Justin Anderson isn’t the only Maverick with some writing chops, it seems.
Last week J.J. Barea wrote a quick post for his alma mater Northeastern University’s site. In it he reflected on the season that was, and he also offered a bit of advice to players in mid-major conferences who might not believe they have a chance at making it to the NBA.
Barea knows from experience what it’s like to be on the outside looking in, in terms of the big-time college basketball landscape. Even after finishing eighth in the NCAA in scoring his junior season and leading his conference in scoring as a senior, he received little to no draft buzz when the summer came around. It’s not easy for mid-major players to receive the recognition they might necessarily deserve because their games aren’t always televised and they don’t play against world-class talent on a nightly basis. You could argue, in fact, that Barea’s success in the NBA after dominating at the mid-major level in part helped pave the way for players like Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, both with the Portland Trail Blazers, who played at Weber State and Lehigh, respectively.
“If it wasn’t for my four years at Northeastern, I would have never made it to where I am now,” Barea writes. “For me, Northeastern was great. I got to play a lot in my four years and got better every year so that helped big time. It was not easy, it is a long road, but if you stay positive and really work at it and take advantage of opportunity, it can happen.”
The point guard also modestly mentions that he “got hot at the right time” down the stretch of the regular season, helping the Mavericks enjoy a 7-2 spurt which put them in the playoffs for the 15th time in 16 seasons. Barea picked up his first-career Western Conference Player of the Week award in the process, completely dominating games against the Knicks, Pistons, Timberwolves, and Rockets — all Mavs wins.
“Personally for me was great,” he writes. “I was able to help my team in a big way this year, and had a great time doing it. I am enjoying my NBA journey to the max and learning, and getting better, every year.”