BALTIMORE, MD (WBAL) 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 Baltimore, Maryland 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 Harry Martin, Mungo’s coach at Patterson High School.
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 said 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.”