Prep Basketball: Troutman joins 1,000-point club
By Mike London
SALISBURY — The first 997 points were pretty easy for Salisbury senior Deshawn Troutman.
The last three to get to 1,000 points took some doing.
Troutman reached the milestone on Tuesday when the Hornets used a torrid first half to beat Central Carolina Conference opponent East Davidson, 83-68. Salisbury scored 56 points before halftime. Will Leckonby was 8-for-10 on 3-pointers in the half.
“Leckonby was hot, and everybody was hitting — except me,” Troutman said with a smile. “I was thinking about 1,000 way too much.”
Troutman was on the Salisbury varsity on opening night of his freshman year in November 2012, joining veterans such as Tyler Petty, Buster Hillie and Keion Adams. He averaged 5.9 points that season and put 160 points in the record book.
Troutman scored 24 points opening night of his sophomore year (2013-14), a breakout effort that was followed quickly by games in which he scored 23 and 26. He averaged 12.4 points that season.
As a junior, he took another step forward. He was second to North’s Jalen Sanders in Rowan County scoring with 16.3 points per game. He topped 20 points seven times and broke loose for a career-high 28 in a Christmas tournament win against Carson.
Troutman entered his senior season with 818 points.
His scoring pace is down from his junior year, even though he still leads the Hornets with 13.3 points per game.There are several factors in his reduced scoring, with the most obvious being fewer shot attempts for a more balanced team.
Salisbury has no shortage of scoring options. Seniors D.J. Alexander and Wes Fazia, Troutman’s teammates for four seasons, are still on board, Tre Oats and Leckonby are bigger factors this year, and transfer Isaac Baker, who has produced a 30-point game, is Troutman’s new backcourt running mate.
Troutman also is playing for a new head coach, Bryan Withers, and has been forced to make adjustments. Troutman played the last three seasons for Jason Causby.
“It’s been tough on Deshawn, it’s a different system, and we’ve butted heads a few times,” Withers said. “But give him credit. He’s hung in there, and he’s got a lot of talent. He’s quick. He can handle the ball. He’s got a knack for scoring. He makes shots you think are lucky at first — but he keeps making them over and over.”
Withers really wants to use Salisbury’s size, so he’s looking for entry passes rather than contested jumpers from his guards. Keeping that size closer to the basket also has diminished Troutman’s driving opportunities.
“There’s more traffic, more bodies in the lane than previous years — our bodies as well as the bodies defending them,” Withers said. “So it’s been harder for Deshawn to get all the way to rim when he drives. But he understands that we need to use our bigs. Our bigs shot 15-for-21 against East Davidson.”
Troutman hoped to reach 1,000 points at the Dale’s Sporting Goods Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Catawba. He needed 54 in the three-day event. Instead, he got 51, including a 21-point effort that helped win the third-place game against Davie County.
“I was kind of hoping to do it in the tournament,” Troutman said. “But I was three short, and then I was thinking about it so much I couldn’t sleep.”
Why was he thinking about it so much?
“Well, I’ve got family pictures of me with a basketball in my hands when I was 3 years old,” Troutman said. “It’s been a long road to 1,000 points. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it means a lot to me.”
Troutman had to wait almost a week after the Christmas tournament to play again. He returned to the floor at home on Tuesday, but he wasn’t himself. He’s never nervous, but he was nervous.
“Lots of butterflies,” he said.
Troutman wasn’t the first and won’t be the last to have 1,000-point butterflies. The rim gets smaller as 1,000 approaches.
Troutman had 997, so he really wanted to land directly on 1,000 with a 3-pointer. But that wasn’t working as his rushed bombs were clanging off the iron.
“I came out shooting 3-pointers, and they weren’t falling,” Troutman said. “It took a while.I had to calm down and relax. Then I finally made two layups for 999, and then 1,001.”
It’s always nice to get 1,000 at home. Administrators stopped the game after he surpassed the milestone, and Troutman received not only a game ball, but a certificate that declared him to be a member of the school’s exclusive 1,000-point club.
“I handed the ball to my mom,” remembers Troutman. “My family has been there all the way.”
Ironically, it may have been Troutman’s worst game of the season. He finished with seven points, only the second time this season he hasn’t been in double figures.
“But it wasn’t a bad game because it was at home, it was our first CCC game, and it was a win,” Troutman said. “The butterflies are gone now. Now I can help us keep going.”
Troutman became only the 10th player to score 1,000 points at the school, and that includes two from the Boyden days (Frank McRae in 1952 and Eddie Kesler in 1960).
All-time scoring leader Bobby Phillips (1994) and Bobby Jackson (1992), who made it all the way to the NBA, are the top two scorers on the list.
Two 1,000-point scorers were classmates. Withers and Fred Campbell graduated from Salisbury High in 1988.
Shamari Spears reached 1,000 in just two seasons. Brandon Abel (2009) and Darien Rankin (2011) were the most recent additions to the club before Troutman.
Some outstanding players — Woody Boler, Doug Campbell, Leonard Owens and Robbie Jefferies — topped 900, but fell short of 1,000. Kenny Holt, one of the best of all-time, had a 1,441-point career split between J.C. Price and Boyden.
“I did it in three years and guys now have four years to do it,” Withers said. “I’ll keep reminding Deshawn about that when I joke around with him, but what he’s accomplished is a great honor. How many years doesn’t really matter. A thousand points is a thousand points.”
Troutman is a slightly built 5-foot-10 and is the smallest player to score 1,000 at a school where basketball records have been documented since 1930.
“He’s started to realize that if he’s going to play at the next level at his size, he’s got to be great at everything,” Withers said. “He’s working hard on other parts of his game. He’s doing more things for us than just scoring.”
Assuming good health, the Hornets soon will add another 1,000-point scorer. Alexander scored 20 on Tuesday and now has 950 for his career.
“He’s really been playing well lately,” Withers said.
Alexander, Troutman and the Hornets play their biggest game of the season so far when they go to Lexington tonight. Salisbury (12-2) is 0-4 against the Yellow Jackets the last two seasons. Lexington shared the last two CCC titles with North Rowan.
“We improved some with a 2-1 Christmas tournament and we played one of our best halves of the season in the first half against East Davidson,” Withers said. “We’re still getting better. We plan to be playing our best ball at the end of the season.”
By Mike London firstname.lastname@example.org In the last regular-season game he pitched for Granite Quarry High’s Dragons in 1955, Jay Seay... read more