Charlie Obaugh RV & Outdoor Center Student Athlete of the Week: Jadon Burgess
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Jadon Burgess has been a star basketball player at Harrisonburg High School who is a leader among his peers off the court.
“I’ve just tried to take it for what it is and make the most of it every time I step out onto the court and step out to play. I feel like basketball brings a lot to the table, it takes life lessons, it takes a lot of hard work and just learning from losses and things like that,” said Burgess, a senior at Harrisonburg High School.
Burgess is an All-Area and All-Valley District Basketball player who is being recruited by a number of Division III schools to play college ball next year. He led the Bluestreaks in several major stats this season.
“He led us in each of the different categories: scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, he averaged one charge per game,” said Don Burgess, boys basketball Head Coach at Harrisonburg High School and Jadon’s father. “The thing that the average fan doesn’t see but we as coaches and basketball minds see are the intangibles, how many times he led to a bucket for a teammate because of spacing or because of a screen.”
Don said that one of his favorite parts about his son’s game is his unselfishness.
“He gets so excited and happy for a teammate or someone else to score as opposed to him scoring and that speaks volumes of his character and the type of player he is,” said Don.
Jadon has followed in his father’s footsteps at HHS, Don played basketball there in the late 80s before returning to coach eight years ago.
“It’s definitely something that has had a positive impact on me. Sometimes people are like ‘oh the pressure and living in the shadows’ but to me, I never felt like I’ve been in the shadows. He has been a key role model and someone I really look up to as that leader and figure that I try to encourage myself to be,” said Jadon.
Don Burgess said he and his wife didn’t push Jadon or his older sister to play basketball but encouraged them to try a variety of sports. His son would develop a passion for the same sport as his father.
“We wanted him to have his own path and the path he ended up selecting was basketball and that was because of the passion and you saw that in his work ethic,” said Don. “We never dragged him to the gym. My wife and I said when it gets to that time and you want to go to the gym you just let us know and he got to that age where ‘I want to go to the gym, I want to go to the gym, and my wife and I would look at each other and go ‘ahhh here we go again’.”
The father-son duo said that while it was hard at times the years Jadon played for his father were a great experience.
“It’s really a nice relationship because yeah we’ll bicker every now and then and have our on-the-court battles and things like that but at the end of the day we have a good understanding and a good relationship with each other,” said Jadon.
Don said that while he had to be harder on his son than the other players being able to coach his son was a special experience.
“It’s been awesome, the bonding that we had from the school bus trips, him helping me with laundry, or we’re getting extra shots up but it’s something that I’ll always cherish,” he said.
Jadon also played football and ran track during his time at HHS, in track he qualified for states in hurdles. In the classroom, he is an excellent student with a 4.1 GPA he has taken a number of college-level classes and will graduate high school with an associate’s degree.
“In the classroom kind of like on the field he leads by example, he’s very engaged in lessons, he asks thoughtful questions, and he works well with his peers. He’s just a solid student,’ said Marc Healy, an A.P. History and Psychology teacher at HHS.
Jadon said that taking college-level courses has benefited him and helped him improve his time management before he heads to college. He said that Psychology is his favorite subject area in school.
“That’s a class that I’ve been really engaged in, I had a good teacher early on, and ever since then that’s kind of been something I’ve really been passionate about and look forward to doing in the future,” he said.
Jadon is also very involved in his school he has been the SCA representative for his class all four years of high school and has served as a liaison between students and administration.
“He leads by example, what I mean by that is he does what you’re supposed to do even when people aren’t looking and that rubs off on people around him. He is the senior class representative so he speaks on behalf of a lot of people here at HHS, he just embodies the whole idea of being a student-athlete,” said Healy.
Jadon is also a leader in the Black Student Union at HHS where he serves as an executive chairman.
“What we do is try to provide a safe space for people of color at Harrisonburg High School. We just talk about anything, our day, and certain social issues, we did something special for black history month this February we were able to make announcements showcasing and contributing things of black educators and black leaders,” said Jadon.
Jadon said that the most important thing he wants to be remembered for at HHS is his openness to connect with others.
“It’s ok to get with other groups of people to learn something new about someone you don’t know. I take pride in myself about that, being a puzzle piece with no edges and just trying to mesh and not having a certain crowd or a certain group. It’s just that I’ve always been someone that other people can reach out to and someone who is available for others if they need help,” he said.
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