By David Valderas
Semar Farris is getting another shot at his dreams.
After his record-breaking MVP season with the Harvesters in 2006-07, Farris left the team following a series of family tragedies. Now, five years later, he is back and looking to return to his old form.
“It feels like I got a second chance,” Farris said. “Not too many people get second chances.”
Basketball and school took a backseat for Farris in 2007 when his cousin died abruptly from an aneurism. His focus slipped, not only on the court, but in the classroom as well. Eventually, he decided to quit basketball.
“He had to grow a little and find his way,” Eastfield coach Anthony Fletcher said.
Losing a player who was all-conference, all-region and led the team in points and steals is never easy. Fletcher said the team experienced an offensive drop-off the season after Farris left. His defensive skills were also missed.
“He’s a tough little guy,” Fletcher said. “Most people look at him and think he can’t play, but you get him out on the court, he’ll change your mind.”
During his only season with the Harvesters, Farris set a school record for career steals with 123. The record stood for four years, and the player who broke it played two seasons and only gained 23 more steals.
Farris still holds the school record for steals per game at 4.3.
Fletcher is hoping Farris’ return will provide a spark for this year’s team, which will hold its first scrimmage on Oct. 5.
“I’ve had a lot of professional guys come through here,” Fletcher said. “He is probably the best defender out of all those guys.”
After being away from college basketball for five years, Farris wasn’t in prime physical condition when he returned to campus in April. He quickly changed that by running three miles a day during the summer.
He has also been playing in recreation leagues to keep in basketball shape. Though it doesn’t compare to a college game, he said the competition helps him keep a mental edge.
Farris has no illusions about where his skills are now. He said he’s not as good as he was during the 2006-07 season, but mentally he is a much better player.
As the season progresses he is sure skills will return.
His motivation, as always, is his family.
“My momma can be proud of me again,” Farris said. “That’s definitely a good feeling.”
Farris said his mother only wants the best for him, so returning to college makes her very proud.
“I want to be able to take care of my family and do some good,” he said.
Farris’ teammates are also happy to have him back because of his competitiveness.
“I feel like he’s helped me step my game up a lot, because his defense is crazy,” team captain Brock Hunter said.
“Feisty” and “warrior” are just two of the words Fletcher used to describe Farris from a competitive standpoint. But is that enough to win the position battle at point guard, where two other Harvesters own state championship rings?
Farris is optimistic about his chances. “I’ve got heart,” he said. “You know I’m a fighter.”
That’s something his teammates have already learned.
“He shows that basketball dreams never die, that he can come back, and you never know,” Hunter said.