A sport helps two young men see their “net” worth.
Two local basketball players share their story about how the game helped kept them from a life of crime.
Devan Douglas and Rich Hurt are best friends and grew up playing basketball together in the Quad Cities.
Things didn’t always go smoothly for them. both either failed or skipped class in their early high-school days. That kept them off the basketball court. But eventually they found a way to use the game to their advantage.
As teenagers, athletes Devan Douglas and Rich Hurt had some goal tending to do off the court.
While some of their classmates took a different path, these two friends let their love for basketball turn them into winners and heroes to kids in their basketball camp.
But getting there wasn’t a layup.
“There was a part where I had like 100 unexcused absences and stuff like that, so I wasn’t even going to school at one point,” Devan remembers. “But when I saw how people cared for me and the potential I had it was like a snap out of nowhere and I was just like ‘OK, I’m just gonna take this and roll with it.'”
He didn’t always have support at every turn, so it was easy to feel discouraged, but he used criticism to inspire himself. Then he made his transition.
“I came back my senior year with a 3.2 GPA. I went from a 1.9 to a 3.2 to a 3.3,” he said.
He wanted to play basketball professionally and he knew how to achieve it. Throughout it all, Rich was his teammate and Devan was Rich’s, each with a similar story to tell.
“If I were to get in trouble, I wouldn’t be able to play basketball,” Rich said. “And so I knew I had a couple mistakes I could make throughout the week before I got to my point where now you’re not playing basketball.”
Rich always knew the choice he ultimately wanted to make. but there were some tough decisions along the way.
“I just knew basketball could keep me out of trouble,” he said. “I had friends that were going down different paths. So I was like. ‘What’s more important? Am I going to go hang out with my friends and get in trouble every day, risk going to jail? Or am I going to go do something I can make a future of?’” he said.
Rich stumbled his freshman year when he failed a class and wasn’t able to play until his sophomore year.
“I’m sitting on the bench and I hear people behind me saying ‘Man, how do you really wanna play basketball if you’re failing classes? Like you can’t help your team right now so what are you actually doing?’ So I just let that stuff sit in my head and I knew once I got that chance to play it was gonna be nice,” Rich said.