Retirees Association

Archdeacon: Wright State freshman ready to roll

Jayon Hall

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

He sat in the top of the Nutter Center — up on the concourse overlooking the well-lit basketball court — and talked about his development.

“I’d watch what other people did, then go try it. Sometimes I’d fall, but I’d get back up again and try it again until I just got better and better.”

So that’s how Jaylon Hall developed into the promising 6-foot-6 freshman guard for the Wright State Raiders?

No — he was talking about roller skating.

“That’s the one thing people don’t know about me — I’m a big roller skater,” he said. “I’ve been roller skating probably ever since I could walk. And I’m pretty good now. It’s my first love besides basketball.”

But what about now as he makes his college basketball debut tonight when the Raiders travel to Chicago to play Loyola in the season opener?

“No, I haven’t skated since I came to college,” he admitted. “That’s probably part of my past now. I don’t want any kind of injury that could keep me from playing.”

He went through too much just to get here.

Over five years ago he left his parents, his siblings and his hometown of Houston to make this happen. Long before that he said he’d lost any dream of an idyllic childhood.

It’s not a subject he enjoys talking about, but he broached it the other afternoon.

 “Childhood was rough for me,” he said quietly. “My parents split up when I was real young and there was a lot of turmoil. My dad raised me the times I was able to see him, but it was more like I was raising myself.”

He said he “definitely rebelled and all those type of things,” but said his actions manifested themselves differently than with some other kids:

“I’m a very quiet guy. I don’t really say much. I think the reason for that is I found myself alone a lot. But that kind of gave me the sense of ‘alright you’re all you got.’

“I’d go outside in front of our house and just dribble a basketball. There was a park around where I grew up, but it really wasn’t safe. So they didn’t want me down there ‘til I got older.

“So I’d watch NBA players and then go out and try to do what they did. I’d dream about doing all that. I’d just dribble up and down the street until it was too dark to see or I was told to come inside.

“Basketball became my escape.” He wasn’t just talking figuratively.