A boy who became the center of controversy when he was arrested as a 7-year-old is now a man headed to college and looking to put that part of his past behind him.
Gerard Mungo Jr. has accepted a full basketball scholarship to Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
“I’m just blessed. I’m happy, proud,” Mungo said.
The Patterson High School senior has been playing since he was 4.
“Basketball, I just like the game. It’s a stress reliever for me. It just makes me happy. I feel down, I go pick up a basketball, go play,” he said.
“He’s one of the top players in the state, one of the best combo guards around. (He’s a) real physical, tough player like a lot of guards in Baltimore City,” said Mungo’s coach, Harry Martin.
Mungo made headlines in 2007 for a very different reason. Police arrested him for sitting on a dirt bike. He was just 7 years old. He told 11 News at the time that he was scared: “They put metal handcuffs on me and they took me to jail.”
“It was a wild experience, something that I hope that no other parents have to go through,” said Mungo’s mother, Lakisa Dinkins.
Looking back 11 years later, Dinkins said she hates to even think about that day, but Mungo said it changed the trajectory of his life.
“It made me a better person, made me look at things different, made me go onto a better path,” Mungo said. “Me getting locked up, I didn’t like the feeling, and I know if I didn’t play basketball or anything that, probably, in the city that I live in now, it probably was going to keep happening, going back and forth to jail.”
With all that behind them, Mungo is looking forward to a change of pace living outside Baltimore City and the new challenges college will bring. He is the first in his family to go to college, and his mom couldn’t be happier.
“I’m so proud of him. I’m proud of him. There’s no other feeling right now than being a proud mom,” Dinkins said.
Mungo said he does want to play basketball professionally, but that he wants to have a backup plan that includes earning his college degree.