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A Bronx tale: Fermin following his dream to California

June 04, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

When it comes to basketball, the only place Amaurys Fermin can't travel is on the court.

That's against the rules. When it comes to looking for the best opportunity to play and learn, constant movement has been both taxing and beneficial.

Fermin has his bags packed again for the biggest move of his college career. The Hagerstown Community College point guard is headed across the country after signing a letter-of-intent to play for Cal Poly. It is a chance for Fermin to get everything he wants and something he hasn't had.

"To be honest, I'm kind of surprised," said Fermin. "I'm excited about the situation. I talked to the coach and I fell in love. He talked to me about more than just basketball. He talked to me about my future. He's a new coach there, but I was looking for some stability."

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The Bronx, N.Y., native spent his 2007-08 season with Missouri State-White Plains before transfering to HCC. It was a move that helped the 6-foot-3, 215-pound guard punch his ticket to California.

Fermin will play for Joe Callero, who was hired on April 3 to make the Mustangs an NCAA Tournament contender after spending eight years at Seattle University.

Fermin came to HCC to play for Earl Redden, another new coach trying to get his team off the ground. In his first -- and only -- season as HCC's coach, Redden directed the Hawks to a 21-9 record and had three players -- including Fermin -- earn All-Maryland JuCo first-team honors.

Fermin was a key piece of the puzzle because of his ability to handle the ball, run HCC's motion offense and score. Fermin averaged 17.5 points and his eight-assists-per-game average was tops in Maryland and among the best for junior college guards in the country.

"Coach Redden showed me that I could come in here and show my talents," Fermin said. "Coming here gave me the chance to recover from the situations that I had been put in. I was able to learn to be myself and I've grown up.

"I've had a lot of friends who I played for and against and they all told me to make the decision that is best for me ... to be able to play, get my degree and help get me to where I want to be."

Fermin's abilities caused a recruiting rush HCC hadn't seen since the days of Dexter Boney. Schools like Memphis, DePaul, Marshall and Kent State expressed interest in Fermin.

Fermin was referred to Cal Poly by the coaches at Kent State, who wanted him but didn't have a spot. Fermin's game tape made an impression on Callero.

"They compared me to Jason Kidd," Fermin said. "They liked my attitude and my game. They told me that they wanted to put the ball in my hands to help make everyone on the team better."

The payoff for Fermin would be enough success at Cal Poly to help him fulfill his hopes of playing pro basketball overseas, much like his brother, who plays in Spain. A lot of that will depend upon the success of the Mustangs. It's all part of his growth process.

"Sometimes you aren't happy becuase you don't feel like you scored enough," Fermin said. "That's all part of growing up. But at the end of the day, all that matters is that I like to win."

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