Finding your passion can be difficult while growing up, and it sometimes takes trial and error of many different sports to find what really intrigues you. This is Joel Pettiford’s story, who grew up playing soccer, golf, football, and even swimming; until he finally found his passion on the court with the game of basketball.

Joel credits his continued passion for the game to his father, who has kept pushing him in the right direction both on and off the court. The 6’5 senior small forward out of Southwest Guilford High School in North Carolina has dealt with people doubting him, and although this is a big challenge, he is overcoming it. Not only has it made him a better person on and off of the court, but has made him work harder than he ever has in hopes to prove everyone wrong.

Hard working is the quality that describes Joel the best, and basketball has helped increase this dedication to the game. When asked what the game means to him, Joel replied, “It means a lot. I take basketball a little personal sometimes my dad has to tell me to calm down … but it’s just the passion I bring to it.” This passion helps give Joel an edge on the court over his competitors.

Playing at the three position, it is important for Joel to have many different aspects to his game, and is exactly what he is doing. He continues to call himself “versatile”, meaning he can play not only down low in the post, but also dribble up the court and on the perimeter, while also having the speed to penetrate down low and into the lane. This shows Joel’s versatility of being able to be put anywhere on the court, but also the athleticism he brings in being able to do all of these things.

Heading into his senior season, Joel is still perfecting his craft on the court. Although the game has taught him so much already, he knows that his passion will continue to grow and the hard work will only get harder, but that he is ready to take on the challenge. He hopes to receive a scholarship offer this season and play at the next level to continue improving his game. Not only is Joel dedicated to his game on the court, but hopes to study sports medicine while he is not perfecting his game.

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