Jarrett Culver’s story sounds a bit like a Hollywood movie and his parents, Hiawatha and Regina, have been there to witness it from the start. Jarrett grew up in Lubbock, Texas where Texas Tech is located. The hometown kid just helped lead the Red Raiders to their first Final Four appearance in school history.
“It’s just all love in Lubbock,” Jarrett noted to USA Today. “… It’s a great opportunity, just coming out of Lubbock and claiming Lubbock. It’s just a blessing. All the support I have, it’s just great.”
Jarrett may be the face of the program, but to his family, he is still the same person.
“To us, he’s just Jarrett,” Regina told USA Today. “To Jarrett, he’s just Jarrett. To everyone else, it’s, ‘Can I have your autograph or a picture?’”
Learn more about Jarrett’s mom and dad.
1. Jarrett’s Dad, Hiawatha, Is a Pastor & the Texas Tech Team Chaplain
Jarrett’s dad, Hiawatha, is the pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church and the chaplain of the Texas Tech basketball team. Hiawatha often speaks to the team before the game, but the pastor noted he discusses things away from basketball.
“Anything to encourage them about life,” Hiawatha told Everything Lubbock.
Hiawatha believes that supporting his son in the stands can play an important role during games.
“It’s very important because it helps to see a familiar face. It gives you that edge, that extra energy, that boost that I can do this,” Hiawatha noted to Everything Lubbock. “I’m doing this for my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, my aunt, somebody.”
2. Jarrett’s Mom, Regina, Told Him to Embrace the Role of the Underdog
Prior to Texas Tech’s Elite Eight matchup with Gonzaga, Jarrett’s mom reminded her son that few people expected the Red Raiders to make it this far. Sports Illustrated detailed Regina’s thought process as she witnessed her son be part of a historic Texas Tech team.
She had sent her son a text message the night before the game, told him to do whatever he had to do, reminded him of how far both he and Texas Tech had come. She still remembers that first phone call, from coach Chris Beard, when the university hired him in 2016. Never mind that Texas Tech was a football school with little basketball tradition. Beard had a vision.
Regina is hoping people keep picking against Texas Tech as it has worked out for the Red Raiders so far. Jarrett’s mother does not feel like the underdog role fits, but she is willing to embrace it if it keeps working.
“I don’t know who is calling us the underdog,” Regina told Everything Lubbock. “Keep on not picking us. We will just keep going and going and I love it.”
3. Jarrett’s Brother, Trey, Was on the Texas Tech Track Team & Brother, J.J., Plays College Basketball at Wayland Baptist
Jarrett comes from a family of athletes. Jarrett’s brother, Trey, was part of the track team at Texas Tech. According to the Star-Telegram, Trey is now jumping professionally in Europe. Jarrett has another brother, J.J., who is leading the Wayland Baptist basketball team. The Star-Telegram noted that the two brothers have had similar seasons on the court.
* Led their respective teams to conference titles.
* Each was named the Player of the Year in the respective leagues, the Big 12 and the Sooner Athletic Conference.
* Both led their teams to their respective postseason tournaments, the NCAA and the NAIA (Wayland Baptist lost in the NAIA Tourney on Wednesday night).
* Both led their respective team in points per game, assists per game, and rebounds per game. J.J., a junior, averages 17.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Jarrett, a sophomore, averages 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
4. Jarrett Grew Up in Lubbock Where Texas Tech Is Located
Texas Tech may have been the hometown university, but it did not necessarily give the Red Raiders an edge in landing Jarrett. When Tubby Smith was the head coach, Jarrett did not receive an offer, but that all changed when Chris Beard took over the program.
The new head coach told Jarrett that he would be pursuing him “no matter whether I was in Lubbock or New York or where I was,” per USA Today. Now, Jarrett is the hometown player leading Texas Tech to its first Final Four.
“I guess being a local kid helps,” Hiawatha noted to USA Today. “There’s a certain sense of pride you have: ‘This is our boy, it’s Jarrett.’ The community really embraces him.”
5. The Culver Family Had a Family Tradition of Going to Church Every Sunday Then Sharing a Meal
When your dad is a pastor, it is hard to miss the Sunday service. Growing up, one of the family traditions was to listen to their father’s sermon and share a meal after it was over.
“Every Sunday after listening to our dad at church, we all come together to have a big meal, talk about the week, and discuss what is coming,” Jarrett explained to TexasTech.com.
Now, the three brothers are proud of each other’s accomplishments.
“Honestly, I’m just so proud of him,” J.J. noted to Star-Telegram. “We talk all the time. We text all the time, or Facetime. It was competitive between the two of us all the time. We loved to compete against each other, and we always had a good connection.”