This Galesburg senior gets the Silver Streaks going on the basketball court

·3 min read
Galesburg senior point guard Jeremiah Babers gets past a Dunlap defender in Thanksgiving tournament acton on  Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at John Thiel Gymnasium.
Galesburg senior point guard Jeremiah Babers gets past a Dunlap defender in Thanksgiving tournament acton on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 at John Thiel Gymnasium.

GALESBURG — Galesburg High School's Jeremiah "JB" Babers has been playing basketball since he was a first grader.

And the senior has always been a point guard.

"I've been a point guard my whole life because when I was little I was the shortest on the court so that's where they put me all the time," Babers said after Wednesday night's practice at John Thiel Gym. "I like being a point guard. I like being held accountable. I think it's the perfect position for me. My best skill is passing so it's a perfect fit."

Babers, who measures in at 6-foot-1, doesn't look to score when he's on the hardwood.

"I want to get everybody else involved," said Babers, who is averaging 12.8 points and 7.7 assists per game for the 15-3 Silver Streaks. "My whole life, I've been watching successful point guards that average a lot of assists so I try to get my teammates involved first before I basically force shots.

"I'll take shots when I know I'm open so I don't force anything," Babers added. "I know when my shots are good."

Galesburg coach Chad Thompson, who is in his first season, appreciates what Babers does.

"JB is the engine of our team. As the point guard, he gets us into everything that we need to offensively," Thompson said. "He's an amazing passer. His ability to find guys and create an open shot for teammates is amazing. Sometimes he throws passes in practice and they have no idea they're open. He kind of throws them open.

"JB's everything you can ask from a point guard. He has the ability to create, and he's there for his teammates," Thompson added. "This year, he has really stepped up in a leadership role, as well. You see him sometimes getting after guys on the court and some people may wonder what he's doing but he's tough loving them. He's demanding the best from them because everyday we demand the best from JB, and he's heard more from the coaching staff this year than any other player. He knows what we expect and demand from him. Part of that is as a point guard but a lot of that is because of how much trust we have in him."

Galesburg High School senior guard Jeremiah Babers, right, shoots a running jump shot during the Siver Streaks' 59-55 WB6 Conference win over United Township High School on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 at John Thiel Gymnasium.m
Galesburg High School senior guard Jeremiah Babers, right, shoots a running jump shot during the Siver Streaks' 59-55 WB6 Conference win over United Township High School on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 at John Thiel Gymnasium.m

And Thompson's always got an open spot for Babers.

"We love the kid to death. He's incredibly coachable, and we would not be as successful as we are without him," Thompson said. "Once he graduates college, he has an open invitation from me to coach basketball any day."

On Tuesday night, Galesburg suffered a 84-63 road loss to Rock Island in Western Big 6 Conference action, and Babers ended up with a career high 22 points.

"I feel like I could have made some more shots but I was satisfied with the way I shot," Babers said. "I think I made three or four 3s and I usually don't shoot off the dribble but I was feeling it last night."

Babers knows he's still got room to grow, and he's been focused on improving his skillset.

"I think there are still times when I could go harder. I'm working on being locked in the whole 32 minutes," Babers said. "There's only been a couple games where I've played the whole game. Sometimes, I would sit back and let others rebound but the last four or five games I've been picking it up late in the game when I've been tired but telling myself I'm not."

At one point in time, Babers sometimes didn't react to bad plays well. He's grown since then.

"It's very easy to forget," Babers said. "When I was little, I used to have a horrible mindset about turning the ball over or when my other teammates messed up. I got a lot better at that. I just think about the next play.

"One play shouldn't dictate the game so I just let it go."

Matthew Wheaton can be reached at (309) 315-6073 or at mwheaton@register-mail.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewlwheaton

This article originally appeared on Galesburg Register-Mail: IHSA: Babers is 'engine' of Galesburg's boys basketball team

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