Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 by Robert Morgan
Getting the ball off the rebound, number 11 sweeps in and sprints down the court. The other end of the court is wide open and the Viking players do their best to protect him as he preps to make an Empire State Building sized jump. Senior Quaylon Newton gets up to the basket and makes a slam dunk with a force that could break the glass of the backboard. All the while the crowd is going wild as the Vikings take the lead in the last few seconds, and win the game.
“It is always good to have a veteran player on the team,” head basketball coach Christopher Jones said. “Being our most experienced player, Quaylon is playing his fourth season on varsity and has a good understanding of what is expected of him personally and on the team. He has had individual successes and is now experiencing well deserved team success.”
At 6’ 3”, Quaylon has been playing basketball since he was in 7th grade. Growing from a middle school player to a varsity shooting guard, Quaylon’s passion for basketball has developed from a recreational pastime to a full fledged career.
“Playing basketball started off as a relief for me,” Quaylon said. “[I used it as] a way to get away and get my mind off of certain things.”
Quaylon has dedicated most of his time in high school to playing basketball. In turn, this devotion has helped his relationships with his teammates strengthen and allowed them to work more cohesively.
“Everything is really good on our team,” Quaylon said. “They count on me and I count on them. It’s a great relationship.”
As one of the few seniors on varsity, Quaylon has helped carry the team into playoffs. With the success the team had this year – going 13-1 in district – Quaylon’s teammates have seen the benefits of having a strong vanguard for their team.
“He’s a good leader and we all look up to him because he’s the best player on the team,” senior basketball player KeeKee Johnson said. “If you need help, he’ll help you out. If you need to understand something, he can help explain it to you.”
Instead of participating in off-season conditioning this past fall, Quaylon played for the varsity football team. Although football and basketball are different sports, Quaylon saw consistency within both sports and this helped him strengthen his skills as a team player.
“There wasn’t a huge difference between playing football and playing basketball,” Quaylon said. “Some of the same guys I play basketball with were on the football team. That was my main point in going out and playing football – playing with them and being with my brothers.”
Quaylon’s talents have allowed him to set up his future. With the potential of a basketball career and several offers from colleges already on the table, Quaylon will be able to pursue his passion while building community with others around him.
“I’m letting basketball take me as far as it can,” Quaylon said. “Getting into college for free, maintaining my skills, and going through life while playing basketball is what I plan to do.”
With the success that the basketball team has achieved this year, Quaylon has been able to help those around him grow. His impact on the team has reaped positive effects thus far and those who have worked with players at the same skill level as Quaylon foresee an even greater impact he will have on the team.
“The impact of a player of Quaylons’ caliber is only felt after he is gone and you try to replace him with one player,” Jones said. “His physical presence along with his versatility and ability to make plays on both ends of the floor makes him invaluable and someone every coach wants on their roster.”