BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Patterson High School’s Gerard Mungo is wrapping up a stellar senior year after winning a second state championship.
“Just happy to go out on a big win,” Mungo said. “With a bang.”
WJZ actually met Gerard before he was a basketball star under much different circumstances. Twelve years ago, we met him as a little boy in East Baltimore after he was arrested for sitting on a dirt bike.
“They locked me up on the bench,” Mungo said. “This hand on this side like this.”
That moment changed the course of his life.
Memories the now 19-year-old would rather forget.
“When I was seven, I was sitting on the sidewalk waiting for my dad to come. And I just got tackled on a dirt bike. I really don’t remember that much. I try to forget about it. Because it really like I was traumatized. I remember being handcuffed. I just be having flashbacks – me in the courtroom. Like I was really young,” Mungo said.
Linh Bui: It must have been really scary.
Gerard Mungo: Yeah it was pretty scary.
LB: And what happened after that?
GM: I started playing basketball. I got older and realized this is what I really want to do. Play basketball.
“It helped me focus on doing something better,” Mungo added.
He kept his eyes on the ball, dedicating all his time to the sport. That drive and ambition paid off — with a full scholarship to play basketball at Millersville University.
LB: How does it feel to be the first person in your family to go to college?”
GM: Aw man. That’s a feeling out of this world. I’m just happy to make my mom proud.
LB: What did she say to you when she found out?
GM: She couldn’t say much. She was just crying and hugging me tight. She was squeezing me so tight. It was just a lot of tears.
Patterson High Coach Darrick Oliver has known Gerard almost his entire life.
“It was a really great moment, just to see him signing to go to college was amazing, because all that he’s been through.,” Oliver said. “Growing up here is really really tough in the neighborhoods that he’s live in. It’s tough. So seeing him go to college is great.”
“You must be very proud,” Linh asked.
“Weah I’m very proud of him.” Oliver said.
Mungo’s plans off the court? A degree in business or engineering.
LB: What would you want to say to him before he heads off on this new chapter?
Darrick Oliver: To believe in hisself, and stay focused, get his books done first, and basketball second.
LB: Because you won’t be there anymore to stay on top of him every day!
DO: Yeah, I’ll still call him though.
Gerard’s summer will revolve around basketball — working out and staying in shape. That’s just his winning attitude.
LB: what would your message be to other young people in Baltimore?
Mungo: Be happy. Keep working. Stay out of trouble. Because Baltimore is a rough place to grow up. I know how it is. And I just want to see everybody happy.
LB: So you just want to help.
GM: Yeah, I just want to help.
Leaving Baltimore, playing at the next level, Gerard Mungo is ready to take his shot.