Former Football Player: a Slam Dunk for Clark


On the left, Jordan Berni celebrates after teammate Ozzie George scores. In the center, Berni steals the ball and escorts it down the court to score for the Penguins. (Andy Bao/ The Independent)

A former high school star, Jordan Berni, returns as one of Clark’s strongest basketball players for the 2016-17 season, adding more depth to the point guard position.  

Berni started playing basketball at a young age, but soon found another sport: football.

“I started playing football when I was in third grade and I fell in love with that,” said Berni. After switching from wide receiver to quarterback, Berni found himself anchoring the quarterback position for Skyview High School his senior year.

But Berni hadn’t forgotten about basketball.

Berni played basketball in the football offseason to maintain his athleticism. “I played basketball through high school but I didn’t really care about it,” he said.

Berni was team captain for both sports while at Skyview. In his senior year, Berni led Storm football to a 7-3 record, only to lose to Newport Bellevue in the first game of the playoffs. Berni was voted second team all-4A in the Greater Saint Helens league as the Storm quarterback.

Berni continued his athletic career with a short stint playing Division II football for Western Oregon University. Berni left WOU quickly transferring to Iowa Western Community College. He had no luck earning a starting position at Iowa, and after a year he elected to come back home.

Berni came to Clark after hearing about former head coach Alex Kirk’s program. “I’ve known coach Kirk for a while,” Berni said. “I’ve had friends that have played for him. And so, I kind of recruited myself I guess.”

Berni went 9-10 from the field, scoring 24 points in his first game for the Penguins on Nov. 18. “That gave me a lot of confidence,” Berni said. “I was kinda nervous about how I was gonna do.”

Since his start, Berni averages 12.4 points, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 rebounds per game.

Teammates Michael Hill Jr. and Ty Cleland said he’s known for his hard work-ethic and tough play on the court, traits Berni attributes to his football training.

“Jordan’s a hard-nose guard that likes to score,” said Cleland. “He plays kinda like a football player but he’s got some basketball finesse in it.”

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