VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WTKR)- C.J. McPherson used to suit up and take the football field. He transitioned to basketball to break out of his older brother's shadow.
"He played football," McPherson said of his brother. "He would be faster than me and all that other stuff, he was a ranked quarterback and all that and I want to try and find my own path. Once I broke out of the football shell, I decided the find the next best thing, which to me I thought was basketball."
McPherson's older brother, J.C., has since passed away, and the younger sibling keeps his memory in the front of his mind when he takes the court.
"If I'm not playing 100 percent, no one else might know it, but of course he'll know," the Norfolk Collegiate junior said. "He'll be seeing me and he'll know that I can do way better than what I'm giving out. Playing for him is definitely a big part of basketball."
The Mighty Oaks' guard is making a lot of people proud these days, both on and off the court. He put together a breakout junior season and is catching the eyes of college programs, pulling in his first scholarship offer last summer.
"I can call a college and say this kid will be in the gym at 5:00 AM," noted Zac Michalak of Team Loaded 757, C.J's AAU squad. "Show up and he'll be there. It happened last summer, it'll happen again this summer. Very rare you see a work ethic like C.J. McPherson and it's really starting to show up."
The junior gets it done on the court, but you'll also find him active away from basketball. He's involved with local food banks in hopes of staying in tune with what's going on in his community.
"I find it just makes somebody a wholesome person," he said. "You don't really want to be all into basketball all the time because if you're all into basketball you don't know what's going on in your community."
C.J. also excels in the classroom, boasting a 4.0 GPA. Later this month, he'll be inducted into the National Honor Society. He notes that his work ethic he's learned from basketball has helped in his studies as well.
"To stay on top of basketball I have to stay on top of my grades and vice versa," the junior guard pointed out. "I can't go in there without getting good grades so the work ethic I have for basketball is definitely the work ethic that I would have for school."
It's a well-rounded resume that will make him stand out among his peers. C.J. hopes it will all add up to a long basketball career.
"As of right now, I want to keep playing basketball as long as I can, whether that be college, professionally," he said.
"C.J. goes as far as C.J. wants to go," added Michalak. "He's going to play scholarship ball and then, lord willing, he'll play after that."
McPherson said that when his basketball days are behind him, he'd like to be involved in personal training or physical therapy.
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