For every Clark Kent, there is a Superman. It’s when you find both in one person that you have a superhero. For the Cornell men’s basketball team, senior tri-captain Greg Barratt now wears the red cape.
His suit, glasses and calmly gait will disarm any suspecting reporter. But on the court, Barratt is an animal of completely different breed. He skies for rebounds like he has flubber on his shoes. He sets screens like a 6′ 9″ tight end. And he shoots better than Bond.
Well, pretty close anyway.
But this superhero’s special power is an unusual one — an extraordinary maturity. The 24-year old Barratt is married and is playing for his third college in four years.
“I’m the old man, the grandpa of the team,” Barratt confided. “Every once in a while I might have something wise to say.”
Barratt began his basketball days ages ago as a sophomore in high school, where he was an instant success.
“I grew six inches over one summer and I figured I better look into playing basketball,” Barratt laughed.
He started at center as a junior and led his team to the state championship. He was then recruited by the University of Utah, his hometown team.
“It was a dream come true to play for Utah,” Barratt acknowledged, adding, “I went to the Final Four as a freshman but didn’t get to play a lot, so I looked to transfer. I wanted to go to a place where I could get a good education.”
Luckily, Cornell called his name. After a year of junior college ball (during which he lifted his team to fourth in the nation) had helped sharpen his skills, Barratt was ready for the stingiest conference in the nation — the Ivy League.
Barratt’s first season in carnelian and white proved to be a difficult one as the Red finished 3–11 in the conference.
“That season was tough. We lost more games last year than I lost in my whole career,” he reflected. “It was hard because I’ve never really been on the losing end. I didn’t really know how to handle it — it was hard.”
But the season did not go without its pluses.
“We weren’t as bad as our record showed. We learned a lot about teamwork, working together, having a strong work ethic, sacrifice, and especially time management,” he explained.
As tri-captain, Barratt’s role will only increase this season, as the younger players will look up to him for guidance.
“I don’t feel like I need to lead the team in scoring or anything, but I just want to have fun this year. It’s my last year and I just want to go out on a good note,” he said. “Consistency, rebounding, scoring — whatever that may be, I think if I can lead by example, that will give our team some momentum. Maybe the younger players can build on top of that.
“I think the best part of it has been the guys I’ve played with. By far the best part of any sport is the guys you play with — the camaraderie you develop with them are great.”
But has his married life affected his basketball?
“I think I’ve got it pretty good. It hasn’t affected my camaraderie. [The team] hangs out a lot, and they all like Shelley. She comes to all the games. She’s pretty loud up there,” he laughed.
Like all superheroes, Barratt doesn’t shy away from adversity.
“In this league, you’ve got all these very intelligent, very smart, hard-working athletes that don’t make mistakes. They are at the right spots every time, and every time you get the ball in the paint, you’ve got four guys around you,” he remarked. “The Ivy League is more compact, structured, and not wide-open enough. We can’t really do a lot of one-on-one stuff.
But I love playing in the Ivy League.”
Well Superman, the Ivy League loves you too.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin