Jaylen Owens, number three on the ENC men’s basketball team, has followed his love and passion for the game since he was young; but there’s more to him than sports.
As a senior Journalism and Writing major at ENC, Owens began his sports career somewhere very different than a college court. At two years old, his parents encouraged him to run in the direction of basketball. Both his mother and father played the sport when they were growing up, and with his mom being a basketball coach, Owens had a large support net.
“My dad always pushed me to get better and never settle, and my mom has always been there for me and supported me,” Owens says, adding that without the support from his mother, he would not be where he is today.
Though he moved to Georgia during his junior year of high school, Owens played the sport throughout his secondary education. The 700-mile move from Cleveland, Ohio, to Roswell, Georgia, however, proved to be an adversity in starting over “brand new on and off the court.”
“I had to make a name for myself and prove that I belonged to people that knew nothing about me,” says Owens.
The determined athlete prevailed; Owens’ senior year saw him as an All-Region player and named Co-Player of the Year for his team. He also helped lead his team to the Sweet 16 in the state tournament. After his successful run, Owens attended Georgia Southern University, where he studied journalism but did not play basketball. With plans to transfer, Owens originally meant to find a Division II school or a junior college. Upon hearing from an old high school teammate who had enrolled at Eastern Nazarene College, Owens decided to follow him.
“I just stepped out on a limb and enrolled at ENC literally a week before school started,” Owens said.
Four years and 1,624 collegiate career points later, Owens is proud of what he and his team have done, saying, “We started off 9-0, had a five-game skid, and now we’re back on track and ready to make a run.”
The season has proved interesting, as well. Owens says, “We’re always smaller than whoever we play. It’s amazing the things we’ve been able to do with such a lack of height.”
With a major in journalism, Owens hopes to pursue not only a career of sports in writing and reporting, but perhaps having his own show one day. Role models like Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, both ESPN sports correspondents, give him hope that his dream could be a very tangible reality.
“I would love to work for ESPN, or have something that I wrote in Sports Illustrated,” says Owens. “If I could have my way, I would be on ESPN discussing sports every day.”
With such a burning passion for the game, the world will soon see him rise to such a position.