The Rock’s Jamari Wheeler winding down stellar career
By Jack DaSilva
Sitting at a 30-2 record, The Rock’s basketball team has had a sensational season and are gearing up for postseason play. Coach Justin Hardin has done a great job bringing his team together over the course of the season.
The team’s chemistry is fluid and a big reason for the team’s success can be credited to senior point guard Jamari Wheeler. The 19 year-old Duquesne commit is one of the best players in the area.
Growing up in Live Oak, Wheeler began playing basketball in the fourth grade. Wheeler’s father was the coach for the travel team he played on and helped develop him into the player he’s become. He also credits his mother who played basketball ball in high school and had offers to play college basketball as a major influence in his life and basketball career.
Wheeler has called The Rock home for the last two years but before coming to The Rock Wheeler played two seasons at Suwannee where he formed a special relationship with current UF basketball player Kevarrius Hayes.
“I wanted to transfer my 9th grade year but I wanted to play two years with Kevarrius Hayes. When he left I transferred to The Rock because I want that national schedule. I wanted to play the top teams to get better and prepare me for college,” he explained.
Hayes moved to Suwannee his eighth grade year and picked up basketball and played under Wheeler’s dad. Jamari stays in touch with Hayes and considers him a great friend.
“We have a good relationship. I love playing with him”, said Wheeler.
This year was the first time Jamari Wheeler has played a 50-game schedule. The Rock is not affiliated with the FHSAA and therefore plays a longer schedule that consists of out-of-state tournaments across the country.
“Last year my goals were to be ranked as a team, play a national schedule, and get invited to some big tournaments which we have,” said Wheeler, referring to The Rock being invited to take part in the Grind Sessions tournaments that take place in New York and Kentucky among other states.
Wheeler believes The Rock’s men’s basketball team has gotten close with each other over the course of the season. Wheeler continued by sharing some of his favorite moments from this season which included playing with his teammates.
“I love those guys,” he said.
Wheeler will continue his basketball career at Duquesne University where he’s currently committed. While he had several offers on the table, the deciding factor in choosing Duquesne was the coaching.
“[It was] the coaching style. The coaches have been to a lot of games and we have a really good relationship,” explained Wheeler.
As for what’s Jamari is looking forward to the most about playing at Duquesne, “Just getting in there and playing in the Atlantic 10 [conference].”