Former Shark signs with Miami Heat affiliate
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – This past January, Gerard Tarin sat hobbled on the Nova Southeastern bench, this time dealing with an ankle issue that occurred a mere 10 minutes into the Sharks’ Sunshine State Conference game against Saint Leo. The setback was just another among a continuous list of untimely injuries that always seemed to hinder the 6-foot-9 forward’s growth and development, leaving Tarin wondering when the bad luck was going to run out.
However, Tarin’s faith and personal belief never faltered, nor did his work ethic. Following a path that sent him from Salem International to Nova Southeastern, and nearly Qatar (yes…Qatar), the big man has found a home in professional basketball after officially signing with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Miami Heat.
“I had surgery on both my knees one year and nine months ago, and I thank God for the people he’s placed around me to help me get back healthy,” said Tarin, who started a combined 38 games in his two seasons with Nova Southeastern. “I told myself that this was my platform, and I was going to keep working and be ready for any opportunity. It has given me a chance to grow and develop not just as a player, but also mentally. Your setback is a setup for a major comeback.”
On paper, Tarin was a solid contributor for the Sharks, averaging 10.8 points and 6.7 rebounds during his career. The numbers never jumped off the page, yet Nova Southeastern head coach Jim Crutchfield knew he was just beginning to tip the iceberg.
“The thing that really stood out to me about Gerard, besides his natural size and talent, was how young he was,” said Crutchfield. “He was a 20-year old senior last year. I have redshirt-freshmen that are 20 years old. Add to that missed time due to a few injuries and knee surgery, and he really did not, and still does not have a lot of quality basketball experience behind him.
“On the recruiting trail I hear the phrase, ‘His best basketball is ahead of him’ quite often. With Gerard, that is certainly the case. He is a quality person, has a great sense of humor, and is a very hard worker. It was certainly a pleasure for me to coach him last year.”
Interestingly enough, the Skyforce almost never even factored into the equation either. Following an open tryout held in Las Vegas, Tarin had instead settled on heading overseas to play professionally in Qatar. However, after both sides had mutually agreed to a deal, the organization dragged its feet on the contract, causing Tarin to question whether anything would ever be finalized.
With contract talks fizzling out, Tarin overcame his initial hesitance and turned his focus towards an upcoming tryout hosted by the Skyforce down in Miami. The season was quickly approaching, and there wasn’t much time before another window may possibly close.
One of nearly 100 players in attendance, Tarin was soon hand-picked to advance to the next stage of tryouts held in Sioux Falls. Competing against the likes of 2017-18 SEC Player of the Year Yante Maten and former Kansas star Malik Newman, Tarin grinded his way through a week-long showcase, relying on his workman-like attitude and high motor to stand out amongst the more highly-touted prospects. As each day passed, Tarin remained, until the original 17-man roster had dwindled to a final cut of 12, his name among the list.
“I continued to work on my craft and just kept the same faith from the day I walked into the open tryout until now,” said Tarin. “I believed God would make something miraculous happen, and then after the first cut, I felt confident that He would position me into that roster spot.”
Now suiting up in red and black, Tarin knows the journey is never, and will never be easy. Still, he also knows that no dream is ever too big…even when the odds tell you otherwise.
“I just want to say thank you to my Heavenly Father, for he has positioned me here for this divine purpose,” Tarin added. “This wasn’t by might or power, but only by the Spirit of God. I’m thankful to be a walking testimony of God’s faithfulness that Anything is possible for the one who believes! Yes it was hard, and I had to work, but when God says yes nobody can say no! This story is for the generation of young men and women growing up with big dreams, that it does not matter where you are from, how you were raised, just keep trusting that God has great plans for your future. This is only the beginning. He will do greater things!”