By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Deshaun Thrower is a basketball player.

ron rop column logo cropAnd a pretty darned good one, too.

That’s why the senior at Muskegon High School is committed to playing Division 1 college basketball at Stony Brook, located in the state of New York. A year from now, he will be preparing for his freshman season with the Seawolves.

But, in the meantime, the athletic senior quarterback for the Muskegon Big Reds is trying to lead his football team to Ford Field later this month.

The way Thrower has been leading the Big Reds’ on the gridiron, like he did on Friday night, it’s obvious Thrower would be successful no matter which sport he chose. And certainly, some of the followers of the Big Reds may be wondering why he isn’t choosing football.

But his choice has been made and it’s crystal clear … he is a basketball player.

On Friday night, Thrower rushed for four touchdowns, including three in the game’s first 9 minutes, and led the Big Reds to a 49-14 victory over crosstown rival Reeths-Puffer. He rushed for 96 yards in the opening half in which Muskegon took a 28-14 lead. He finished with 166 yards.

It’s performances like Friday night that has prompted some football recruiters to come calling. One in-state university came calling just the other day and was asking about Thrower possibly becoming a wide receiver in college.

Thanks, but no thanks, was the response.

“I don’t know what would happen if a Michigan came or a Florida or Alabama came, but I know that kid is phenomenal and will be successful in life no matter what he chooses – football or basketball,” Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield said. “I’m just honored to be coaching that kid.”

“God bless him and Keith Guy, our basketball coach and AD, for letting him play because he is their man and he’s a D1 guy and he sees where he is in a position where he is getting hit,” Fairfield said. “I’ve never had so much support and a guy who loves seeing basketball guys being successful on the court and on the football field.

“You will see plenty of successful things from Deshaun Thrower,” said the Big Red football coach. “He loves New York, he’s going to get out of this area. This is his roots, but I guarantee in 4 or 5 years, he’s going to go off and be successful and come back and change our society and our community.”

Guy, who attends all the Big Red football games, certainly cringes every time he sees his star point guard take a big hit on the football field.

“From what he has told me, he is committed to playing basketball,” Guy said. “When he committed, he made a promise and he’s the type of kid who would not go back on his promise.

“It’s a pleasure just to watch him,” Guy said. “I’ve been his coach for so long, sometimes it’s just great to sit on the side and just watch him compete. He does a great job of it and he’s just a fierce competitor. He has that will to win and you could see that in his game tonight. He is such a team player and I’m happy for him.”

So there you have it, one of the best football players in the state, who also happens to be one of the best basketball players in the state.

A success on the court, on the field, off the court and off the field.

And that’s why everyone, sports fan or not, should be rooting for Thrower, and so many other high school athletes like him, to succeed in sports and in life.