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Daequon Antoine's Journey to the Firebirds

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Daequon Antoine is a 6’3” guard for the Raleigh Firebirds, and one of the best players on the roster. He grew up with his three sisters in Boston, Massachusetts. Daequon later moved to South Carolina, where he attended Fort Mill High School. During his high school days, Daequon played for an AAU team called the Prime Time Players (PTP).

In high school, Daequon already knew that he wanted to play basketball for a living. So, when his high school career was over, Daequon accepted a scholarship to play for Nichols College, back in Boston, where he was born. His junior and senior years in college were by far his best, as in his junior year (2016-17), Daequon started in 27 games. On November 19th, 2016, he would score 24 points against Lasell University, his best scoring output of the season.

Credit to the Nichols Athletic Website for Picture

In his senior year of college, Daequon started in all 29 games that the Bisons played. He averaged 14.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 47.3% from the field, 40.7% from three, and 78.4% from the charity stripe. During that 2017-18 campaign, Daequon was named to the All-CCC Third Team, and on December 4th, 2017, he was named the CCC Player of the Week. He was also a member of the Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) Honor Roll.

Daequon would make 81 three-pointers during 2017-18, and had seven games with 20 or more points. One of his best ever moments on a basketball court would come that year, as he made a buzzer-beating shot to win the game from the opposing free throw line!

Post-college, Daequon needed to find a way to further his basketball career, and luckily, he found one. Delaney Rudd, a former Wake Forest basketball player who had a four year career in the NBA, was a friend of Daequon's, and helped him look for opportunities. Rudd knew a man by the name of Mark Connor, who is both a silent partner for the Raleigh Firebirds and a certified NBA Agent. Connor began to work with Daequon, trying to find opportunities for him to play.

"The first route we started to explore was overseas," said Connor. "But this was the year of COVID, so a lot of stuff shut down. The overseas league's were only letting a certain amount of players come over."

In theory, the G-League could have been an option, but only 19 of 32 G-League teams were in the G-League bubble, and jobs were limited. Plus, with veterans trying to rehab their careers and stars trying to get back into playing shape after injuries, the G-League has been filled with a lot more talent as of late.

"I told him, you might want to come down to Raleigh and try out for the Firebirds," said Connor. "I told Wade {Harris, team owner} about him, and he started coming early into the preseason workouts. They liked his work ethic, and what they saw in him, and here he is now."

Daequon has been an integral part of the Firebirds, as this season, he's averaging 21.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals on 52.5% shooting from the field. The talent and scoring ability is there, which is why if a G-League team needs another player, Connor is on record saying, "I think he could. I think Daequon has the capability of definitely playing in the G-League."

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