Samajae Haynes-Jones has certainly made the most of his Senior season at Wichita State.
Dec, 15, 2018; Wichita, Kansas, USA; Wichita State battled the Southern Miss Eagles at Intrust Bank Arena ©Kelly Ross
"The fact that he is on the precipice now of his Senior night and graduation," WSU Head Coach Gregg Marshall began to explain. "And just fulfilling his basketball career at the collegiate level... watching him mature and grow has been great."
Not one, but two, buzzer beaters at Koch Arena highlight a year of big moments for the Wichita native. On Monday, he was named to the AAC Honor Roll after a game winner against UConn.
Tuesday, Haynes-Jones celebrates his Senior night. A culmination of his triumphs not just at Wichita State, but coming up through East High School and Hutchinson Junior College, where he won a state championship and a NJCAA national championship respectively.
And all of this success, while shouldering the loss of his mother. Haynes-Jones mom died during his Senior year of High School.
"Everyone has their own story to tell. their own trauma, or tough things, to deal with in their life," Marshall said at a media scrum Monday ahead of Senior night. "Samajae has had quite a bit."
Samajae wears a gold necklace with the name "Mommy" on it.
"It's something for my mom," Haynes-Jones explained while clutching the necklace between his fingers. "I didn't want anything too flashy, just something i could see when i wake up every morning."
It's a reminder too that Samajae's biggest fan, and the person who introduced him the game he loves, is always with him as he prepares to finish a stellar playing career, while graduating in May.
This is why I've been playing basketball, because she gave me the ball," Haynes-Jones said while smiling. "It's just something that motivates me every day to get up and keep doing what i do."