While most high school seniors are beginning at their four-year university of choice, Frank Barksdale is taking his time in making one of the most important decisions of his young adult life.
Looking to pursue a degree in business, Barksdale is planning to start out at a two-year community college in his hometown of Petersburg while he tries to decide which state schools can offer him the best business education and athletic opportunity.
In addition to his numerous academic achievements, Barksdale has been a part of Petersburg High School‘s varsity basketball team. “It just kind of grew on me,” Barksdale said. “At first, I was young, I didn’t play basketball, I played football when I was young and then … I tried out for the team and I made it and he said I was good but I didn’t think I was good.”
Barksdale also played volleyball during his sophomore year, but said he didn’t like it enough to continue playing. He also has started winning awards for his basketball participation, further encouraging him to pursue playing in college.
In addition to studying business and playing sports, Barksdale wants to pursue a minor in sports management so he can be involved with sports in any capacity in his life. “I hope that I can get a career around sports,” he said.
Before he moves on from Petersburg High School, Barksdale is finishing his senior year with several dual enrollment math courses that will give him college credit toward his business degree.
Once he finishes two years at a community college to better gauge what schools offer a degree program and basketball team he wants to participate in, Barksdale will consider larger schools. Right now, he’s looking at Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University or schools in Delaware, where his father lives.
Although Barksdale said he didn’t grow up with his father or a strong father figure, he’s been able to find that in his basketball coach, Wayne Keys. “He had an impact on my life like nobody else,” Barksdale said. “That’s the closest thing I have to a father.”
Barksdale said Keys encouraged him to join the varsity basketball team and not only does it help him, it also helps his mom, who raises him by herself. “(Keys) always looks out for me … and I respect him for that,” Barksdale said. “He motivates me. He takes some of the weight off my mom and I like that. I’m just glad that he’s in my life.”
And while his coach motivates him to stay focused in his high school career, Barksdale said his mom is his daily inspiration to continue on his path to becoming a college basketball star. “I just want to make it in basketball for her really, not just for myself or for all the fame,” he said. “I don’t want to see my mom struggle all her life. I want her to have the best living conditions.”