Gaither Basketball Player’s Commitment Sets Up Future

Kaia Bonilla

When walking through the halls of Gaither High School, it’s inevitable to run into the six foot five inch giant, Jack Hardin. It is extreme focus and passion that has created the glamorous life of this Gaither basketball player. 

It all began at age 5, when a little Hardin picked up a big ball.

Like most boys do, Hardin looks up to his father. As a kid, Hardin wanted nothing more than to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play college basketball. Hardin’s father attended Barry University in Miami on an athletic scholarship. This admiration for his father makes it no surprise that Hardin has been sporting his father’s jersey number, 30, throughout his high school career.

Hardin is quite literally the poster child for the saying “ball is life.”

Whenever he isn’t in class, he is on the court. This dedication is the secret behind his many accomplishments. He is determined to keep his career revolved around the “ball.”

Hardin tried out for Gaither’s basketball team fresh out of Walker Middle School and made the varsity team. In his freshman season, Hardin scored a whopping 28 points in one game, the most he has ever scored in a game. During the summer before his sophomore year, this skyscraper of a boy learned that he could dunk.

Hardin is now a senior and for him, pregame jitters are obsolete.

“I never get nervous. I’m confident I’m the best player on the court every time I step out for a game,” Hardin said. 

Despite his confidence, he still feels that there’s room for improvement. Hardin is putting in the extra work this season to better what he feels is his weakest skill, ball handling. 

When Hardin finally gets the pleasure of graduating high school, with a 3.4 GPA, he’s set on attending the University of Tampa. Hardin was recently scouted by the university’s basketball program. He plans on majoring in sports medicine.

Good advice is something that sticks with athletes for the rest of their lives. Hardin lives by a mantra that says, “just work hard and trust the results will come. Never doubt the process.”

Being as big of a player as Hardin is, younger athletes look up to him, literally and figuratively.

Hardin’s advice to these aspiring athletes is to, “get the skills down first. Master them, then work on your athleticism and getting stronger.” 

Hardin is forever grateful for the sacrifices his parents went through to get him where he is now – doing what he absolutely loves.