Amaurys Fermin is going pro.
Fermin, a former Cal Poly men’s basketball point guard, recently signed a professional contract with San Pedro de Macoris in his native country of the Dominican Republic. He is the fifth Cal Poly player under fourth-year head coach Joe Callero to head into the world of professional basketball.
Fermin played one season at Cal Poly, coming in as a junior college transfer from Hagerstown College in Maryland. He had a chance for two years with the Mustangs, but the East Coast native tore his ACL during the 2010-11 season and came back his senior year to lead Cal Poly with 119 assists in 33 starts.
With Fermin, the Mustangs went 18-15 (8-8 Big West), posting the second most victories in the university’s basketball team history in the Division I era, head coach Joe Callero said. And despite the setback of injury, Cal Poly’s season hinged on the health of their starting guard.
As did Fermin’s basketball career. Callero said if he hadn’t recovered so well from his ACL injury, Fermin probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go on to play professional basketball.
“He’s pretty relentless and has a real high spirit and competitiveness,” Callero said. “When he was injured and out for an entire year, he really had to work at staying in shape and he actually lost weight … he really looked at his diet and nutrition. If you want to be a pro someday, you’ve got to start acting like a pro while you’re in college.”
That’s what Fermin did, and sometimes he took the game too seriously. Assistant coach Sam Kirby, said at times they needed to keep Fermin off the court to keep him on it for the long haul.
“He was one of those guys that, because he’s recovering, you have to tell him to get off the floor because you don’t want him to reinjure it,” Kirby said. “That’s how much he really loved the game; he wanted to get back on the floor as soon as possible.”
Outside of his game on the court, Fermin can thank his fluency in Spanish, his native language, as another reason for his new professional contract, Kirby said.
“He gets that dual citizenship, which is very important when you play overseas. That’s one of the things that agents and team owners look for. Playing for the (Dominican Republic) national team is a real big accomplishment in every way,” Kirby said. “For his program, for his family, for his community and for Cal Poly.”
During a summer tour to Costa Rica the team took last year, Fermin acted as the team’s translator, Callero said. He talked to officials, fans and scorekeepers during the game as well as his duty of starting point guard.
“That just showed our entire team how worldly he is,” Callero said. “Most of us are pretty arrogant in that we only speak one language … but he was able to be a great leader for us on our international trip.”
Chris Eversley, a junior and teammate of Fermin, agrees Fermin was a team leader in many ways and helped develop the team’s skills and positive attitude.
“He was always one of the better players,” Eversley said. “It was good because we could learn from him because he had been through a lot already. He wasn’t afraid to call people out and make us work harder.”
Before the games, Fermin would give pregame speeches to get the team hyped and excited to play, Eversley said.
Callero said he would have liked to have Fermin on the team for longer than his short time at Cal Poly.
“It’s one of those situations where you wish you would’ve had him for a few more years because of how well he did,” Eversley said. “He was a number one player.”