Video: Athlete focuses on academics after a life in collegiate sports


Justin Butts
Oxford Stories

Jerell Bernard, 22, a former Ole Miss basketball walk-on, decided that basketball is not for him after fracturing his foot multiple times at Northeast Mississippi Community College. Bernard started playing basketball his 11th grade year.

“I always liked to play basketball and pick up games,” he said. “I just never took it serious until I started to grow and realized that this might be the sport for me.”

Bernard was originally a football player, but during his senior in high school at Horn Lake High School, he had to decide whether he would play football or basketball at the college level. He decided to continue his basketball a career in college.

Before¬†Bernard’s injuries at Northeast, he was ranked 46th in the nation as one of the Top 100 community college basketball players. At Northeast, he strained his hip muscle, which resulted in him quitting the basketball team. He lost interest after his injury.

When he arrived at Ole Miss, he continued to play basketball at the Turner Center for fun. Little did he know that playing there gave him a shot to play for the Ole Miss Basketball Team last year. During the off season, he and the coach had many disagreements, which lead to him quitting to the team and focusing more on academics.

“I don’t really look at not playing basketball this year as a bad thing because I originally came here to focus on my academics as an IMC major,” he said.

He plans to expand his social media marketing and graphic design business.

“Somehow, I just always end up playing basketball,” he said, “but this year, I’m just focused on doing my own thing. When I finish my major, I will be more inclined to get more business with my degree behind me. My plan is to get Google Ad certified and Facebook Ad certified as well.”

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