Burlingame point guard Frankie Ferrari doesn’t care what you think about him or his game. He doesn’t care if you believe what he says in the media. All Ferrari cares about is winning.
“I’m not really into (what people think about me),” Ferrari said. “My main goal is winning. People who truly know me, know I’m easygoing off the court. I’m one of the most laid-back guys you’ll meet. On the court? Nobody’s my friend.”
If nothing else, winning is what the Burlingame boys’ basketball team did this season. Twenty-six times, to be exact. Undefeated in capturing the Peninsula Athletic League South Division championship. Winning the PAL tournament title. If not for the fact the Panthers were selected to play in the Central Coast Section Open Division, they would have been the prohibitive favorite in Division III. They did, however, represent well in both the Open Division and the Northern California Division III tournament and a lot of it had to do with the play of Ferrari.
Ferrari, who returned to Burlingame following a one-year “hiatus” at Riordan for his junior year, averaged 22.4 points, nearly six rebounds, and more than seven assists and three steals per game. He shot 53 percent from the field from 2-point range and 36 percent from 3-point range, finishing with 99 made 3-pointers this season. He was named PAL Most Valuable Player and is now the Daily Journal’s Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
“If you love basketball, you have to love the way he plays,” said Burlingame coach Pete Harames. “He does amazing things.”
Harames only coached Ferrari for this one season. He had seen bits and pieces of his play during his time as the Panthers’ freshman coach during Ferrari’s first two seasons at Burlingame. When he heard Ferrari was returning to Burlingame for his senior season, he heard all the negative connotations attached to Ferrari and his game.
“The negatives were he was selfish. He took too many shots and handled the ball too much,” Harames said. “I didn’t see that. He’s as hard a worker as you’ll find. His attitude was great. I don’t think I was disappointed in him at all. I expected a lot and most of it came true.”
In fact, those criticisms couldn’t be further from the truth. Ferrari sees himself as a true point guard: one who handles the ball, initiates the offense and gets the rest of the team involved.
Until it’s time for him to take over — which he did at several points during the season. He took over in the Panthers’ 76-72 overtime win over Aragon during the regular season, scoring 30 points, including 11 in the overtime period. And then, of course, there is the now famous 46-point explosion in an 83-69 win over Leigh in the Open Division playoffs.
But there were other times Ferrari’s shots weren’t falling and instead of just continuing to force up shots, he looked to involve his teammates.
“It’s all about a feel. I just tried to play the game as it comes to me and go from there,” Ferrari said. “It happened multiple times this year. I felt my team needed me to step up. I kind of have a little feel for the momentum of the game.”
It’s that feel for the game that helped Ferrari land a scholarship to play at University of San Francisco beginning next season. But even with a scholarship secured, Ferrari never felt the need to go out and prove he deserved one.
“A lot of guys come out and try to prove, ‘I’m this guy and I’m going here (for college),’” Ferrari said. “A lot of people have a cool mode, ‘I’m too cool to do this,’ or ‘I’m too cool to do that.’ I just wanted to get better. That was my main concern. I felt I needed to take a step forward to get ready for college. As the year went on, I got better.”
So did the rest of his teammates. No-look passes from the point to baseline that were fumbled out of bounds early in the season because teammates weren’t expecting it turned into baseline layups by the end of the season. The highest accolade you can give a point guard — or any player for that matter — is he made those around him better. Harames believes Ferrari did just that.
“He made [his teammates] all way better players, I thought,” Harames said. “The hard work helped. He worked hard at practice and [both the practices and his teammates] were highly elevated by him.”
And despite all the accolades and 20-point games and amazing plays Ferrari has garnered and made this season, it was the things the team accomplished — along with just playing with his friends — that Ferrari will remember the most from his senior year.
“Beating Serra (in their annual non-league game) was nice. Going undefeated in league (was nice),” Ferrari said. “But (just being) day in, day out with the guys. The relationship on the team was unreal. Being with them every day and grinding with them (is something I’ll remember).”
Said Harames: “He’s a special player.”