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The Drill: Barber puts everything he's got into basketball

Before Keitric Barber Jr. arrived from Baton Rouge, La., at Worthington as a freshman men’s basketball player at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, he remembered some advice he was given.

WORTHINGTON -- Before Keitric Barber Jr. arrived from Baton Rouge, La., at Worthington as a freshman men’s basketball player at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, he remembered some advice he was given.

During his maturing years, he was told that it will take, in his words, “blood, sweat and tears” to realize his basketball dream, and that there are no guarantees in it.

“The ball can drop any day,” Barber said recently while being interviewed for a Drill episode by The Globe. “That can be your last day dribbling the ball. And to this day I play very hard. … I don’t want that ball to start dropping. I want to keep dribbling it to the fullest.”

Barber enjoyed a solid freshman season at West, showing an ability to score and an even greater ability to rebound. He calls rebounding his greatest asset and he continues working to improve on all facets of his game to continue playing the game he loves.

Growing up in Louisiana, Barber was hooked on basketball at an early age.

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“My dream was to play basketball because my mom grew up playing basketball. And in college she had me, so she couldn’t play at the next level, because she was a D-I athlete. But then she introduced me to basketball, and when I first touched the ball it was like, it’s me. It’s my sport. It’s my love. That’s what I think I’m going to excel in,” he said.

Worthington is much different than Baton Rouge, he explained. Worthington, he said, is “small” and “controlled.” At home, it’s “wild.” He added, “You’re going to get a basketball game almost every day.”

Though his surroundings changed, he worked hard at Minnesota West to improve his abilities and help the Bluejays win. The season ended prematurely, however, last week and the Jays were not able to advance to postseason play. Yet Barber says he wants to come back and continue what he started.

You can see the Globe video of Keitric Barber Jr. on The Globe website at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sampling of the interview:

QUESTION: You averaged 10 points and nine rebounds per game for Minnesota West this season. How do you assess your first season with the team?

ANSWER: “I try hard enough to play so we can win. ‘Cuz that’s my main job. I’m very good at rebounding, I’m athletic. I can score at will. Like this season from my first game, I went from scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds to like now, I’m like 16 points, grabbing 16 rebounds. I’ve seen a big improvement, but that’s my main focus is just to catch rebounds and push it up the floor.”

QUESTION: What is the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know?

ANSWER: “The most unusual thing that people don’t know about me is I’m a little book smart. Like, I’m not that great, but people just think about me as an athlete. But me, I’m very good at computers. My major is computer science information technology. I’m very good at math and science. (If I say) ‘I’m a cool kid, I like computers,’ they’d be like, ‘What? You like computers? That’s strange.’”

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QUESTION: Tell us about some of your interests outside of sports.

ANSWER: “Outside of sports, I just like to go home and walk. OK, I did my homework, I did everything else. What can I do now? ‘Cuz I don’t want to sit down all day. So I go take a walk, I go drive. I’ll go to South Dakota. I’ll go somewhere else. I just stay active. I don’t like to, ‘OK, I’m done with this. Sit down. Let’s play the game all day.’ I don’t like to play the game, I like to stay active, I like to stay moving.”

Minnesota West BlueJays Men's Basketball 03 09 21 Barber JR 33 S1
Minnesota West's Keitric Barber Jr. (33). (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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