June 3, 2013

Pratt stays local

Kevin McCarthy

He is a rebel in his approach, his heart is more evident and reverently dedicated than most and now Herman Pratt is heading across town to begin his college career.

photo of Herman Pratt

A basketball product of the San Francisco Rebels basketball organization and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (SHCP), Pratt is the antithesis of so many in today's basketball world. His against-the-grain forte is defense and he won't back down against much larger opponents despite standing 6-feet tall.

Now he is joining Coach Julius Barnes, the former Stanford backcourter from the early 2000's, at the Academy of Art University.

Pratt's prowess at prevention earned him the honor of 2013 San Francisco Examiner City Player of the Year and it's something others have long recognized.

Here Rebels Coach Nate Ford on Pratt: “Herman definitely has a defensive mindset and his defensive effort -- diving for every loose ball -- is contagious. He is quiet but a leader by example.”

But Ford also expects Pratt to display some surprises.

“Offensively he gets to the basket and he definitely has improved his three-point shooting. I can see him getting to 10-15 points per game.”

Sacred Heart Coach Darrell Barbour offered a litany of positives about his three-year starter: “it was a blessing to coach him -- he enriched my life. Herman knows who he is as a player and accepts and embraces that. You don't get that -- it's a talent a lot of people don't have. He separates himself because of his approach. He's all about competing to be successful. It's rare to be around a kid who practices and plays the same way, hard, every day. He will never be out-worked.”

Barbour also used the adjective contagious in relation to Pratt's effort, adding “he is one of the most unselfish players I've ever been around and he has a great willingness to be coached.”

In his modest manner, Pratt said, “I may be quiet, but I always do my best to get the job done.”

He felt comfortable with the Urban Knight coaching staff “because they were down to earth.” ART U is also coming off it's best season in the five-year existence of the program, finishing 9-16 overall and 7-11 in league.

Pratt's approach to the game is genuinely unique and mature as evidenced by his quotes, “defense generates offense” and “offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”

Barnes and company are going to love him.

He is also a winner and that's what he recalls as most cherished moments -- “oing to two state finals games and being the only two programs. boys and girls, to make it to state finals games in 2013.”

The Sacred Heart Cathedral boys took down San Marin, Drake and Campolindo before falling 59-52 this season in Sacramento to St. Augustine. In the 2011-12 go-around, the Fightin' Irish went on a six-game win streak before being upended 71-67 by Alemany.

The Urban Knights are members of the Pacific West Conference along with fellow northern California members Dominican University, Notre Dame de Namur University and Holy Names University, as well as other schools that include four in Hawaii. The sea and sand in February should be a nice respite from even the California winter.

Pratt finished with, “I'd like to give thanks to my friends and family and coaches throughout my whole high school career, especially my dad Herman Pratt III, for his support during my four years at SHCP and my traveling team. I want to offer a special thanks to my girlfriend Briannah Smith who is going to be attending Concordia University in Portland, Oregon next year. She's been there since the beginning of the season and me and her set goals for ourselves and we both achieved them. She was my backbone throughout the whole season. I love her to death and I'm going to miss going to school with her next year, but she's going to do great out there, I know she will. I can't wait for her return in four years to do what I promised to her.”