Petruv loves the beauty he sees in a basketball court


Many things about senior Frank Petruv, 17, stray from the norm, like his height, his long blonde hair, and the hint of the Czech Republic stowed in his accent. And though he may contrast from the rest of the teenagers that wander the halls of Pioneer, like most other tall youngsters in Ann Arbor, he lives and breathes basketball. He plays for Pioneer, as a talented guard and occasional small forward.

Petruv was born in the Czech Republic and moved from there to Ann Arbor when he was only five. He found quite a few differences between the United States and his home country. “People back home are very quiet. They don’t say hi even if they’re your friend,” he says. “You always see me walking around the halls with earphones around my neck, ready to put them on, because it’s not a custom to listen to what people say. When someone comes up to me in a supermarket and asks ‘how you doing?’ I don’t know how to respond to that. People are extremely kind here, even if they fake it. I’ve never shaken as many hands as I have in a day, just walking home from school.”

Petruv credits basketball for allowing him to make new friends, since everyone already knows him as “the basketball player.” However, he admits basketball is only a single aspect of his life; for instance, most people don’t know Petruv had a passion for music when he was younger. “I used to play the violin, the guitar, the drums, flute, and clarinet but I didn’t have the natural talent like I did for basketball. If I’m happy with it I can do anything, I guess a ‘Jack of all trades’ is how I would describe myself.”

Petruv is no stranger to the rigorous routine that comes with being a student athlete. Even for someone who likes to stay busy, his daily procedures can be overwhelming. He wakes up at five and goes to school. After school he goes to study hall, before going to a two hour practice. He bikes home around nine and has an hour or two of free time before going to bed. Other than time management, the pressure of it all is another thing that Petruv finds difficult about being a student-athlete. “Being good at anything, and being watched, there’s a lot of pressure. You have a certain limit to get your college offers. I don’t have any offers; I’m from the Czech Republic. So for me, it’s a grind and I have to get things done as fast as I can.”

Petruv gladly accepts the burdens of being a talented high school athlete because, as he puts it, “It’s all for something.” He has been fortunate enough to play in showcases in major cities such as Las Vegas and New York. He’s had amazing experiences while traveling for basketball, met incredible people, and has had the opportunity to showcase his talent in front of large crowds.

Petruv enjoys the glory of being a prodigy, but what really drives him isn’t a bunch of pleasant luxuries; it’s an unwavering passion for the sport. “Basketball’s such a classic game. Something about the hardwood floors and the classiness of the glass makes it beautiful.” His words radiate a deep love for the game. Take away all the glitz and glamor, and you’re left with a friendly, lanky kid who loves shooting hoops.