VMI’s Peterson happy to give back to MMA
WOODSTOCK – When Massanutten Military Academy postgraduate basketball coach Chad Myers asked QJ Peterson if he would help out at Meyers’ camp this week, Peterson didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The former MMA postgraduate player was happy to help the coach, the school and the community.
“When (Myers) called me I just thought about how much Massanutten did for me, and I really just wanted to give back,” Peterson said on Thursday at the school. “I’m definitely grateful for the time I spent here. Any time I get the opportunity to come back and do things like this and work camps and do whatever it is, I’m more than happy to do it.”
The Chad Myers Basketball Camp is being held all week at MMA for kids ages 8-16, and Myers wanted to bring back some of his former postgraduate players to help with the camp. Peterson, a senior guard at Virginia Military Institute, was at the camp on Thursday, and Myers said he may be there again Friday possibly along with University of Maryland senior forward Damonte Dodd.
Peterson said he loved working with the kids at the camp.
“We’ve been having a lot of fun,” Peterson said. “A lot of kids smiling. … I love it. It’s bigger than basketball. Whenever you can help somebody that’s the best way I know to give back to somebody. It’s been a lot of fun.
Peterson, who is from Hedgesville, West Virginia, has been having plenty of fun on the basketball court since leaving MMA in 2013. He was part of a stellar team at MMA, which was ranked as the No. 1 postgraduate team in the country in the 2012-13 season.
In his freshman year at VMI, he averaged 19.0 points per game. He was named the 2013-14 State Rookie of the Year in Virginia.
He suffered an injury in his sophomore season, but still led the team in scoring, averaging 19.6 points per game in 18 games.
Last year, Peterson averaged 19.8 points per game, and after the season he entered the NBA Draft so that he could be evaluated. Peterson said that he was ranked 139th out of over 540 players that entered the NBA Draft. He said that it was a really positive experience.
“It was a great experience, and to say that I was able to enter the draft. No one else in the Southern Conference did that. So it was definitely an honor,” Peterson said. “…It would be a dream come true if I were to play in the NBA. That’s my goal. That’s what I’m working towards every single day.”
Peterson said that attending MMA helped him to adjust to the military life that he would have at VMI.
“(MMA) definitely molded me and it transforms you into a young woman and a young man,” Peterson said. “…(VMI) makes you have mental toughness. Having to wake up early in the morning and doing things you don’t want to do — I mean that’s life right there. We all have to do things that we don’t want to do. So basketball’s the easy part.”
The 2012-13 MMA postgraduate team had a lot of success, and also saw many players go on to have big success at the college level. Peterson, Dodd and University of Kansas guard Frank Mason III have each received many accolades at the Division I level.
Peterson said he doesn’t get to talk to his former teammates as much as he would like. He said everyone on the team made each other better, and he’ll always remember that season and the team.
“It was pretty scary how good we were and the things we accomplished,” Peterson said.
Peterson said he just wants to keep improving this season, and he would love to help lead VMI to an NCAA Tournament berth.
“It’s definitely been a long journey,” Peterson said. “So heading into senior year I’m looking to finish with a bang, and hopefully to leave back something for VMI as well.”
Myers said that he was glad to have Peterson come back to MMA and talk to the kids.
“It means a lot to me as a coach that they still care and feel like we had a good relationship when they we were here,” Myers said.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org