Tatum Barber always knew she would be a collegiate athlete. But she didn’t know exactly what sport would take her there.
She spent her whole life dipping her toes in the water of different sports, but now that she’s fully dove headfirst into basketball, she knows that she made the right decision.
Barber’s passion for basketball comes from her family’s athletic background, with her father having played baseball for Missouri Valley State, and her brother Taylor plays for UT San Antonio.
Throughout her life, Barber played stints of softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball and ran track. But once high school came around, she had to make a choice on what sport she was going to focus on.
“Going into highschool, I had to pick between soccer and basketball because they were in the same season in high school and basketball obviously is what I love to do and soccer just wasn’t...enough aggressiveness for me,” Barber said. “The feeling of playing basketball like winning a game, making a shot, there’s nothing like playing basketball.”
At Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas, Barber averaged 18 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, while collecting All-State and All-District honors. She also helped her school capture back-to-back Texas State Championship in 2015 and 2016.
When it came to choosing Georgia Southern, Barber originally just wanted to get as far away from home as possible. But, when she actually went on a visit, she found another reason.
“When I came on my visit here, the coaches and the team just really felt like family,” Barber said. “The family atmosphere was something I was looking for. So when I came here, I was like this is a spot and I knew right when I walked on to the campus, I knew this is where I wanted to go.”
Going from being a two-time champion to winning only 20 total games over the course of three years has been very different for Barber.
“I’m a person that really doesn’t like to lose, so I try to give my all every game and just do what I can do,” Barber said. “But we’re definitely going up, so I’m excited to see where we go in the next year.”
Barber points to Head Coach Anita Howard as a positive influence for her. She appreciates Howard’s straight-up attitude and credits her for her success on the court. Barber leads the team in scoring and rebounds.
“She really pushes us to be our best which is something I wasn’t used to,” Barber said. “She comes in, and no matter what you think you want to hear or what you think you need to hear, she’s always going to tell you what is in your best interest and what’s going to make you the best player.”
Barber majors in sports management and was on the Sun Belt Commissioner’s List for the 2017-18 season. She loves the behind the scenes action and the idea of marketing for other teams.
“I definitely think I want to do something in sports media because I love talking to cameras, I like seeing the behind the scenes,” Barber said. “I just think that's so cool and if I get put in front of a camera I think that would be fun but I think sports media is the route I’d want to go if basketball doesn’t continue.”
Elijah Jackson, The George-Anne Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org