BY Dexter McCree, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Big things often come in small packages. Such is the case with Haron Sherrod III, a junior guard for Northeast High School varsity basketball team. Standing a mere 5’ 8” and weighing in at 145 pounds, his stature is non-threating to the monstrous opponents he faces.
However, the explosion that comes from Haron on the court leaves opponents baffled and coaches searching for ways to capture the little pest. He averages 14.7 points/game, 4.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. He never goes unnoticed.
“I hear the talk about how small I am and how I’m not going to be effective,” said Haron. “The truth is that this kind of talk motivates me even more. I have great teammates and they do look for my leadership. But we are not a one-man team. My dad always tells me that ‘there is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”
Haron said a good relationship with his father along with his presence at his games help him both on and off the basketball court. The caring that he receives from his father makes it easy to respond on the court.
His dad, Haron Sherrod, Jr., was a standout basketball player for the Boca Ciega Pirates in the mid to late 90s. Playing with the likes of Jimmy Baxter (professional playing overseas), Nathan Stenfors and Sharrod McCree (Eckerd College standout), the team ranked in the top five in the Florida High School Athletic Associate poll. His dad was the senior leader.
Family support is important to the small dynamo who embraces hard work and clear goals as keys to being successful. His mother, Anitera Kelley, is the supportive guide to ensure that the grades are intact and that he stays grounded.
“Haron is an amazing child,” said Kelley. “He is very driven and determined. He’s also very thoughtful and caring. Sometimes he cares a little too much, often putting others before himself. It’s our responsibility to help him figure things out. He has such a humble spirit. I just love him and what he stands for.”
His love for the game of basketball began as a six year old playing at Wildwood Recreation Center, now known as the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center. He went on to play AAU basketball as he got older.
Haron said he learned the game backwards. Because of his tiny frame, he learned to shoot first and then dribble, something that baffles his opponents.
“Duke (Haron) is a tremendous asset to this program,” said Paul Wholey, first year Head Boys Basketball Coach at Northeast.
Wholey said Haron works extremely hard and is a student of the game. When the coach first came to Northeast, Haron was there by his side helping him to identify players.
“Duke is a special kid,” said Wholey.
Haron’s life’s purpose is to be successful, not matter what he’s doing. With his eyes set on playing professional basketball, his backup plan is to become a coach after getting his degree, of course.
“I don’t take the game for granted and neither do I take life for granted,” stated Haron. This is why I play every minute of every game like it’s my last one. I have a lot of people helping me along the way and I’m thankful for each of them. I put forth effort to let them know that I appreciate them being in my life and being my support.”