Working toward success is non-stop and a speed bump can, at almost anytime, derail the most deterministic of achievers. And so it was for the St. Joseph Green Knights this past Sunday, who fell for the first time this season. Don Bosco Prep (18-3, 13-1) defeated the Green Knights (22-1, 15-1) 48-42 in a rescheduled contest that put a damper on St. Joseph's recent run through the Bergen County Jamboree tournament.
Gerald Inman scored 18 points, taking his season total to 444 points on the season, but dropping his season average to 19.3 ppg to go along with 11 rebounds.
However, a speed bump is just that - with the right attitude and proper mindset it can prove helpful. St. Joseph must quickly forget about Don Bosco and turn their attention to the Bergen County Jamboree championship held this Thursday evening on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. For J.R. Inman, the future Scarlet Knight, rebounding from a disappointing ending shouldn't be too big a concern. All he has to do is look toward his father whose, at the time, athletic setbacks, were used as steppingstones for greater future success.
The Inmans are a family rooted in and around athletic achievement. Mr. Inman, J.R.'s father, was a professional football player for the 49ers. But Mr. Inman's story only ends there. It begins in high school, in New York, where the success of his football team was about as hard to find as a streaming pool of water in a broiling desert.
"I played high school football for a team that in three years won only two games," stated Mr. Inman. Despite the team's lack of on the field success, Mr. Inman's athletic ability, carrying a frame of 6'5" and 240-pounds, including an impressive 4.8-40 yard dash, was able to garner All-American recognition. Junior College in Kansas ensued, and after a successful career playing the defensive end position, including All-America recognition once more, Mr. Inman took his game closer to home by transferring to the University of Maryland. After three years at College Park, the NFL Draft and San Francisco's 49ers came calling. And it was here that the Inman household began to take shape.
"I had a career ending injury, I tore my rotator cuff and it ended my career."
After spending the majority of his life in the game, Mr. Inman realized his time had come. It was now time to put the cleats away, time to start preparing for the future, his future and that of his family. The very next year an opportunity at Meryll Lynch opened up and to this day, Mr. Inman remains there.
Success is not foreign to J.R. - and not because of his ability on the hardwood as much as his family's awareness of the duality that emanates from his athletic success. Many and sad are the stories of young phenoms pulled in the wrong direction - in all sports, and in fact, in all endeavors.
"When we were looking at schools for J.R. we looked at Coach Waters, like we looked at everyone else. What I was looking for was a good man, a man to instill good values, someone that would talk to him exactly the way I would talk to him."
"On every trip that he took, I asked J.R. to ask the coach five questions."
And indeed, how peculiar does it seem for the recruit to be interviewing the staff?
"The most important question was 'How many seniors have graduated since you have been here?'," stated Mr. Inman.
In other words, what is the success rate of your student athletes that don't move on to the professional ranks?
"The second most important question was 'What kind of a job do they have today?'"
The line of questioning left little wiggle room for those interviewed - questions had to be backed up by concrete evidence, by numbers. And concrete evidence, subsequently, led J.R. Inman to Coach Waters and Rutgers.
And so, with a focus on his future, using his personal experience as a virtual compass, Mr. Inman continues to guide his son, today and tomorrow.
For now, J.R. continues to work on his game, unfazed and with an eye on his future. He works out, stretching and toning, and continues to focus on the fundamentals of the game, those that helped get him to where he is today.
Having received another recent growth-spurt, J.R. has now blossomed to a full 6'9" and his workouts and conditioning have bulked him up to 215 pounds and added 3" to his vertical leap.
"There's going to be some good things Rutgers fans will be happy to see. If you look at J.R. now," stated Mr. Inman, "you'll see he's dunking over people, instead of just dunking, like he used to."
For Rutgers fans, the arrival of J.R. Inman, Jaron Griffin and Anthony Farmer, three of the most prized recruits Rutgers has ever landed from this basketball hotbed of a state, couldn't come soon enough.
Mike and the Big Dog LLC