HOLMBERG: Can local NBA prospect Jonathan Hargett get out of prison and play again?

Posted at 12:27 AM, Oct 31, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-31 07:24:28-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Fifteen years ago, Jonathan Hargett of Highland Springs was the hottest name in local basketball.

As a 14-year-old, he led his Richmond Metro league team to the national championships. His freshman year play at Highland Springs High School was “electrifying,” as one sportswriter said at the time.

Some believed he would be the first point guard in the country to be drafted directly from high school into the NBA.

Fatherless and almost penniless, it seemed a storybook future awaited . . .

But instead of a NBA uniform, Hargett wound up wearing prison blues.

“I dream in my bed every night about getting out of here, going out there and playing basketball,” Hargett said from the Indian Creek Correction Center, where he’s finishing a 5-year stretch for drugs possession.

His release date is in mid-January. He says he has a solid faith. Legs that would launch him nearly four-feet off the ground are now ready to walk the straight-and-narrow.

He’s all about “being a better person,’’ he said, “being a better father. I’m ready.”

Hargett’s story is not all-that unusual – troubled superstar misses his destiny, finds prison.

But he believes his story is not just a cautionary tale – it could actually have a happy ending.

He grew up to the sounds of cheering crowds calling his name - even as a youngster, when he’d put on a basketball show during halftime at his older brother’s games at Highland Springs.

Could he hear those cheers again, even with a bullet in his hip?

“I’ll be 30 when I get out,” he said. “I still have a chance.”