Feb. 4, 2007
By Emily G. Pambianchi
Junior Rob Ferguson has emerged as a leader on the basketball court this season. He began his career at Saint Joseph's during the undefeated season, 2003-04 under the guidance of Hawk legends Jameer Nelson and Delonte West.
"I learned a lot about the game by just being in the atmosphere that year," he says. Ferguson has grown as a player and began this season as the team's leading returning scorer, with knowledge of the game and years of experience behind him.
When talking about his basketball roots, Ferguson acknowledges the game's history in his family.
"My mom played just about every kind of sport in high school and my dad played football. I began to play basketball over the summer before 6th grade, after watching my brother play for the local A.A.U. team. He and my mom were my inspiration to play basketball," he explains.
Hailing from Fort Myers, FL, he continued to pursue basketball, even after he failed to make the 6th grade basketball team, and eventually decided to focus on the game in high school. Despite his successes in high school as Florida's Class 5A Player of the year in 2003, an All-State First Team selection, and a Three-time All-Conference selection, to name a few, he's modest in saying, "my high school basketball experience wasn't any different than any other basketball player."
Ferguson chose to move north for his college years, coming to Philadelphia in 2003, ready to play basketball for Phil Martelli and his staff.
"I chose SJU because I liked the atmosphere and the coaching staff," he says. "My family and I decided it would be a better fit for me than any of the other schools. I like how Saint Joseph's is not the biggest university in the world, but it has a lot of character. All of the people who are here want to be here, the students and the fans really welcome you to the university," he stated.
He was lucky to be introduced to the school with a phenomenal season, despite being red-shirted for the year. He became comfortable with his teammates and they taught him a lot about belonging to a team.
"They always told me, `this is your team in the future," he quotes. "Jameer, Delonte, John Bryant, Chet...they all helped me freshman year." Now, as a junior, his role and responsibilities have changed and he has become a stronger presence on the court.
Coach Phil Martelli acknowledges his skill, "I've always felt that Rob has All-League talent. He is going to be a guy that we should be able to identify as one of the best players in this league. I think the way he carries himself is different and that his self-confidence has really been boosted. All eyes are on him now."
It is evident that Ferguson has evolved from the new freshman on the team to an experienced upperclassman waiting to help his team in any way possible, whether it be talking to the team or leading them on the court.
"If you ask anyone, they'll tell you I was always a laid back, soft-spoken guy. That has changed a lot in the past few years as my role with the team has changed. I am more vocal, more confident, and willing and able to put in the work."