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March 11, 2013

DuBois looks back

Senior [db]Jarred DuBois[/db] transferred to the University of Utah after he found himself with a single year of eligibility remaining upon graduating from Loyola Marymount. The extra year was the result of a foot injury, and subsequent medical redshirt season, yielding him just three full seasons at Loyola.

Even still DuBois made the absolute most of three seasons, leaving as the Lions' 23rd all-time leading scorer with 1,139 points and made 148 three-pointers to rank fourth all-time at Loyola. In fact, DuBois finished his career inside the Top 25 in eight statistical categories.

With those kind of numbers, DuBois had many suitors, and over all of them, he chose the University of Utah. He made his choice based on a comfort level with the Utah coaching staff and the history of the program, but primarily because Utah was the place he felt he could make the biggest impact.

While nothing has gone exactly as planned, DuBois has indeed left his indelible mark on the Utah Basketball program. DuBois leads the Runnin' Utes in scoring with an average of 12.2 points per game and leads the team in assists, and has come up huge late in the season for the Utes, who have just won back-to-back conference games since joining the Pac-12.

However, his impact reaches far beyond wins and numbers in a box score, just as the 2012-13 team will never go down in the record books as having accomplished anything significant. Yet, both DuBois and this year's team have done far more than most will ever realize, but in ways that can't truly be measured.

"There's something special to be said about someone who willingly signs up to sacrifice and put in the effort for something that they will never benefit from personally, or that someone else may get the payoff years down the road," said Assistant Coach [db]Tommy Connor[/db] of DuBois. "That's a certain kind of character that you don't find in everyone, so what this group of seniors has done for this program will never be forgotten."

What DuBois has done for this program was to lead a young team, and has been the best kind of example of perseverance, steadiness, conviction and character this program has seen in some time, and that example has rubbed off and effected a great many people in a very short time.

"The biggest thing that J.D. brought to this team was his work ethic, competitiveness and just to keep fighting through everything. He has come to practice and brought the same effort, been the same teammate every single day, no matter if we won or lost," said junior guard [db]Glen Dean[/db]. "He's been one of our guys who kept competing and was really good at putting our past losses behind us, and getting ready for the next game. It was always on to the next game, and how we could get better or learn from the mistakes that we made."

Keeping that perspective, and providing steady leadership hasn't come easy for DuBois through the difficult season.

"When I came here, I knew the circumstances and I knew it would be hard, that it would be a challenge. But I did not expect it to be this hard, or for it turn out like this. What I had to learn was to accept when my expectations weren't being met, to find the positive, or the lesson in that," DuBois explained in the midst of a multi-game losing streak. "I came here to win, and so when that didn't happen, I kept trying to find what the lesson was. What I figured out was that there is a reason for everything that happens, and that there is something to be learned from the challenges."

After digging deep, DuBois was pensive when discussing the lessons he will take from his one trying season at Utah.

"I think the main thing I learned from all of this is how important it is to not quit whatever it is you're doing. But I think I don't have any quit in me, so it's something I guess I didn't learn, but was reminded of," DuBois explained. "I guess what I learned is how much of a leader I really am. I have always been a team guy and I always knew that I could make an impact, and that my role was important. But once I got here, I saw that this team needed me, and I learned how much I was capable of. That's what I'll take from this."

His well-earned lessons at Utah will only add a layer to his considerable wisdom and experience, having fought through his upbringing in one of the toughest areas of Los Angeles, Inglewood. With all kinds of influences surrounding him as a young man, DuBois absorbed the examples set by, and the guidance from his family rather than some of the friends who were taking different paths.

"Things were tough where I grew up, and people were doing all kinds of different things. I knew a lot of people who were struggling, who were not doing well and not making the right choices," DuBois recalled. "But at the same time, I had other people who were doing good things, making good choices and setting good examples. I had family, my aunties who were going to school and trying to make something of their lives. So I was shown another way by people I loved."

Indeed, it has been DuBois' family who have served as a compass every step of the way through his journey, which is nearing the end of one of the most significant chapters of his young life. That life has taught him humility, instilled his fighting spirit and above all, taught him to appreciate, and make the most of everything he has.

"The most important thing in this world is family, and as long as you have that support and the love of your family, you can do anything and you can get through anything," DuBois praised. "That's what matters in this life, and that includes friends and all the people that you love and care about and who love and care about you. It's the people in the community who help to raise you, and help teach you lessons."

DuBois' mother, Sharon, has made several trips to Utah, including moving her family's Thanksgiving to Utah in order to have the family together. In discussing how here son came to be the man that he is today, she resolutely explained that "he didn't have a choice" but to turn out the way that he has. In one very short meeting with Sharon in November, it was clear that she was the driving force behind DuBois' character and success and the revelation was that she stood firmly behind him, consistently pointing him in the right direction throughout his life.

DuBois' idol and father, Gary was his example of selflessness and sacrifice, as the elder DuBois once lived in his car while fully and gainfully employed in order to save, and provide money for extended family badly in need of assistance. With the character of both parents combined along with the life lessons learned in a difficult, and trying circumstances, the result is a young man poised to do big things far beyond leading a basketball team in need.

In fact, he's already begun.

DuBois was the catalyst behind an impromptu community service project in which several Utah athletes began making sandwiches for the homeless in Pioneer Park every Sunday, with money out of their own pockets.

After attending a summer concert at the park, DuBois took note of the many homeless, and showed up the following Sunday with sandwiches for the needy. That one act turned into a regular practice, which didn't just entail handing out food, but also attempts to know, and reach out to and even befriend those who had fallen on hard luck.

DuBois also spear-headed a campaign to distribute Christmas gifts to all of the special-needs students at his high school; yet another example of the kind of person his parents, and family, have forged.

"I have been given so much, and I have opportunities to get an education that so many people will never get, and my education is paid for. So I have to stop and think about people out there who don't have what I have," he explained. "Whatever I can do to give back, or to help, I want to do. Especially to this community, who have taken me in and given me so much support. It's something I want to do, and should do, because I have so many blessings."

Even beyond his previous extraordinary acts of kindness, DuBois looks to continue his service to the community and the world at large.

"After I graduate, I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do, specifically. But I know it will be helping people, and reaching out to people and helping in communities. I think the best thing you can do for a kid is to teach him that he has worth, and that he matters," DuBois theorized. "That's what my family and friends did for me, and I think that's what made the difference. It made me believe I could get through everything that I had to, and that I had a chance to make something of my life. That's what I want to do for other people, for kids. Show them a way out, and that they have worth."

So while his accomplishments at Utah, both on and off the court have made an impact, if not the kind of impact he expected, DuBois' best works lie ahead. How many games he won or lost on a college basketball team will have little to do with all that he may accomplish in life, though the realization of his own value and leadership abilities may prove to be the catalyst to something bigger, and more significant down the road.


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