Samajae Haynes-Jones' "Mommy" motivationPosted: Updated:
Samajae Haynes-Jones won a state championship at East High School and then a national championship at Hutchinson Community College, before getting a scholarship to play for the team he dreamed of suiting up for.
Tuesday night he'll play in his last home game at WSU,and while it hasn't been a story book ending capped off with another championship, Haynes-Jones is grateful for his time as a Shocker.
"It means a lot," said Haynes-Jones. "Growing up I never thought I would be playing here. It's always been a dream of mine, but just getting this opportunity I'm glad that I did and I got to show my talents here in my hometown."
"It's what the family wanted," said Wichita State men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall. "They wanted him to be close. I'm very proud that he wanted to be close and be right here in his hometown."
Against East Carolina, "From right here in Wichita, Kansas. Number Four, Samajae Haynes-Jones" will ring out in Koch Arena for the final time.
Haynes-Jones, it's a dedication to his mother Sharon Haynes, who passed away from cancer during his senior year of high school.
"Everybody has their own story to tell and their own trauma or tough things to deal with in their life, adversity," said Marshall. "And Samajae has had quite a bit."
When Haynes-Jones walks off the court he puts on a necklace that reads "Mommy". A reminder of the person who helped his passion for basketball grow.
"She's always here with me. It's always tough when I think about it," said Haynes-Jones. "It's something that keeps me motivated, it's something that this is why I do it for and this is why I've been playing basketball. She gave me the ball first."