Joe Bright was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Minnesota with his family when he was eight years old. That year was the first time that he picked up a basketball and started to play.
He has been in love with the game ever since.
Bright attended Cooper High School in Robbinsdale, Minnesota and became one of the best basketball players in the state. He was a highly recruited player who was on the All-State team and planned to attend Toledo University upon his graduation from high school in 2009.
That all changed when one of Bright’s high school coaches took an assistant coaching job at Howard College.
“My coach, Jeff Mayock, who was my assistant coach in high school got the assistant job at Howard College with Coach Adams,” Bright said. “He just talked to me with an opportunity to go to a bigger school than Toledo University in the future and I chose that route.”
Bright was a two-time captain as a member of the Hawks and was a focal point of the 2009-10 National Championship-winning team. As a junior college player, getting to advance all the way to a national championship game can do wonders for recruitment to a four-year university. Bright decided to stay for his sophomore season in Big Spring and really left his mark on the game.
During his sophomore campaign, Bright was named the Region 5 Defensive Player of the Year and made the All-WJCAC Team. Bright was the vocal leader on the court and loved to do all the dirty work near the basket. He was able to use his size to lockdown opponents on the defensive end while he also learned and improved enough to play at the Division I level.
“It was amazing,” Bright said about his time at Howard. “I wouldn’t change it for anything. The people that I met in Big Spring are the reason I’m in Big Spring. The city was always great to the players and we always handled ourselves correctly. We won a national championship and I wouldn’t change it for anything... Actually if it was four years, I still talk to my old teammates and they all agree, I’m pretty sure we all would have been here for four years.”
The next stop: Stephen F. Austin University.
“I chose Stephen F. Austin due to it being my main goal and my dream to play on ESPN and to play at the highest level. I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Bright said.
Bright played his junior and senior seasons in Nacogdoches and saw limited playing time during his tenure as a Lumberjack. Over his two seasons, he started five games while averaging 1.5 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game.
What was his favorite experience while a member of the Lumberjacks?
“Playing my former Hawk teammate, Carlos Emory who went to Oregon, in a Christmas tournament at Oregon,” Bright said. “It was a great experience to see us both at the highest level and we’re both from Minnesota so we both had an appreciation for all that we had accomplished.”
Knee injuries slowed Bright over his basketball career and never allowed him to reach his full potential. After six knee surgeries, Bright still had the passion and wanted to keep his dream of playing professionally alive, but his body was telling him something different.
The 6-foot-4 forward said that he was not sure what he was going to do following his graduation from Stephen F. Austin and still had plans to try playing overseas.
Instead, he received a phone call that would send his life in a different direction.
“I grew up playing nothing but basketball and I had a bachelor’s degree but I honestly didn’t know what to do with it,” Bright said. “Debra Lewis asked me to come down and substitute, I did it, and ever since then I’ve just loved it. She always told me to try to stay close to the game even though I can’t play it, I can always be a part of it.”
Since then, Bright has lived in Big Spring and is a teacher and coach. He has a website (joebrightbasketball.net) that tells about his life and it is also where you can schedule a training session with him.
For the past three years, Bright has been running Joe Bright Basketball Training where you can have one-on-one private sessions or a group sessions where the whole family can improve their skills. In a short biography about Bright on his website, the following is written about his love for the game:
“His passion continues to be closely connected to basketball, and is now centered around helping youth and young adults reach their full potential. Joe is also a motivation speaker where he speaks to different youth groups to inspire them to dream big.”
Bright is also an assistant coach on both the Big Spring girl’s and boy’s varsity basketball teams. He has a wealth of knowledge about not only what it takes to be able to play at the next level but also how to succeed once you get there.
For over 20 years, Bright has been in love with the game of basketball. In those 20-plus years he has accomplished many of his personal goals and helped others achieve their’s as well.
“My goal is to continue to train and continue to help the youth and develop them not only basketball-wise but as young men and young ladies off the court,” Bright said.
Joe Bright is going to continue to teach the sport that is so near to his heart to anyone that wants to improve. For over 20 years he has loved the game of basketball and lived out the dream of playing Division I basketball. Now, he will continue to spread his knowledge of the game to anyone who wants to improve and possibly live out their own dream playing college ball.
Shawn Moran is the sportswriter at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or call 432-263-7331.