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Posted On: 06/15/18 1:30 AM
When there are no referees blowing whistles, coaches yelling from both benches, fans in the stands jarring at almost every call, nine other players on the court taking up space, with the shot clock running, De’Arre McDonald finds time to be in the gym.
That’s because he likes to think of himself as a “dog”, someone who doesn’t know when to quit.
“I play defense. A lot of people don’t like to get up in somebody’s face and irritate them in a way,” McDonald said. “I’m going to hustle. I’m going to do everything you ask me to do, not just to better myself, but to better my teammates.
You can consider the gym to be McDonald’s habitat as he’s controlling his own destiny to a life of basketball once his high school days are over. The basketball continues to bounce, making echoes while McDonald is in the gym. McDonald’s day in the gym consists of a lot of ball handling and shooting.
Each time he’s alone, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard out of Oakland High School, shoots free throws after every drill he runs, and shoots a total of 500 shots from every angle of the court. McDonald isn’t like most guards when it comes to shooting. He’s not so focused on three-point shooting. Instead, he wants to perfect his mid-range game, sort of what Golden State’s Kevin Durant has done throughout his career.
“I feel like my mid-range game is getting close, but I’m working on that day in and day out,” McDonald said. “That’s something people really don’t do a lot of anymore. Everyone wants to shoot 3s and dunk. I’m really working on things that some people may not want to work on.”
Durant isn’t the only professional basketball player McDonald pays attention to. He also enjoys watching Steph Curry, James Harden, and Ish Smith from the Detroit Pistons. McDonald has also been taking notes from his AAU coach, J.P. Primm, who had a solid high school career playing football and basketball before having a great career at the University of North Carolina Asheville where he finished with more than 1,600 points, 600 assists, 459 rebounds, and 280 steals.
Like Primm, McDonald is also a true athlete, playing football and basketball, with basketball being the No. 1 sport in his life. Since McDonald has been playing for Primm’s AAU team WHBH (Work Hard Be Humble), he has learned a lot from the former Dickson County High product.
“He knows what it takes. Most importantly, that helps me,” McDonald said. “I use that to my advantage to when I ask him some questions on what to do in certain situations to be a better basketball player.”
With two years of high school basketball out of the way, McDonald has garner interest from schools in both basketball and football. As of now, Tulane is interested in him joining its football program. He has also had talks with Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. In basketball, McDonald has went on visits to Middle Tennessee and Tennessee State, stating that he enjoyed his time with the coaching staff at TSU.
McDonald, a native of Detroit, Michigan, has thought about schools such as Michigan, UCLA and Kentucky, because of the programs rich history in basketball.