The last time Gerard Mungo was so prominently in the public eye, he was a 7-year-old being arrested and handcuffed by Baltimore Police for sitting on a dirt bike. Today, the Patterson basketball star is gaining attention as he makes his commitment to play at Millersville (Pa.) University.
When the Patterson basketball team tweeted the announcement that the three-year starter made his basketball commitment Tuesday morning, some area media outlets made the connection that he was the kid arrested and handcuffed by Baltimore Police, which drew plenty of buzz when it happened in 2007 and once again now on Twitter.
The incident left Mungo sad and scared, drew a rebuke to the police from then-Mayor Sheila Dixon and resulted in the family filing an unsuccessful lawsuit against the police officers involved.
“It changed my mindset a lot and made me strive for better things,” Mungo said on Tuesday. “It still bothers me a lot because it brings back bad memories.”
Mungo, who is proud to be the first in his family set to go to college, would rather focus on his upcoming senior season and the Clippers’ chances of bringing home another state title.
“I want to read about all the accomplishments I’ve had instead of the stuff that happened when I was 7 years old,” he said.
Mungo has made plenty, mostly thanks to his decision to continue playing basketball and working hard in the classroom.
He comes into this season regarded as one of the area’s finest guards and team leaders.
As a sophomore, he played a big role in helping the Clippers win the program’s second state title and earned All-Metro second-team honors.
Last season, he averaged 16 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
He maintains a 3.0 grade point average and is a mentor to elementary school students.
“As a program, we are extremely proud of what Gerard has become on and off the court,” Patterson coach Harry Martin said. “This puts him one step closer to living out his dream of playing college basketball and earning a degree. He has overcome a lot of obstacles and temptations that have conquered a lot of young black males in Baltimore City. He is a role model for many youth in the city.”
The first day of practice at Patterson is Nov. 15. Mungo can’t wait.
”We’re looking forward to having a good season, try to win a state championship, maybe a city championship,” he said.