Southeast basketball player transitions from the “big easy” to pursue his dreams
Southeast men’s basketball junior guard Jonathan Dalton is a native of New Orleans.
The cultural differences in Southeast Missouri is not the same as life back home.
Dalton adapted and adjusted his mental thinking about the surroundings when he relocated to this area. The downtown atmosphere was a lure in his decision to relocate and become a student-athlete in a Midwestern city.
Is this coincidental or destination that Dalton ended up at Southeast?
Dalton is from an area in which the Mississippi River runs a path by the city and he chose to pursue his basketball career and education in another city that shares the river.
“I have used basketball as my outlet for a long time always competing, sort of like the river flows,” Dalton said.
Dalton has suffered two injuries in his career with a torn meniscus his junior year in high school missing summer league play going into his senior year.
The first game of the 2015-16 season to start his junior college career he tore his meniscus again in which he missed about 10 games but with good rehabilitation and persistence he returned strong averaging 20.1 points per game. Dalton is ready to be a playmaker on the court to help the team.
“I’ve played against older guys and upper-level competition for as long as I can remember,” Dalton said. “Those competitive games have prepared me to be at a happy place here at Southeast.”
Dalton is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs around 155 pounds.
“I have to play with passion and heart while competing because I am a smaller guard who sometimes compete against taller or players who are just as athletic and competitive as I am,” Dalton said.
“Everyone in New Orleans has a competitive spirit. You don’t walk around feeling like another player got the best of you on the court. So you use that as motivation. This translates to life in a positive way. We take it personal and you come ready to compete at all times.”
Dalton played one year at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson Mississippi, before transferring to Southeast. One of the main factors for signing was head coach Rick Ray.
“Coach Ray is a good man beyond coaching and he cares about his players finishing school to become better young men,” Dalton said.
Dalton knows he won’t be able to play basketball forever.
“I was raised by my parents to value my education and let my talents take me places, but I miss home sometimes,” Dalton said.
Dalton has started to reach out to other athletes to support them while getting to know them as people outside of sports.
“It’s different down here compared to where I’m from, the hospitality, the environment and the people, not in a negative way,” Dalton said.
Dalton keeps in contact with several former Southeast players who have either transferred or may be playing professional basketball at some level.
“I expect our team to have a winning attitude and compete every night, our team has become closer off the court because life is bigger than basketball and it helps on the court,” Dalton said.
The Ohio Valley Conference basketball preseason picks has Southeast finishing in 10th. This has motivated the team for the upcoming season.
“We don’t pay attention to the preseason picks, we were picked to finish 8th or 9th last year and had a better season than predicted,” Dalton said.
Dalton is majoring in human resources and if he does not continue his basketball career after college he will be using his degree to find a career.