Jarvis Gunter's Summer Vacation: Business, Basketball, and Bettering Himself

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remember that classic first-day-of-school assignment? The one where your teacher would ask what you did on your summer vacation?

Well, if NBA D-League players had that assignment, Jarvis Gunter would need a few extra sheets of looseleaf paper to pen his essay. However, since technology is all the rage these days, I'll relay his interesting tale via blog post instead.

Gunter, the BayHawks 6'10” forward, has been busy both on an off the court, making his presence felt back home in Mississippi, at minicamp with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and here in Erie (where summer ended long ago and snow fell for the first time just yesterday).

For starters, Gunter is currently taking advantage of an apprenticeship offered by the BayHawks that gives him an opportunity to see how the team operates on the business side. Gunter graduated from Arkansas Pine-Bluff in 2008 with a major in accounting and says he'd like to work for a team once his playing days are over. “Or own a team. That would really be my dream job,” Gunter said.

When Gunter heard about the internship last year from the D-League, he was excited about the opportunity. Working with the BayHawks staff has been an educational experience.. “From all the work that they do selling tickets to obtaining business partnerships and sponsorships and getting out in the community, I've learned a lot about what it takes to be a good businessman,” he said.

One of the major aspects of his work has been community outreach. Gunter's been making several public appearances, including a rally at the United Way. Most recently he was at Jefferson Elementary and Our Lady's Christian School yesterday and today on behalf of the Read to Achieve program, which stresses to children the importance of reading and the value of a good education in general.

While Gunter's been learning a lot about the business of basketball and making a difference locally in the community, he's also been improving his game on the court where he hopes to make a difference for the BayHawks this season.

Gunter spent much of the month of September taking part in scrimmages in Cleveland and the Cavaliers' minicamp. And yes, that included time on the court against the two biggest names in Cleveland―and two of the NBA's biggest stars―LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

The experience was a memorable one. “We beat LeBron's team once, but then he got in his teammates' faces and they never lost again,” he said. And as for Shaq? “It was awesome being on the court against one of the best ever, a guy I've watched on TV all these years growing up, but he makes me look like a little kid. He even makes Big Z [Zydrunas Ilgauskas] look small.”

But beyond the star power around him, the experience was extremely beneficial for Gunter. He said the coaches were impressed with his work ethic and effort on the floor and said that the time on the court with some of the game's elite did wonders for his confidence.

Gunter also offered some encouraging news to BayHawks fans by suggesting that a handful of players from last year's team are hoping to be back this year, including Jackie Manuel. Though it's not official yet and rosters won't be set for a few weeks, one would figure that bringing back as many pieces from a playoff team last year as possible would benefit the team from a continuity and learning standpoint.

As most players are this time of year, Gunter is chomping at the bit to get this season underway. And after spending much of the summer working out with his old high school coach in Columbus, Mississippi, and holding his own against Cavaliers players, his confidence in his playing ability is at an all-time high. “Last year was my first year playing professionally, and I've been learning a lot. I feel I have improved confidence and more patience on offense.”

An improved offensive game may earn him more minutes on the court his season, but Gunter's game is built on hustle and desire. “Rebounding, defense, all the little things the team needs. I'm just trying to get Erie a D-League championship by any means necessary.” Now that's a mantra that any coach or fan loves to hear. And if he can make it happen, it would certainly validate all that hard work he put in during his eventful “summer vacation.”


Anonymous said...
October 16, 2009 at 3:31 PM  

great post.

i know garry hill-thomas did something similar (intern) with the bighorns last year...

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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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