Island Trees High School’s Anthony Ferrufino has been on quite the journey. The senior center didn’t start out his career for the Bulldogs as a dominant force.
Ferrufino, who is now 6 feet, 6 inches tall, struggled as a junior varsity player in his freshman year at Island Trees. But once he made the varsity squad, it was time to step up his game. That’s when brothers Michael and Robert pushed him unlike ever before.
Come Ferrufino’s junior year, it was his time to stand tall on the court. His determination led him to being named as part of the All-County team during the 2018-19 season. He spoke with the Tribune about his journey, as well as how he became a force on the court.
Q: What has your high school basketball career been like?
A: It started not that great. I was on the junior varsity team in ninth grade, not as anything special. In 10th grade, I got called up to varsity. I didn’t have a major role. I was overweight and out of shape. The summer going into my junior year, I started going to the gym with my older brother. He got me started with different ways to lose weight. From there, I just took off and started getting better.
Q: How influential was your brother as you made your way onto the varsity team?
A: I actually have two brothers, and I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without both of them. Both of them actually played for the coach I play for. One of them is a former player, and he really helped me a lot. And my other brother helped me lose weight and got me active in the gym. They were very helpful in my journey to get better.
Q: What has your coach taught you over the years?
A: A lot. Everything I know on the court is because of him. He’s been coaching Island Trees for a while, and he’s known me since middle school. He let us stay extra hours in the weight room and anything else we wanted.
Q: What are your keys to success on the court?
A: My team is always willing to give me the ball. We always pass first. The like to look for me down low.
Q: What is the one part of your game that you’ve improved on the most?
A: My passing has gotten a lot better over the years. A lot of our success on offense has come from being low and releasing high, going back door.
Q: What does it mean to be selected to the All-County team?
A: It means a lot to me. I think I can do more, though. I want to get something higher than that. Maybe I can be Conference A5 Player of the Year. If we make a run for the playoffs and we play as one, it can happen.