Ex-NBA guard A.J. Guyton helps minority students

aj-guytonSuccessful athletes don’t always adjust well to life after their sports careers. However, a former Peoria hoop star is finding success in the academic world by helping minority students at Illinois Central College, CI NewsNow reported.

A.J. Guyton is used to being a big man on campus. The Peoria Central star was Bobby Knight’s biggest scorer at Indiana before a successful basketball career in the NBA and overseas, experience that comes in handy as ICC’s Retention Coordinator.

“I worked specifically with Hispanic students, Asian students and being a traveler, a world traveler, has enabled me to understand their situation. Not only just the broken English that some speak but understand their plights and where they came from,” Guyton said.

Guyton understands that the task to keep minority students in school, in good standing sometimes requires a combination of tough love and directing students to labs to help with specific classes.

“Labs that deal with Math, English, Writing. All these labs where you can track a student to see if they’re actually putting the effort into it. And then after we provide all the services that we can, that’s when they have to become accountable,” he said.

ICC officials say while their efforts target non-whites, it should be a cause of concern for everyone.

“Ultimately, it affects us all because it affects our workforce. It affects our education levels,” Dr. Rita Ali said. It affects our communities. It affects crime. It all ties together.”

With Guyton on the ICC Emerging Leaders team, there has been three percent increase in African American student course success from last year to this year. Fitting for a guy known as a three point specialist.

“Playing basketball doesn’t feel like work and this doesn’t feel like work, so that’s why I came back to Peoria to use my experience to motivate and help other students,” Guyton said.

And for this coach of the champion Bloomington Flex, that means everyone’s a winner.

Guyton played 3 seasons in the NBA, two for Chicago Bulls and one for Golden State Warriors. He appeared in total of 80 NBA games (14 started), averaging 5.5 ppg in 15.6 mpg.


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