When 9-year-old Jack Farrell steps on the court to play basketball, he means business.
The Dallas Elementary student plays for the Knicks in the Dallas Youth Basketball third and fourth-grade league, and last weekend he had a whopper of a game.
The team won, 44-39, in the semi-finals last Saturday against the Celtics, and Farrell scored all 44 winning points.
"He had no idea," Chad Lojewski, the Knicks' coach, said of Farrell's performance. "My daughter fills out the score book, and with two minutes left in the game she said, ‘Dad, look at this.'"
Farrell's father, Mark, said basketball is in his son's blood. Mark Farrell played ball in high school and college, and still reminisces about the time he scored 34 points on his own when Dallas High School made the district championships in 1985. Despite Mark Farrell's efforts, that game ended in a loss for the Mountaineers.
"A family member made a CD of the radio broadcast of that game, and he listens to it all the time," said Farrell's wife, Donna.
But Jack Farrell's sights aren't set on the glory of the game. Lojewski said the young player often asks to be placed in the game so he can pass the ball to others on the team.
Last Friday during the quarter-finals against the Hornets, Farrell scored 18 points and, near the end of the game, continued passing to Lojewski's son, Drew, who scored 12 points of his own.
"Drew wouldn't have had 12 points without Jack's help," said Lojewski. "But believe me, Drew won't stop talking about his 12 points."
And last Saturday's record-breaking game for Farrell was the one his parents weren't able to attend. The couple was visiting friends in Maryland on a trip they planned two months ago, and they were shocked to learn about the outcome of the game.
"I'm the assistant coach, so we never miss a game," said Mark Farrell.
The Farrells received more than 50 text messages the day their son scored 44 points in one game.
"We had met another couple while we were there, and we told them about what was happening, and they gave us their phone number and asked us to text them the outcome of the game," laughed Donna Farrell.
Lojewski has seen Farrell become a mature young man through coaching him in the league, and he said watching Farrell's skills develop on the court and in interacting with his friends is what makes coaching worthwhile.
"In 20 years of coaching, I can't remember an output like this," Lojewski said. "I went from watching the Knicks lose their first game of the season in the last second, and I thought I was going to have to console Jack. Now he's leading the pack, but he's also very unselfish."
Farrell, who also plays baseball and football, likes to spend time with his brothers, 12-year-old Michael and 6-year-old Nick, and friends, shooting hoops in the driveway.
The straight-A student said his favorite subject in school is gym ("If that counts," he said) and social studies.
"I like basketball because it's athletic and fun," he said.
Today, the Knicks have a spot in the finals, and they'll face the undefeated Suns.
Farrell hopes the team wins, but he's more excited about playing in the brand new high school gym.
"It'll be fun, and it's a great experience," said Lojewski.
What: Dallas Youth Basketball third and fourth-grade boys' league championship game
Who: Knicks vs. Suns
When: Today at 1:15 p.m.
Where: Dallas High School gym