There are certain events in life that an athlete never forgets. I'll never forget putting on a jersey for the first time. That reversible red, white, and black #20 St.Clare uniform in 3rd grade, I'll never forget scoring my first basket at St.Thecla middle school and proceeding to celebrate while running back on defense, I'll never forget playing a grade level higher almost every year of middle school, I'll never forget the admissions counselor from Warren De La Salle high school coming to sit with my father during one of my 8th grade basketball games, trying to convince him to send me there for high school, I'll never forget my freshmen basketball team going 18-2 at De La Salle and winning the championship, I'll never forget my JV coach having enough faith and trust in me to name me one of the captains of the team my sophomore season.
However, my list of things that I will never forget when it comes to basketball does not include all happy memories. Going into my junior year of high school, the one that they all say is your most important, I thought I had it all made. I was going to be a part of one of the top ranked varsity basketball teams in Michigan entering the 2008-2009 season so I thought. I will never forget the last day of tryouts, I will never forget being called into the office, the last player at the tryout that was called into the office, I will also never forget the words that was said to me after I sat down "J'Ron, you're one hell of a player and one of my favorite people to be around but unfortunately, at this time, you are not good enough to have a spot on this year’s varsity team" but if you still would like to be a part of this team we have a team manager position available, that was a blow that still rings in my mind today considering that I felt I was good enough to make that team!
With this being my first time in 8 years not being on somebody's basketball team during basketball season, it was by far the hardest year of my life. But instead of hanging it up and calling it quits, I worked harder that year than I ever had before. For the first time in my life, I had something to prove, and I had somebody to prove wrong while doing it.
After transferring schools and sitting out the first half of my senior season at Detroit Consortium, I was still able to attract some attention and earn a college scholarship to play basketball late in my senior year. Funny how fate would have it, I was the ONLY basketball player from the graduating class of 2010 at De La Salle to receive a basketball scholarship that year. After transferring colleges a couple times, I finally found a home at Ohio University Chillicothe. Like most basketball players, you have dreams of playing in the pros someday well that opportunity came, after having a tremendously successful junior season I received an opportunity to play basketball on a professional level in Australia. After exploring the opportunity to play overseas, it just did not compete with the idea of finishing up my degree at Ohio University so I came back and finished my last year and although the season didn’t end like I had wanted it to I was still able to hold my head up high and close that chapter of my career on my terms.
While I will never forget the day in my junior year that I was told that I was not good enough to be a part of the varsity team, I cannot be more thankful that I went through it as it instilled in me passion, the desire and will power like never before to prove all doubters wrong and do exactly what they thought I would never be good enough to do.
What a humbling experience to be a part of. Enclosing as I write my last few words in this paragraph I am happy to announce that I signed my first pro contract with the West Michigan Lake Hawks of the ABA. We are currently ranked in the top 25 out of 120+ ABA teams this upcoming season, and I'm sure those teams ahead of us do not think we are "good enough" to compete for a national title, however, I'm pretty confident in my ability to take what I learned and do what I was built to do PROVE THEM WRONG! So to De La Salle I say, thank you and to my new fans over in Lake Hawk Nation, time to EAT!