LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The first word in the phrase “student athlete” is obviously “student”. A local organization here in town, with the help of local basketball hero, Rajon Rondo are helping area players stay in shape both in the classroom and on the court.
Tim Barnett is the CEO of the Jesse E Barnet Jr Enrichment Center, which is named after his father. “The whole purpose of that is to really focus on the wholistic development of our student athletes.,” said Barnett. Along with basketball training while JCPS is not allowing the players to practice with their teams, they are also able to focus on their daily school assignments through NTI, plus, they’re also learning about life. “Financial literacy classes, intro to safe sex classes, media classes, just other things that we feel like that they’re going to need to help them be successful in life,” said Barnett.
Some of the best players in the state are right here learning, hanging out, and improving their hoop game. Eastern High School junior, Christian Spalding says being able to come to the facility has kept him focused on academics, and he’s also able to continue to improve his basketball game instead of being distracted. “Making me more disciplined, and making me have to be on a strict schedule, because it is easy to veer off,” said Spalding.
One of the major contributors to this program is city of Louisville hoops legend, two time NBA Champion, current Atlanta Hawk, and former Kentucky star, Rajon Rondo. Both Barnett and students will tell you that Rondo is much more than just a financial contributor. He also donates his time when he’s available. “Rajon didn’t just say, hey, I’m going to give you a little bit of money to do it. You know, he comes down here,” said Rondo. “Yeah, it’s cool. He was here two months ago or a month ago, and he came, and said what’s up. He’s in the NBA right now, so he can’t come around often, but I think once he’s done with the NBA, like the offseason, he’ll be around here more.)
Barnett says it’s important to him, and Rondo to improve these players game on and off the court.
Kids who want to participate, as well as those interested in getting more involved through volunteering or financial support can email email@example.com.