunk during his freshman season. Barford, who came to Motlow State after a stellar prep career at Jackson South Side High School in Jackson, Tenn., cemented his position as one of the greatest student-athletes to ever play, in any sport, at Motlow. Barford will continue his career next season at the University of Arkansas. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.