By Andrew Preston for The Tennessean
White House junior Jared Ward has been playing basketball since he was four years old all because his father Ben Ward instilled in him the passion for the game.
“Basketball has always been the game I’ve loved,” Jared said. “I grew up playing and it’s been my favorite sport ever since I was young.”
Jared gives all the credit for his success on the hardwood to his father.
“I love my dad,” Jared said. “He taught me everything I know, he’s always been there with me shooting since I was little.”
Ben Ward, a metro police officer, coached Jared from the time he was four years old until middle school and spends countless hours helping his son improve his basketball skills.
“It’s kind of no-brainer Jared fell into playing basketball,” Ben said. “I had him playing since he was four years old and I’ve been coaching him off and on since then.”
But as a police officer, Ben is often faced with the difficult decision of spending his time with his son or on the job.
“It’s important to me that he succeeds and I see him succeed,” Ben said. “We make sacrifices to put him in the best position to succeed and if that’s adjusting my shift or taking different hours that’s what I do.”
Jared says he fully understands the sacrifices his dad makes to watch him play, even if it means receiving criticism for taking a bad shot or getting called for a foul.
“We always go up to the gym and shoot together and he critiques me on ways I can get better,” Jared said. “We always talk about my games and different things I can do to improve.”
“During my sophomore season I went through a little bit of a slump and right after one of my games we stayed (in the gym) until about 1 o’clock in the morning,” Jared said. “I had a game the very next day, but he’s just always been there for me.”
Jared has since developed into the pure scoring threat White House needs over his junior season.
The 6-foot guard is averaging 19.5 points and nearly six rebounds per game keeping White House (13-9, 4-4 in 9-AA) in the conversation for a top-three finish in District 9-AA with Harpeth and White House Heritage.
For now, the Wards are focused on the remainder of the season, before the summer brings travel ball.
“I’m proud of him and I want him to keep going,” Ben said. “We have a saying at our house, ‘hungry and humble,’ even though he may have success I want him to keep working to get better and to strive towards team goals.”
Reach Andrew Preston at APreston@tennessean.com or 615-259-8015 and on Twitter @AndrewPreston33.