Vols Coach Rick Barnes Recalls Kobe Bryant in High School


The basketball world continues to mourn the loss of Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant, including Vols coach Rick Barnes. Barnes never met Kobe, but he did see him at an AAU tournament in high school.

Said Barnes:”Then all at once there’s a break here. I’m looking down at the other end, and I see a guy playing. I just get up and go down because this guy is putting on a show. When Frank came back he said coach, did you watch that game? I said no, I’m watching this kid. I said if you get me that kid, we’ll win the national championship. He was without question the greatest high school player I’ve ever watched since I’ve been in coaching. And then today I get a call that our guys want to wear purple show laces tomorrow night. So it shows you the impact that a guy like Kobe Bryant can have.”

- Advertisement -
Previous articleJoin the 100th anniversary of women voting this weekend in Niota
Next articleChattanooga Sports Hall of Fame Honoring Late James ‘Bucky’ Wolford
Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.