Ivy League-bound Chesterfield basketball standout preparing for next step

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — L.C. Bird High School basketball standout Mario Haskett, Jr. was part of the school’s first basketball team to win a state championship. He received a number of scholarship offers from top schools across the country, but basketball wasn’t the only thing on Mario’s mind last year when he made his decision on where he’d go.

“The ball’s gotta stop bouncing one day, so I just tried to set myself up down the road in like 20, 30 years,” Haskett said.

It’s why he says he decided he would go to Harvard.

“They’ve got that brand,” he added. “They’re known globally, so I feel like a degree from there is just as good as making it to the league.”

His parents played a big role in helping him make the decision.

“There’s more to just basketball in the world. When you get the number one school in the world that wants you to come, you need to pick up your bags and go,” Haskett’s father, Mario Haskett, Sr., said.

Haskett visited the school last September and said the campus felt like home.

“I felt like I was at home as soon as I stepped on campus,” he said. “It was like a big family atmosphere.”

His family is not only proud but inspired by his accomplishments.

“A lot of his younger cousins, they look up to him and this inspired them to even push harder to be great,” Mario’s mother, Yolanda Haskett, said.

In two weeks, Haskett will receive his diploma, which is just now settling in for his mother.

“It’s actually really starting to hit me now that my first born is about to leave me,” Yolanda said.

Mario has one message for the community: “If you got your goals and your plans then I feel like you can pursue whatever what you want and be successful.”

He says he plans on studying mechanical engineering in school.

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