By: Lorenzo Moore
At the opening tip, he is motivated to gain control of the ball.
With the support of his teammates, family and friends, nothing can stop this vicious ball playing machine.
All around him, the players are competitive, the situation is intense.
Except, this player only has one arm to compete with.
Meet Decquinn Jamal Dean Jr, a full-hearted basketball playing senior at Brazosport High School, with only half of the resources needed to play such an advanced sport.
Decquinn, also known as D.J., was born with without the bottom half of his left arm.
Since D.J. was around the age of seven, he began developing a liking for basketball. He would always watch others playing down at the Lake Jackson Recreation Center and one day he joined in.
In the beginning, it was very difficult for D.J. to play and have fun with the fear of people noticing his differences. But with people like his close friend Genesis Green and his father Deqiunn Dean Sr. motivating and encouraging him to play, it’s impossible for him not to give in.
When D.J. was in the 10th grade, Ondra Waddy, a high school basketball coach and close family relative expected D.J. to play for the Exporters at Brazosport HS. His first game was on the JV level when the team was short of players. This was a major development that led to D.J. playing on the varsity level.
Although D.J. depends on others for motivation and encouragement, he is the main source for just those resources.
“Not only do his teammates look to him for motivation,” Coach Waddy said. “But the other coaches and I use him as a source of encouragement.”
Although D.J. has his disability, it in no way stops him from being a top contender on the court, even in one game scoring 29 points with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. That’s more points than players with both limbs had in that same game.
“I try and I never give up. Whenever I have an obstacle I trust in God and I believe in myself to get through it,” the high school senior said.
D.J. said he tries his very best to excel over every barrier put his way. He was recently diagnosed with a heart condition that would have ruined his basketball career. But he didn’t let that stop him. Nothing can, he says.
He was fixed up with a defibrillator and pacemaker in his body. Now he has even more obstacles, but he continues to thrive and break to new heights.
“He adjusts based on where he is effective and what he can do,” Waddy said. “He’s one of our sharper shooters and he’s really good with handling the ball. His synchronization with the team allows us to compete with top competitors across the league.”
D.J. wants to become a cardiologist one day.
“No matter what your life goal is, whatever you want to do in life, you can do it. You just have to give it your all and believe in yourself even when others may not,” D.J. said. “Surround yourself with positive people that will support you, and trust in God and let him handle it because he will make a way.”
D.J. goes far and beyond to show people that he is just as capable of doing things that people with both limbs can do.
His story is a great piece of motivation for anyone, including people with disabilities.
“Take a look at D.J. Dean. Know his story, his character, ethics, determination and his will to succeed. That is how you get through things,” Coach Waddy advised. “Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from achieving your aspirations.”
What can you do to motivate people or get through your life goals?