It’s been a great year for Earl Pettis, La Salle’s 6-foot-5 senior guard, one of the top players in the Atlantic 10 Conference and the Philadelphia Big 5 this season. Pettis led the Explorers to a 21-13 record and helped them land a spot in the NIT.
He was La Salle’s leading scorer tallying 15.2 points a game. The former Neumann-Goretti standout also received the Chris Daniels Most Improved Award from the A-10 and was named second-team All-Big 5.
The next accomplishment for Pettis will be on Sunday, May 20 when La Salle holds is commencement exercises at McCarthy Stadium. That’s where Pettis will graduate with his degree in sociology.
“I think graduating from any school, university or college is big,” Pettis said. “For me, it’s real big. It’s a blessing that I’m able to finish college and graduate on time. My major is sociology. I did a lot of papers. Actually, my last paper was 30 pages and just finished that up. It was pretty tough. I went to study hall about two hours a day until I got it done. Graduation is going to be a big day for me. I’ll have a lot of my family and friends there. They’ll all be there to support me.
Pettis had to roll his sleeves up on and off the court. He didn’t start his career at La Salle. He transferred to La Salle after spending two years at Rutgers, where he began his college career.
There’s a big commitment to being a college athlete at the Division I level with the practices, games, and classes. It takes a great deal of time and organization to stay on top of everything.
“Organizing and time management are important,” Pettis said. “When you get done practice, try to get some school work done. You don’t want to let the school work pile up. It can really take a toll on you.”
Pettis had the right formula for success. That’s what most student-athletes need to move forward. He’s a good example for a lot of young kids today who are interested in playing college sports. Pettis grew up in South Philadelphia and played basketball at the playground near 15th and Morris Streets.
Dr. John Giannini, La Salle head basketball coach, knows the importance of playing good basketball, but also the value of education. Actually, when it’s all said and done, it’s all about receiving a good education.
“It’s a great accomplishment and it lasts forever,” Giannini said. “The education never leaves you. The degree never leaves you. Everyone talks about it being able to get a good job and that’s really important. But I think equally as important is becoming an educated person. Right now, Earl is someone who has good ideas and can speak intelligently about a lot of good things. That’s what you really want out of your college experience. You want to better yourself and Earl has done a good job of that.”
Pettis has been working out in preparation for a career in professional basketball career. He’s interested in going to an NBA camp or possibly going to Europe to play professionally. Pettis has allowed basketball to provide him with a good education as well as a bright future.