Jay is the kind of person who takes pride in the help he gives to others. When he was younger, he was always there to help his friends and teammates whenever they asked for him and was a leader in his community and extracurricular activities. When he could no longer play basketball, he became an assistant coach and continued to coach when he moved to Europe. He isn't exactly the best teacher academically, but he does try his hardest to make sure his students succeed. Jay always finds a way to get what he wants through hard work. He wasn't looked on as a kid to be a good basketball player, but he worked hard to get considered by schools. Even after his injury forced him to stop playing, he wanted to stay in the game and he worked to develop his coaching skills. After the move to Europe he wanted to develop kids that he saw a special talent in, but people didn't want on a major team. He had to fight to get them into Tsukuba, which he eventually did. It's this kind of determination that has managed to get him where he is and he plans to keep being that person.
Coach Barkley's noticeable feature is his bad leg. When he was a freshman in college, he had a severe leg injury that forced him out of basketball early and has forced him to walk with a cane for the rest of his life. This has limited his mobility and things he can do. This injury has affected him more than just physically, as he still feels angry at the fact his life hasn't gone as planned, giving him a short-fuse temper and his tendency to disappear for days at a time and heavy smoking to help take his mind off things. Jay is a habitual smoker. He developed it the year of his basketball injury as a way to deal with the stress and he continues it to this day. His addiction is to the point where it interferes with his life sometimes, letting the class take breaks so he can go out to smoke or handing off practices to the team captain so he can take a smoke. He gets constantly reprimanded for his smoking, but he doesn't stop at all.
Jay Barkley was once one of the most promising young athletes in America. While he wasn't a prime athlete in the early years of his high school, he worked hard and got accepted to the University of Colorado on a basketball scholarship. In his freshman year of college, his level of play started to turn a lot of heads and he was seen as a possible NBA draft pick if he declared himself eligible. However, during the last game of his freshman season, he tripped into a bad play and had a large player collapse on him, causing his leg to fracture in multiple places and his knee ligaments to be torn. Despite all the best reconstructive surgery that could be performed, his leg could not properly heal and he was forced off the basketball court for good. Life after that was hard. He went from being a top prospect to an embarrassing bust, earning the nickname "The Great Bust". Jay managed to get his life partially back on track by focusing more on his studies, however. He stayed the next three years at college, earning a degree in education as well as serving as an assistant coach for the basketball team.
He attempted a teaching career after college, but the main passion of his life was still basketball, but he could no longer play and no coaching position of note was open in America. With that, he moved to Italy to try and find himself a new career in basketball. In Italy, he found himself in the coach's seat for a youth team that was often a stepping stone for players bound for national competition. Jay enjoyed the new position, finally being in charge for once. There, he developed his skills and was a hit with the players he coached, being a popular coach among them. He was a frequent visitor of international tournaments due to his team's successes. There he found other teams that were interested in him and he kept an eye on certain players that kept his interest. After a few years in Italy, he approached players that were interested in working with him from other countries and he started a team that played in the summer and fall, outside of the normal season, to play exhibition games and he could teach them in practices in between games. The players on this team were young kids, not yet eligible for international play, as he could get to help them before they hit a big stage.
This team had him in the care of several players he really took a shine to personally and professionally. He took his five best players and asked them if they wanted to work with him more in a setting where they could develop more as a team. The only way he could think to do this was in a scholastic setting. He talked to several schools that were interested in them but no school in Europe was willing to import a team as culturally diverse as theirs wholesale. The only two schools willing to accept them were a public high school in California, and the private Tsukuba Academy in Japan. While America may have been better for them as a team, he opted to take them to Japan as the education for the team would be better. Coming in the halfway mark of the year, he has given his students a good education, a chance to grow as a team, and is the guardian for his players. This team is the biggest project he has ever undertaken, but to him, these kids are like his family and he wants the best for them, and he is going to work to provide that for him.
- Jake enjoys teaching & mentoring kids.
- He still likes playing basketball.
- He likes to spend his weekends in the city.
- And he reads in his spare time.