Melanie Barker, former Sequatchie basketball player goes pro

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Melanie Barker who is playing professional basketball in Costa Rica was on hand to work the Youth Basketball Camp this year at the Rhea County Community Center.(Photo:GaryBolden/RheaReview)

Melanie Barker playing for Costa Rica women’s pro basketball team helps with Dayton Youth Christmas basketball camp

December 2017

Dayton, TN —  Melanie Barker who played high school basketball at Sequatchie County High School, played in Costa Rica for women’s professional basketball team in 2017 and has will be playing again in 2018.

After high school, where Melanie scored over 1000 career points, she played for Lee University for two years and then transferred to Tennessee Wesleyan for her final two years of college basketball.  While in college she played on 4 conference championship teams.  She was All Conference Freshman team selection at Lee University.  At Tennessee Wesleyan she was All-Conference and All-Defense both years.

In her senior year at Tennessee Wesleyan, she began to explore the options for playing professional basketball.

In her initial season for Goicoechea in Costa Rica playing for head coach Jessica Palavicini.  Goicoechea is the eighth canton in the province of San José in Costa Rica. she averaged 19.6 points per game as team won the conference title and she received an invitation to return for another year of basketball in 2018 with a pay raise. Goicechea played in the FECOBA league of FIBA.  She is one of two foreign basketball players on her team.  Each team is allowed to carry two foreign players on their roster.

I talked to Melanie at the annual Youth Christmas Basketball Camp that she works every year with Roy Pankey, who has trained Melanie since the 6th grade.

Melanie said, “We work with the kids at the camp and on Christmas Eve we take the toys and share with kids who might not get any on Christmas Eve.”

“I like working with young kids and I love the game.

Long time coach and mentor Roy Pankey said about Melanie, “She is without a doubt, the toughest competitor that I have ever coached.  I’ve coached and trained her since the 6th grade, and she has always had a huge work ethic to go along with that competitive fire. She is a classic gym rat that loves to train.”

“She is also very versatile because her skill set allows her to play almost any position on the court.  She can handle, shoot the three, and also post people up.  She is also a natural born leader and a coach on the floor.”

“There is not enough room in an article for me to talk about Mel.  I could write a book about her!  What I love most about her is that she loves to give back.  She always helps me with camps and clinics and she does such a great job.  I love that young lady like she is my daughter.”

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