Don’t Forget About Me: Top Players Recovering/Recovered from Injuries


Posted On: 08/15/18 4:01 PM

Harris Barker suffered an injury about a year ago that completely erased his entire junior season.  

“I was out this season for having surgery, but I am coming back in May to play AAU,” shared an enthusiastic Barker late April.  “Torn labrum…finishing up PT made a great recovery back on court working out again!”

From there Harris began to resuscitate his AAU career.  The 6-foot-4 combo guard always had exceptional size for his position which helps summon interest.  With a full recovery Harris Barker (PHT #90) regained and improved upon better than average quickness too.  Standing 6-foot-4 Barker moves well enough to play NAIA possibly DII basketball.  His game checks multiple boxes too as Barker can knock down mid-range or long-range jumpers.

Injuries are so frustrating. Nothing prepares you for the mental adjustments it forces on your sports life.

“It was very tough at first, but it has made me grow mentally and made me approach things in different ways having my junior season taken,” said Harris Barker in April.  I have grown much as a person from it.” 

Queens University of Charlotte hosted Harris Barker and other top talents for their Elite Camp August 5th.  The Jackson-native is contemplating the Dartmouth Elite Camp too. 

Look for Harris Barker with Jackson’s Sacred Heart of Jesus High School.

Jesse Payne

He made it to July healthy, but Whitehaven junior Jesse Payne suffered a bad high ankle sprain in the middle of the month.  

“I am in a boot right now,” shared Payne July 12th.

Just like all of the other top players on this list Jesse Payne battled with the emotions of sitting out.  

“They are playing now and losing and its hurting me knowing they need me,” said Payne.  He traveled to New York City with his Pharaoh Elite 16u team, but was unable to play. 

What does Payne do well?

Jesse Payne is a knockdown shooter who moves well without the basketball.  Payne didn’t handle the ball much for Whitehaven last winter.  The Tigers and Head Coach Faragi Phillips dressed six of the top 100 sophomores in the state.  Alvin Miles and Kavion McClain handled much of the point guard responsibilities.  Because he was playing predominately as an off-guard Jesse Payne focused on knocking down shots and defending the perimeter.  

The recovering guard projects as a two-way lead guard at DII/LM/LM+ level.

Dionte Ware

Though Dionte played through July he was a shell of himself.  Ware’s trademarked aggression lacked explosion.  He knew where and when to attack, but his body just couldn’t complete the moves.  He wanted to play through the bad ankle injury because July 2018 was Ware’s last AAU month.  Unfortunately, the player college coaches watched in July is not at all the player college coaches would get as a college freshman in 2019-2020.

Jason Jitoboh

In April, the big man for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy and Woodz Elite 17u was flying as high as anyone. Offers poured in from Arkansas, South Florida, Wake Forest, and Louisville.  

Then it happened. 

Playing in an EYBL event in Indianapolis Jason sustained a broken foot bone.  Though it didn’t eliminate the offers he already held a healthy July absolutely would have generated more DI offers.

Look for Jason Jitoboh (PHT #8) to make a college pick this fall and finish out a stellar HHCA career in the spring.