Junior JJ Mears hustles to get the ball back to HRV. The crowd cheers after he knocks down another three pointer. The announcer blasts his name over and over again. You don’t think much about it as he quietly takes over the game. After the game you go home and think about the fact that the Eagles have won and played a great game. You completely overlooked the fact that JJ Mears has dropped 20+ points and seemed to never miss, but I’ll let you off the hook this time.
JJ is a junior at HRVHS that is quietly becoming one of the school’s strongest athletes. JJ is on the school’s water polo, basketball, and baseball team. JJ is on varsity for all three sports. When asked about why he fills his time up with three sports he told me, “I’ve just always played sports. They’ve always been a part of my life and I’ve grown up playing more than three sports.”
Out of the three sports JJ plays, he explained which one is his favorite and why. “Probably Basketball because I like to make it splash.” When interviewing coach Chris Dirks of the HRVHS Basketball team he mentioned shooting along with many other things. “JJ is very dedicated, his shooting had been great this year, especially recently. He really gets in the gym and puts up a lot of extra shots so it’s not surprising, he’s just got really great work ethic.”
JJ has a lot of motivation and it all relates to his mindset growing up. “I’ve always been competitive with everything in my life, whether it’s video games or just sports or school.”
Dirks notices, even with all the things that stand out, some things still surprise him. “His first step. If he’s got space or if he sees an advantage he’s really good at taking that all the way to the rim. He’s a lot quicker than I expect at times.”
JJ also gave some great insight on what he does to prepare and perform at a high level. “Just repetition. I put a lot of work into these sports, as I said it has been my life pretty much.” That being said, JJ believes in the work put in rather than raw talent. “For me it’s been a lot more hard work because I’ve been short and chubby back in the day, so it’s just been working hard.”
Dirks also praised JJ’s personality off the court. “He’s a great kid, everybody gets along with him and he’s a great leader.” Dirks then discussed how JJ along with the team has had to deal with adversity when things get tough. “That’s something that we’re all working on, these kids haven’t played in a lot of close games and so we’re starting to get there. It’s been interesting to see, but they’ve all been for the most part handling themselves well.”
JJ also discussed his goals for his sports career. “It’d be nice to win a state championship in any of my sports. That’s probably the main goal along with competing at the best of my ability.”
The relentless mentality is what keeps JJ performing at a high level. Even though nobody notices the morning shoot arounds and weight training before practice, JJ makes sure people notice on the court. JJ’s love for sports has also made him one of the school’s most well rounded athletes, as he also dominates water polo and baseball. JJ represents Hood River Valley High School perfectly because of his determination and relentless drive to compete at the highest level.
By: Brycen Polzel, Talon Staff Reporter