With the gene pool James David "Tripp'' Doherty III comes from, it was inevitable he'd be an athlete.
His sister, Caitlin, was a three-time Eagle-Tribune Swimmer of the Year. His brother, Matt, is a scouting assistant with the Patriots. One grandfather was a champion golfer, the other was a standout football player and a great uncle won 18 games in the major leagues.
As all who knew him predicted, the Andoverite has developed into a fine basketball player for a championship-caliber team.
As nobody would have predicted, it's not Andover High. The former Golden Warrior ballboy had a change of heart sophomore year and transferred to St. John's Prep.
The talented 6-2 guard (he had five 3-pointers in one game) has helped the Eagles to a 7-0 start while also flourishing as a student, singer and artist.
Doherty is dedicating his season to his namesake grandfather, James Doherty Sr. (aka Mr. Moderator), who died in November at the age of 94 after a lifetime of service to the town of Andover.
Tripp has written "R.I.P. JDD" on his sneakers and taps each one for support before or during a game.
Doherty, who is best friends with Central star Carson Desrosiers, took time out to go Around the Horn.
What is the background on the name Tripp? I am James David Doherty III. So we just shortened triple intro Tripp. My parents liked the name. My dad (Jay) jokes he saved me cause my mom (May Kelley Doherty) wanted to call me Ethan.
What are your thoughts on St. John's terrific start? My sophomore year we were decent but it was another underachieving St. John's team. With Coach (Sean) Connolly in his second year, we all have a year under our belt. He preaches defense and get the ball out and run. Like Coach (Dave) Fazio preaches at Andover.
Why did you leave Andover High? Sophomore year two weeks in I came to my parents just sick of being an average student. My brother loved his time at St. John's and Caitlin loved her time at Andover. My mother (originally) pushed for St. John's. I just wanted to challenge myself. It was the hardest decision I ever made. My learning style, I needed to be challenged more. I started to feel it in the summer. I tried to ignore it because of how badly I wanted to play for Coach Fazio.
What was it like telling him? It was the scariest conversation I ever had. But we were walking into an Andover football game Thursday night. I was hoping to transfer junior year. The St. John's admissions director was pushing for sophomore year. The anticipation (of talking to Fazio) was the most nervous I've ever been. I didn't need to be because of who Coach Faz is. But he told me if ever wanted to come back there would be a spot. It meant a lot. I thought he'd never talk to me again. He knew it was the best decision for me.
You were at the Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney. Any second thoughts then? I was second-guessing it when I got all that homework sophomore year! I try to go to as many games as I can. D.J. Fazio and I were best friends. Me, D.J. and Spenser Rose. That's what made the decision toughest. We're still close.
Are you starting? How many points are you averaging? I started the first 12 games last year then got hurt and came off the bench. I'm starting at two guard. I'm averaging about 12 points a game.
What's been the favorite moment of your athletic career? (Tuesday) night, beating BC High by 20 at BC High. You look up and you see all the banners. They've won the Catholic Conference from 2001-09.
You're a singer, too? I always jokingly sung around the house. One day I just said I like singing. The biggest thing, sophomore year (All-Scholastic basketball player) Ryan O'Connell took me under his wing. That was the best thing that happened to me. He was in men's chorus. One day he heard me singing in my car. I was kind of forced into it and I love it.
How do you compare a big concert to a big game? I think I get more nervous for concerts. You're standing up there and I'm one of the taller guys so I stick out like sore thumb. I'll probably do a solo before I graduate. You have to try something new.
What was it like watching your sister win all those state titles at Andover? She was absolutely incredible. It was so much fun to watch and be a part of.
Did you ever swim? Absolutely, an 8-under All-Star at Cedardale. I retired a champion! I quit when I learned how to do flip-turns. Seeing her wake up at 4:45 a.m. (for practice convinced me).
Your grandfather, who recently passed away, was a legend in Andover. What is your favorite memory of him? He was an unbelievable man. It was tough to see somebody go who has been such a big figure in your life. Up until the end, he was believing there'd be a miracle. He was the only 94-year-old guy I knew with that fight in him. I grew a lot closer with him the last couple months. My mom called him a walking encyclopedia.
Your great uncle, Dick Kelley of Malden, pitched seven years in the majors. You were a star in Little League. Any regrets giving up baseball? Dicky Kelley, I've seen pictures around my grandmother's house. We had a couple balls signed by Hank Aaron and Joe Torre. The story we hear is Joe Torre was the first to visit him and the last to leave him at the hospital.
I miss it sometime. I'd come home from AAU basketball and go to baseball games dead tired. I couldn't deal with how slow baseball was.
Who is going to win Feb. 17, St. John's or Central? That's the big debate Carson (Desrosiers, the Central great headed to Wake Forest) and I have every time. He's my best friend. He was on the New Hampshire Knicks and I was on the Rivals (AAU team). He finally came over to the good guys freshman year. We've been close ever since.
Do you have any college plans? I'm not sure Wake needs a slow, white shooter! I'd be happy to be a package deal with Carson. My first choice is Boston College. My grandfather went there and my sister is there. That and Villanova.
Did you work in the summer? I was in Rye over the summer. I worked as caddie at Abenaqui.
Your other grandfather was a champion golfer: I got none of his genes!
Best advice you ever received? My uncle Frank, when I was little, 7 years old, told me it's not about field goals made it's field goals attempted. (Laughs) I don't know if that was the best advice.
If you got a new e-mail address, what would it be? Dohertytr@bc.edu is my next e-mail address. Whatever is in front with the bc.edu.
What is the most embarrassing song you have in your iPod? It's tough to embarrass me. I got ridiculed for Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely.
Who is your dream date? Like every other teenage boy, Megan Fox.
How many Facebook friends do you have? Probably 700. (actually 1,200)
What's something people don't know about you? I'm a big drawer. My grandfather (Bob Kelley) was an incredible artist.
What's a drawing you're most proud of? We did an art show and I had a couple pictures of negative-positive eyeballs.
Time for favorites: song, group or singer, CD, Web site not including Facebook, movie? Grey Street by Dave Matthews Band, Dave Matthews Band, Thriller by Michael Jackson, eBay or Masslive, Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Favorite actor, TV show, video game, food, athlete, car, course in school? John Candy, SportsCenter, I'm the world's worst video game player but I'd say NBA Live, cheeseburgers at Fuddruckers, now it's John Wall (of Kentucky) or Jon Diebler (of Ohio State), last year my Holocaust Class with Dana Smith.