Jonathan Benjamin is a ’09 graduate of The Harley School and HAC athletics program. He was a 4 year varsity boys basketball and boys tennis player and won sectional titles in both sports. He then walked on to the University of Richmond’s men’s basketball team where he played for 4 years and graduated with a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing.
What sports did you play for HAC?
Varsity Boys Basketball, 2006 – 2009 (4 years)
Varsity Boys Tenns, 2006 – 2009 (4 years)
Who were your coaches?
Coaches Robert Blackwell (2006) and Kevin Gibbs (2007 – 2009) – HAC Varsity Boys Basketball
Coaches John Dolan and Rajesh Singaravelu(2006 – 2009) – HAC Varsity Boys Tennis
What is your most memorable HAC sports experience?
There are 2 that stick out in my mind. The first is winning a sectional championship in basketball my senior year. We lost in the finals the year before and the expectations going into that season was to win it all. My senior year we weren’t expected to win, but did and to bounce back from the year before made it all the better.
The other memorable experience I think about is the sectional finals for individuals (for tennis). Jason Tahir and Sebastian Fauchet played each other for the singles championships and myself and Andrew Guzick played Sean Kim and Gannon Condon for the doubles championship.
How did playing for HAC sports help prepare you for college sports and life in general?
Having the experiences that I had on the basketball team with the adversity of losing a lot early in my career and also winning a lot (as a team) in tennis without being directly responsible for it helped me deal with the ups and downs both in college and in the professional world. Sports have helped me to connect with others easier and taught me to set goals for myself. If you set goals for yourself, you’re going to complete those goals and in that you’ll become a person who sees commitments all the way through.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself when you were a high school freshmen, what would you say?
To be longterm goal oriented. To understand and know what you want in the future and knowing what you want now… putting what you want later in life ahead of what you want now.
For example, Jordan (Jonny’s younger brother and a senior this upcoming year) knows high school dances are fun, but wants to play (tennis) in college so if he has to choose between the 2, he chooses to play tennis.
What is one thing you miss about HAC Athletics?
The day of basketball games, especially home games. The team would go to Wegman’s to get food, then we’d watch the JV game together and then get ready to play. I miss the camaraderie and being together on a team with the guys you grow up with.
What qualities do you think are most important for a successful athlete?
To be coachable and to never quit. There is accountability in everything you do. If you’re asked to do something, do it and be honest about how much you can do.
Also, have a social consciousness for your teammates and love your teammates. You can’t know how far you can push someone unless you get to know them first.
You can’t do everything by yourself. You need your team. You need your coach and you have to be able to recognize the people around you who are helping you be successful.
Who are some of your favorite athletes and sports idols?
Usain Bolt and Pete Sampras. I also admire and get motivation from my brother (Jordan) and sister (Kristina). The opportunities they have because of their focus is an inspiration to me and they push me to be better.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I love where I am at right now. I see myself using my background and experience to better help my clients. I want to continue to grow my clothing line and getting more involved in sports nutrition. It’d also be cool to have my own AAU team.
“Jonny is a high character individual who is a byproduct of excellent parenting. He is extremely driven and focused on his longterm goals. As a basketball player, he could drive, score and make plays for others.. He was a solid rebounder and tremendous defender and made those around him better.”
– Robert Blackwell, former HAC varsity boys basketball coach and current Head of Middle School at the Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas, Nevada.