The newest player on the College of DuPage’s Men’s Basketball team is twice as old as his teammates and even older than any current player in the NBA. When he was just 18, Jermaine Townes put his basketball career on hold and joined the Navy. Now at 39-years-old, Townes is finally making his own hoop dreams come true.
“There’s just something about being in the zone – that feeling, there’s no other feeling like it,” said Townes, who’s now the oldest athlete to ever join COD’s basketball team.
“I was surprised that he was good for age 39. 6’4” and he could shoot it! And with that, he has a chance,” said Head Coach Don Klaas. “I didn’t consider the age as much as the heart.”
Townes says he’s always had a heart for basketball. As a boy, he dreamed of playing in the NBA. But when Townes was just 6 years old his parents died, and he grew up on Chicago’s west side with very little money or guidance and no path to a basketball career.
“I had to make a decision. Be on the streets and be like everyone else I see every day, or do I want to go and be somebody different?” Townes said.
Though he couldn’t afford to go to college after high school, Townes found success in the Navy, joining at age 18 and even managing to play ball while in the service.
Junior college rules allow eligible players to take the court, with no age restrictions. Now Townes enjoys shooting hoops with his COD teammates, who look up to him and have even knick-named him “Old School.”
“He brings a positive attitude to the locker room,” said teammate and starting Center Dan Howard. “He’s a very mature teammate, especially off the court. He’s always looking out for the younger players.”
“When he first came, I thought he was another coach. I didn’t know he was actually trying out,” said the team’s Shooting Guard, Phillip Reid. “But then when I found out, the first thought that came to mind is that he can’t keep up with us. But then when I saw him get up and down the court, I knew that he could play.”
Not only can he play, but Townes gives it everything he’s got for a chance to feel like an all-star on the court.
“Sweat. Battle. Blood. That’s what I’m here for,” said Townes about his love for the game.
Townes hopes his experience on the College of DuPage’s basketball team can earn him a scholarship to a division one school in the near future.
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