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June 9, 2017

Eric Barber

Eric Barber

Eric Barber
Columbia Prep, Class of 2017
Rice University, Class of 2021
Years in Mo’ Motion:  4
Honors/Awards: 2017 Basketball Coaches’ Association of NY Student Assistant of the Year and the Al J. Benyak Award recognizing an athlete/student assistant who showed the ultimate dedication to the athletic department and sportsmanship towards others

NOTE FROM MO:  Reading Eric’s answers brought back such great memories of one of our most passionate, animated and enthusiastic players.  We are proud of all of our players for all of the accomplishments as students and leaders in their schools.  Eric has always been a person who had the backs of all of his teammates, which makes him an outstanding fit as team manager.  His teammates will know he’s with them all the way – during the rough patches and the highlights – as a true friend, fan and active student and coach of the game.

Where do you live and work now? I currently live in New York City, but for the summers I spend my time out in Sag Harbor, New York. For my summer job until I go to college I work as a golf caddy. When I go to college at Rice University, I will be managing the varsity basketball team there.

How long have you been coaching or working with sports programs? I’ve been coaching for about 3 years now. I stopped playing basketball after my freshman year in high school. I knew I had a great basketball IQ, but my athleticism and talent weren’t up to par. I worked with Mo’ Motion for a year or so, working with fourth graders. I also have been a student assistant coach/manager at my high school for the last three years.

What do you love most about these experiences? I love coaching because it allows me to continue working in the game that I love. I get to pass my knowledge and advice onto others and to see them succeed with the help that I have given them makes it all worth it.

Who is your favorite basketball player and why? Kobe Bryant. He is my favorite because of his sheer competitiveness and tenacity. He always gave it everything he had and wanted to win as badly as anyone. He also was a smart basketball player and could score at will on opposing defenses.

Which college and/or pro team is your favorite and why? Even though I will be managing the Rice basketball team, I would have to say Notre Dame basketball. Before I wanted to go to Rice, I wanted to go to Notre Dame. I admire the way they play basketball. They very rarely have players that go to the NBA after their freshman year, so it allows the fans to get to know the players, and more importantly, it allows the players themselves to develop team chemistry and their own skills. Also, their head coach, Mike Brey, is someone who is always a delight to watch because he is so passionate about the game.

When did you know that basketball was your favorite sport? I probably knew that it was my favorite sport my junior year of high school. While I was managing the varsity team, this was the first year that I started to go to practices, sometimes they would go until 8:45 at night and sometimes they would start the next morning at 6:00. That grind made me realize that I was doing this because I was passionate about the game.

Why is it your favorite sport? Basketball is my favorite sport because it is a game of adjustments. In defense and offense, one tiny tactic change could make a hug overall difference in the game. I also love the pace at which the game is played. The game of basketball always keeps your heart beating fast.

What was the greatest moment of your career as a player? I was on junior varsity my freshman year of high school. I wasn’t the best player on the team by a good margin. I was probably the 7th or 8th. But one game, towards the end of the season, I scored 10 points in a row, in maybe 2 minutes. I couldn’t believe how hot I got. My teammates were all cheering for me and when I made a three to make it a 10 point run, the other coach called a timeout and that made it feel even better.

What was the greatest moment of your career as a coach? My greatest moment as a coach was when I won a set of awards recognizing the time and effort I put into the game of basketball. I won the 2017 Basketball Coaches’ Association of NY Student Assistant of the Year. I also won an award from my school at the end of this year called the Al J. Benyak Award. It recognizes an athlete/student assistant who showed the ultimate dedication to the athletic department and sportsmanship towards others. I won this award for being a three-year captain on varsity golf and for my three years of work with the varsity basketball team.

What is your greatest challenge on the basketball court? My greatest challenge on the basketball court is learning new things about the game every day. I want to continue to further my knowledge and be the best coach/basketball mind I can be.

What is the No. 1 thing you try to get across to your players? The number one thing I try to get across to players is that they have to play smart. Sometimes, players will have the talent, but will lack the basketball IQ and awareness to make the right decisions. I try to make sure players know what the correct decisions are in certain situations.

What other fun things do you like to do in your free time? Golf is the sport that I play competitively. I played four years in high school for the varsity team including three years as captain. I love the game of golf. I also like to play card games, go for long drives, watch other sports on TV, and watch shows on Netflix.

Who influenced you the most in your basketball career, and in what ways? The person who has influenced my basketball career the most has to be Ryan Pettit. He is the head coach at Columbia Prep. I went to his summer camp the summer before my freshman year. I was the only new student at the camp of 20 kids. He welcomed me and made sure I fit in. At this camp not only was there great basketball instruction, but each day there were 20-30 minute lectures on basketball tactics. This is what I loved the most. I didn’t really get to spend that much time with him my freshman year because I was on JV, but when I came to him about managing the team my sophomore year, he was open to the idea and we went from there. In the past three years he has taught me so much about basketball and about life. I consider him a friend now. Going forward, I will take the lessons he taught with me into college and beyond.

What are your short- and long-term goals in your career? My short-term goal is to be the best manager I can be for the Rice men’s basketball team. In addition to that I would like to do well in college. Long-term, I would like to be either a college basketball coach or an NBA coach. Coaching is in my blood, and basketball is my passion.

Can you describe your first day at Mo’ Motion? My first day at Mo’ Motion was in 6th grade. A friend of mine introduced me to Motion and my first day was intense. I met Maureen and met some of the other kids, and then it was right down to business. I remember there was so much running. Mo wanted us to be in the best shape we could be. I had played basketball before, but never as intense as that. I knew that Mo’ Motion was going to really teach me how to play the game of basketball and to have fun.

What is your favorite Mo’ Motion memory? My favorite Mo’ Motion memory is one day during a practice for my winter team in 6th grade, my friend Marshall Gershon (who was on a Motion team with me for three years) and I discovered the pick and roll. We drilled it a lot during practice, and I remember Marshall and I having so much fun running that play and the different variations of it. That was our go to play for the next three years.

If you were to describe Mo to someone, what would you say? (Don’t worry, she can take it!) She is tough. She is mean. She tells it like it is. And those are all good things. She taught me what hard work really is. And she sometimes yells, but not to be mean. She is as intense of a coach as she is because she cares about every player out there.

What do you think is the most important skill an athlete can have? I don’t know about the most important skill, but in my opinion the best traits an athlete can have are passion and determination. Those are keys to succeed. Without passion and determination, talent is useless.

What is your favorite quote about sports and/or life?  “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” – Ben Hogan

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Thank you to Eric for sharing your experiences with us! Read more Spotlights from other players and coaches at our blog.