A senior on the Minot High boys basketball team is dominating on the court. He’s averaging 23 points per game and leads the team in steals and assists. But his teammates and coaches say he’s leading the team in other ways.
“I kind of fell in love with it at a young age. Both my parents played basketball, so since the time, I was a kid I’ve been playing,” Deonte Martinez.
It’s no secret Martinez is a good ball handler. This is his third year on the Minot High varsity team.
“He’s an all-around basketball player,” said Dean Winczewski, head coach.
Deonte comes from a military family and has lived all over the U.S. and even Japan.
He says basketball has been the common denominator in building relationships — no matter where he’s lived.
“When I moved here, I think people accepted me right away. I went to team camp my first year moving here and that’s kind of where I made all my friends really was in basketball,” Martinez said.
On the court, Deonte works hard to not only make himself better but the team, too.
“A lot of kids when they get to be seniors are worried about their stat lines. He’s worried about what the score is on the scoreboard. There’s times when he needs to be that guy and take games over. And then there’s times he needs to make sure that he gets the people that are scoring baskets,” said Winczewski.
“I think just being a point guard and him teaching me and telling me throughout the three years and just after three years having been as a coach, you kind of like pick up things and like know when people are supposed to be and where they’re supposed to be. You just kind of lead by example. Do what you’re supposed to do and tell them if they need help,” Martinez said.
And his leadership skills are something his teammates and coaches appreciate
“Whenever he’s out on the court, I don’t have to worry about what we’re running, what we’re going through. If I need to know something, always ask him, he runs everything. He knows what we’re doing and if I ever have a question, it’s right to him,” said Michael Ross.
“On the court, he’s a really good leader. He helped me these past few years especially as a freshman coming up from 8th grade. Coming up to varsity as a freshman, he really helped me a lot, calmed me down. It helps a lot with him coming to me personally, like, one-on-one and stuff,” said Darik Dissette.
“It’s never like, ‘I’m bigger than you, you gotta listen to me.’ It’s, ‘We’re together and we gotta work together,'” Ross said.
“The leadership part is knowing that at times he’s not going to be the only guy that goes out and scores. It’s getting other people involved,” said Winczewski.
Despite his impressive stats, Deonte says he doesn’t have any post-grad plans.
He says he’s undecided about if he wants to play basketball in college.
“I’m not even 100 percent sure. I’m considering playing basketball in college. Might just go for school,” Martinez said.
No matter what he decides, it’s hard to deny Deonte has found success on the court.
“The energy he brings — there’s a real difference when he’s on the court and when he’s not off the court. It’s way better when he is,” Ross said.
The team’s next game is Jan. 21 against Williston High School.