Jeremiah (left) and Nate Pardee (right) getting work done. (Photo Credit: Andrew Watkins)
Many of our Bandits know Jeremiah Dunnings. Some of you know him as “J.” A lot of you know him as “that crazy intense dude that talks to himself and everyone else while he works out.”
I’ll never forget the first personal training session I did with J and his twin sister, CC. If you think J talks to himself a lot, you’ve got to see him workout with CC–it’s a whole other level.
Jeremiah is one of the most self-motivated individuals that I’ve ever worked with. Anyone who has seen him in the gym knows the intensity he brings with him to the gym and the commitment he has to his training while he’s here.
What many of you may not know about J is that he’s been a man on mission for the past two years, and that’s the whole reason he joined Bandit CrossFit.
Jeremiah would never tell many people this, but he has a storied basketball career that started when his Biloxi High School team won the Mississippi high school basketball state championship in 2009. He went on to a decorated college career that started at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and then eventually on to William Carey, where J was named an NAIA Conference 1st Team All American.
He came to our gym after he graduated from college because he was determined to make it to the pros. With his smaller height than the typical professional basketball player, J knew that he had to get stronger and even more skilled if he wanted to compete on the next level. He felt like CrossFit could help him achieve that goal. Since then, Jeremiah has fought for every inch and taken every opportunity to improve his game, his athletic ability, and his skills.
Many of you see his commitment to his workouts in the gym, but you don’t know that for these past two years, he’s done so much more. He has attended combines and trained with pro and semi-pro players. He’s played in the Gulfport men’s league on the Silencers team–and scored more than 30 points in a game multiple times to be part of the highly-acclaimed “30 Point Club.” He plays pickup games at Mercy Cross and Keesler every chance he gets. He’s been working with the d’Iberville High School boys team coaches, Lorenzo Wright (now with Pascagoula High School) and Chris Odom. Along with his game play and strength and conditioning work, J also has a grueling ball handling and shooting regimen that I can almost imagine he does daily. I’m sure he does even more than he has told me.
And that is just part of his story. I’ve talked to J after class several times over the years to learn more about him and where he gets the drive and determination that he has. I have heard a lot of stories that go back to his childhood playing peewee football, and times spent working on a farm loading hay bales. He has spent thousands of hours in gyms, sneaking in early in the morning and leaving late at night. J’s parents have both dedicated their lives to teaching their kids the value of hard work. That value is something that J radiates in everything he does.
Not only has J inspired our gym members, but along the way, he has inspired many young men and women not only by his example, but by speaking to kids sports programs, working as an assistant girls basketball coach at Biloxi High School, and working at the Biloxi Boys and Girls Club. He’s a natural with kids, and you can tell they all look up to him.
And, now after all his years of unfathomable dedication and hard work, J has the opportunity to see his professional basketball dreams become a reality. Tomorrow, he is leaving on a morning flight to Germany to play 10 games in 10 days in the Euro Basketball League. Here, there will be coaches and scouts from German pro teams, and J is hoping that one of those people will show some interest in giving him a pro contract. I wish all of the people there could know as much about J as we do. If they had the privilege to watch him work these past two years, they’d take him immediately. He’s skilled. He’s strong. He’s a team player and motivator. He’s a hard worker. He’s humble. He takes nothing for granted. He’s the kind of person a coach wants to put his or her faith in.
J, we’re going to miss you around here. You’re a living and breathing version of every motivational quote that we’ve ever heard. Keep working hard and inspiring all the people around you. And in your true fashion, we will see you at 5 am tomorrow morning for your workout before you leave. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.
More about J:
WLOX TV13 Article (2014): Biloxi Basketball Player Shooting for Pro League in Europe