Catching up with Jared Jeffries

Jared Jeffries, right, enjoys a moment with his brother, Justin, at the Twin Lakes Recreation Center last week.

Chris Howell, our esteemed photographer, writes a weekly column for the Herald-Times. For Monday, he caught up with Hoosier great Jared Jeffries. Above is Howell’s photo and below are his words. Enjoy.

Believe it or not, Jared Jeffries didn’t always believe he would be an NBA player.

“Basketball was always something I just did,” he said. “It wasn’t like I was in love with it.”

“About my sophomore year (of high school),” he said. “I really decided that basketball was something I could do, I could make a living at.”

For his mother, Cecelia Jeffries, it was a little surprising as well.

“Not once had I ever thought that’s what he would do,” she said.

She always knew he enjoyed playing, but never thought that one day he would play college basketball as a Hoosier.

“The first time that he walked out there on that floor,” she said, “I just sat there and bawled. Because I had no idea … ‘This is really my son,’” she thought to herself the first time he walked onto the floor at Assembly Hall.

Now, almost 10 years later, Jared Jeffries has a wife, Jenny, and a daughter, Evangeline, and does his best to get home to Bloomington when he can.

Last week was his annual youth basketball camp at Twin Lakes Recreation Center, and one of his only opportunities to come home and relax with family and friends.

“It’s really nice because we just kind of sit around and talk and eat,” Cecelia said. “It’s very low key, but a lot of fun and relaxing.”

Jared, nearly 30 now, spent last week catching up with old friends and family.

“I think it’s amazing that 10 years have gone by since I finished high school,” he said. “I don’t get the chance to come home that often, but when I do I try to make it count by getting around to see everybody,” he said.

He takes these opportunities to share with his 2-year-old daughter some of the things he did as a child.

“My little girl had never roasted marshmallows, so we made a fire and roasted marshmallows the first night I was here,” he said.

Jared’s family looks forward to their time together as well.

“We try to fish as much as we can when he’s up here,” said Jared’s brother, Justin Jeffries. “The first day he was here, me, him and my dad went out fishing on our boat. He was here for a half hour and we were already out there fishing.”

Along with visiting family, Jeffries keeps busy with the Jared Jeffries Foundation basketball camp and helps the kids have fun playing basketball.

“I think a lot of times kids now put a lot of pressure on themselves … trying to take the game too serious,” he said.

“A lot of kids, just physically, you’re not going to be in the NBA. You’re not tall enough. You’re not fast enough,” he said.

“But you can have a lot of fun at basketball. You can get a college scholarship, and you can enjoy college,” he said.

“A lot of times, once people realize that they’re not going to be in the NBA or they’re not going to an Indiana, they get frustrated,” he said. “They get down on themselves and they quit playing or they give the game up.”

“That’s unfortunate,” he said. “The biggest thing a parent can do is just help a kid enjoy the game itself, and know that this is one of the few things in life that whatever you put into basketball always comes back to you.”

“I’ve worked really hard at basketball, but basketball has always given back to me,” he said.

Jeffries plans to give back to Bloomington in the fall by putting on a concert sometime in September to help raise money for area high school coaches.

“Everywhere right now, the education system is having a hard time,” he said. “So I feel like that’s one of the main areas I want to focus on and be involved in.”

Jeffries knows all too well the time and effort his coaches put in with him and his teammates while he was growing up in Bloomington. He wants to make sure that kids today will continue to benefit from that help.

“The amount of effort and time that they put in just helping kids and molding kids,” he said, “they deserve some kind of pay.”


  1. What a class act. Jared is a great example of what a true Hoosier Basketball player is all about. Between him and Calbert Cheaney, we have plenty to brag about in this state.

  2. I remember when he really stepped it up when IU beat Duke in the Final four. Bitter sweat. True Hoosier all the way. He looks really jacked compared to when he was in college.

  3. It was a regional semi at Lexington. I was in attendance. One of the greatest comebacks in Hoosier history against #1 Duke. It was a true team effort. Odle and A.J. Moye also had great games to rally the Hoosiers from 17 points down. Mike Davis made some sensational adjustments at halftime getting Odle great looks inside early in the second half. I have the entire game on VHS tape…love to pull it out once in a while.

  4. Didn’t quite get that elusive 6th banner that year, but if there were banners given out for teams who “Compete, Dude, Compete” for national championships, IU would have surely come away with another cloth to hang from that magic run. Wish I could have watched it in person like the poster ‘Almost.’

  5. Although he will get credit for the halftime adjustments, if you ask the players, Mike Davis actually had nothing to do with them. That team was pretty much coached by the players on the floor.

  6. It looks like there is a lot going on with this Gunner Kiel to IU rumor everywhere but here. Any thoughts from this board’s assembled posters?

  7. Gunner has stated how much influence Dusty was to him while growing up and how close they still are but in these final weeks are not talking about his decision. He has made comments as to how far away Oklahoma was but he felt he could deal with it(probably thinks the same about Alabama). Is going to go to Mizzou in a day or two. He readily admits his folks are his closest confidants. If his choice is out of state, and he and Dusty have home games on the same Saturday does Mom go to one location and Dad the other? Once he joined the HS team he relates how fast he learned because Dusty was there at practice everyday to help him. He has kept his recruitment profile so low key I doubt the reputation of the Sooners or Tide excites him more than IU does. He also has publicly said he likes Coach Wilson, his coaching resume and past accomplishments along with the staff he has hired. This family is to close to separate. If this were a horse race I believe IU is leading by a neck and finishes.
    JPat, Mike P do you think similarly?

  8. I think Big Bob is on to something.

    Outside of halftime adjustments, the players coached themselves against Duke?..We know at least one Hoosier did. I guess that explains Fife’s asinine foul that nearly cost us the game. I suppose that’s the only moment when Davis was coaching. It probably went down something like this in the final timeout huddle:

    Coach Davis: “Dane, we have a four point lead..First, you’re my best perimeter defender so don’t pay any attention to Williams. Daydream of spending a day at the beach on the shores of Lake Michigan with the Fab Five and hopefully it will be possible for Williams to be open enough to snatch a rebound or get free coming off a screen. Second, if he gets the ball at the top of the circle for a last-second shot, make certain to get there late and let him get it off clean..Now here comes the important part..Do I have your complete attention? The only way we lose this game, break the hearts of 5,000 Hoosier fans in this hillbilly hole of a stadium…make a half-million Kenlucky and Duke fans ecstatic….and ensure my job remains in serious jeopardy… is for you to make sure to whack William’s on the arm after he get’s off his clean look at a 3-pointer. You must whack him, Dane. Whack him good. Leave the door open in this lovely ‘House of Rupp’ and make sure that ref hasn’t one ounce hillbilly-guilt for giving Duke a chance to win based on the completely logical foul I instructed you to comitt. Now we all now they love Hoosiers in Lexington, Kenlucky…Go out there these final seconds and make Kenlucky proud. Duke diserves this one. They’re the better team that has the better coach that is a best friend of Knight. And give that Kentuckian in a Hoosier shirt..Yes, the guy named Big Bob sitting behind our bench that’s been heckling me all night…give him a reason to smile ear to ear. I want to see him so happy we’ve lost that I can see his entire toothless gumline on my way to the locker room. Let me repeat: Lose Williams. Let Williams get off a clean look…Whack Williams..Gumline of Big Bob. I go coach at UAB. Are we clear?

    Fife(thinking to himself): Gumline? UAB? I’m coaching these boys, but this time I’m listening. I like the idea of no solid defense and no sound decision making when the game is on the line. My Michigan Fab Five would have wanted it that way. I’m from the land the Fab Five…Next week I may have the chance to introduce Myles Brand to Kelvin Sampson. If I screw this up just as instructed, Myles will be so impressed how us Hoosier boys coached ourselves to victory over Sampson that he’ll offer a head coaching job to Kelvin next year. Sampson will be on the phone all the time so the fine Hoosier recruits that follow our footsteps can also enjoy coaching themselves. It’s about time Mike Davis got it right. I’m fouling like I know I shouldn’t.

  9. Wow, Fife’s Plan, you really thought that out. I’ll have to read that a couple more times for the full impact of your devastating sarcasm to fully manifest itself. An impressive set of references there–you got everyone from Coach K to Coach Cellvin. Impressive!

    Who is Gunner Kiel?

  10. Thanks. I’m glad you appreciated the condensed version. Though I do believe it still doesn’t compete with the ‘devastating cynicism’ a cold one-liner, a viewpoint unwilling to let an ex-coach, a relatively decent man that represented Indiana with dignity, have a tiny bit of credit for an honest Hoosier win against a #1 team in the nation without defecating on his name.
    Honestly? We can’t let him have that moment without belching out some ridiculous comment that guys were coaching themselves?

  11. Fife- the poster who calls himself “Big Bog” is a tired old act who comes around the Scoop once in a while only to make sarcastic jabs at anyone not named Knight, using a simplistic, 4 guards-ish tone.

    His post #6 was a classic move of sports simplemindedness. If you like a coach, you give him all the credit for the players’ performance on the court. If you don’t like the coach, you give credit to the previous coach or to “the system” for teaching the players to win in the coach’s absence.

    I’m sure Big Bob will find a way to credit Bob Knight for every Hoosier win this upcoming season, and blame Crean for every loss.

  12. …oops…. the posted who calls himself “Big Bob” I should say…although “Big Bog” has a nice ring to it…

  13. You hit the nail on the head. It’s a very toxic sports town. I think I shared that opinion with you many moons ago. The only thing offering any hope a good cleansing the old stagnant ‘bog’ is time itself. It’s sad to think the only day basketball ‘fans’ in Bloomington will be 100% behind their school and team (through thick and thin)is when my generation’s children are food for worms. Thanks for the kind support.

  14. Clarion, I think you might be on to something with Gunner. Scary thing, I think there is another Kiel ready to take over at Columbus East after Gunner.


    Gunner Kiel is the #1 ranked High School QB in the nation. A 5 star player and little brother of current IU QB hopeful Dusty Kiel.

  15. Fife’s Plan…I agree, why the need to spit on a very decent man’s face? Considering the situation, he gave us a lotmore than we gave him. We should respect that.

  16. Mike P, Could there be a family tree with more QB’s hanging in it than the Kiels’ lineage is producing?

    Gents, no doubt about the decent man moniker for Davis. As a coach he earns an A for the Duke BB game, for the full body of his coaching work at IU he earned a C-. Knowing that was not good enough, he resigned.

  17. Clarion,

    I think there has been a Kiel at the helm of East since the 70’s. I’m sure there has been gaps, but not many……

  18. Yes, I do believe I have heard or read something of the same. Quite a bloodline.

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