By Ryan Menzie
Sports signal editor
Mike Penberthy played for the Los Angeles Lakers and won the championship in 2001 with Hall of Fame Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. However, coming out of high school, Mike didn’t get as much exposure and Boy Scout looks as his son, Jaden Penberthy, the head guard at Hart High School, now does.
âLooks like he’s played over 100 games a year,â said Mike. âWhen I played, I only played in four and that’s it. That’s all the exposure we had in 1991.
When Mike was coming out of high school, the Las Vegas Invitational was the biggest tournament for kids to get noticed. Mike said he really only got one offer out of high school, and that was from Master’s University, where he finally played his four years.
Mike is currently an assistant coach for the Lakers and won a championship with them in 2020 with Lebron James. He also sees the level of recruiting and exposure his son has gotten and thinks his son is much better than he was at the same age.
Jaden has spoken to over 40 college coaches from across the country, including Indiana State, Boise State, Cal Poly and Stanford.
Jaden is 6 feet 6 inches and 195 pounds, and is no stranger to the world of basketball. His journey has been one of hard work and a loving support system around him, but he would be the first to tell you that his journey is far from over.
Unlike his father, Jaden was bombarded with opportunities and played in many tournament matches.
During Mike’s time at the Master’s, he would make the All NAIA first team his last two seasons before not being drafted in 1997, but would end up on the Lakers for their 2001 championship season.
âFour years of college is what I needed to be considered good,â Mike said. âI haven’t been recruited much. I finished the Master because it was the only real program that interested me and I had to go in and redshirt. I wasn’t as good as Jaden so he deserves all the recruiting he gets.
Jaden has gone through the day-to-day recruiting process and understands how lucky he is to be in the position he is in. He also understands that his father didn’t have as much exposure as he did and knew it was more difficult for him because of having such a strong support system around him.
Jaden wants everything to stay intact and knows whoever chooses him will get a stronger work ethic than they can imagine and a vocal leader for the team when called upon.
âMy father was much more underestimated when he left high school. He looked late and a big reason he ended up at master’s level, âsaid Penberthy. âThe whole recruiting has been a big blessing for me. My decision will mostly come down to playing my freshman year and becoming the best player I can be, but whoever gets me will have someone who is extremely coachable and will work hard no matter what.
Jaden is now entering his fourth year of high school basketball, but will only be in his third year playing due to injuries sustained during team basketball trips.
Ahead of the start of his junior season, Jaden sprained his ankle after training for about eight months with COVID-19 in his second travel-only team game. He would keep trying to play through the injury and end up spraining his other ankle in the process.
Despite the injuries, Hart High School basketball head coach Tom Kelly expects Jaden to have a great year and take the team to the next level.
âHe’s going to be a complete player for us. He’s going to have to do everything, score and manage the ball, âsaid Kelly. âSince he has been with the team since his first year, his leadership will be most valuable to the young people around him to help this team grow.
Jaden has taken the time to be able to reevaluate his life and is learning not to take anything for granted. He has also become more empathetic towards other people who have suffered injuries as well, knowing the amount of work it takes to get back to where you once were.
Jaden’s parents, Mike and Wendy, suffered badly from the injury seeing their son injured and worried about how long it would take him before he could play again.
âIt was sad because he couldn’t wait to go to high school,â Wendy said. âHe was ready to go and he just quit because the season was so short. He fought there both physically and mentally. As a parent, all you can do is support him.
Jaden appears to be on track to play from the start of his senior season. He remains focused on the playoffs and winning the CIF with his team, but also looks as a whole where he should play for college in hopes of one day turning professional like his father.
The life of basketball
Jaden said he felt blessed to have someone like his father in his life, not only as someone who shows him love every day, but also as someone with the connections and the mindset. to know what it takes to play professionally.
âI think about it every day. To be lucky enough to have a father to get to where he is, âJaden said. âGrowing up with someone like that who knows what it takes to be successful and push me through things is something I’m grateful to God for. Having him as a father is something really special.
Mike knows the amount of sacrifice it takes to reach the professional level and supports his son every step of the way.
âI’m just trying to encourage him to have consistent daily routines. His daily routines are the most important thing, âsaid Mike. âHe’s a pretty disciplined kid. He values ââgood things like basketball and life, so I try to encourage him to do that. I’m happy with the goals he’s set for himself and it’s great that he’s ready to do it.