boy basketball player

JJ Ferrin Builds Character on the Court

Skutt Catholic High School senior JJ Ferrin has had a ball in his hand ever since he could walk. Even his first word was “ball.” He’s been playing basketball on an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) select team since third grade (playing in a fourth-grade league). “Summer, winter, and spring was always basketball,” he said. “Our family vacations in the summer were always for basketball tournaments with my select teams. I’ve been on travel and select teams all my life. I have had some of my best life experiences because of basketball.”

boy basketball player
JJ Ferrin 2 Christopher Tierney

A few of Ferrin’s favorite memories include playing on the Omaha Sports Academy (OSA) Platinum National team during third through fifth grade. “We played some of the best teams across the country and even played a game against Lebron James’ son, Bronny. We are all the same age. We also took home trophies for All-State in Nebraska and the NY2LA tournament. In fifth grade, our team placed fourth in an AAU Nationals tournament of about 85 teams.”

Although he’s had a successful basketball career, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. “I didn’t make the top team going into middle school. It was a major disappointment to me then, but it also opened up the opportunity to play for a different AAU team, and there I met some of my best friends that I still have today. I feel like it was a ‘blessing in disguise’ now that I look back at those days, from where I am today. The coaching and leadership lessons I have learned have already made me into a better ball player and a better person. My parents always tell me that adversity builds character, and I see what they mean. I honestly don’t know where I would be today, if those obstacles didn’t lead me down a different path.”

Ferrin said winning the state championship in his senior year with his Skutt team was an unforgettable experience, “Especially after ending last year as state runner-up, which was such a disappointing end to my junior season. Using last year’s loss as a motivator really helped us to focus on what we wanted to accomplish this year. We met our goal, and the championship win this year made it all worth it. I’m just glad we could end my high school career with the state trophy. I’m so proud of that.”

Skutt boys basketball Head Coach Kyle Jurgens said, “JJ is one of the hardest working athletes I’ve ever coached. When it comes to working on their game, very few players in the history of our program have ever put in the number of hours that JJ has. He loves his teammates and is always willing to sacrifice for the group.”

Ferrin will play basketball for Wayne State College on a full-ride scholarship this fall. “I love their high intensity, fast paced offense style of play,” he said. “They have a great coach, and I’m really looking forward to being a valuable asset to this team. I’m going into college with an open mind. I want to focus on things coming up and trust in God to lead me down the right path. I’m excited for what my future will hold. I know I’m going to love it.”

He will undoubtedly miss being around his family when he leaves for college, including his younger brother Cale, who has a disability. “I am proud to say that I have worked really hard to set a good example for him,” Ferrin said. “He has been through so much, both medically and emotionally, and I admire his strength. He has endured over twenty-seven surgeries and has three life-threatening diagnoses. I feel that I was meant to be born first so I can be a good role model for him and guide him to always know that he is so loved and appreciated. I have helped him learn to walk, dress, feed and even shoot a basketball.”

Ferrin continued, “I feel that having him as my brother has really helped me learn what true character means. My brother has taught me more about what is important in life than anything else I have experienced. I believe that has made me be more patient and kind, and to share these attributes with others around me. Both of my siblings mean the world to me. My little sister Anna loves playing basketball because she wants to be like me. We love to play basketball outside on the hoop in our driveway. It’s going to be hard to leave them when I move away to college. I know they look up to me, and I will always try to show them how much they mean to me.” 

More stories like this one can be found at our Varsity Corner.

Leave a Reply