A Sports Love Story: Helms Makes NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame
For Valentine's Day, it is fitting to share a love story between a man, a sport and his city.
There are few things in life that are certain - but this statement is definitely true: Dennis Helms loves basketball.
"I got hooked in the second grade, and it's been a life-long thing," he said. "There is no doubt about it: I gotta have this coaching. And, I love these kids."
Helms is most famous for is what he loves to do best: develop up-and-coming athletes into great players and even better men.
"Here's the thing: when a kid can learn something, okay? And you can see the satisfaction he gets out of getting better," he said. "You show somebody something, you hope he has the effort to do it, and the result is you see them getting better and you see the team getting better."
Now his sport is giving some love back to him. Helms is one of only three coaches to be inducted into the NJCAA basketball hall of fame this year.
"I mean, it's something special," he shared. "I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't something special. I have a lot of coaches around the country that I admire that have sent me text messages and stuff so it's nice. I've never gotten excited over awards as much as I get excited over doing things."
Helms spent 32 years coaching JuCo hoops. But he found that his relationship with the game of basketball wasn't over.
"I gotta thank the people at Sherwood for giving me the chance to get back in the water, as you would say," he said. "And then, Latter Rain with Coach Johnson. He's helping me with my faith in God, and I'm helping him with basketball. I found there was a gap in my life when I wasn't helping kids. I need it."
Now, Helms is using love to help him find his way.
"You know, I was real mixed up last summer as to where I needed to go. All I can say is, I'll never leave here…Odessa."
Helsm will have his Hall of Fame presentation in March at the NJCAA division I national basketball championship.