NORTH AUGUSTA — In December, it was unclear if Deondre Basket would be able to return to the football field, much less for the team’s first practice.
That’s because the versatile Predator tore his ACL in December. Baskett, a three-sport star who also plays basketball and baseball, suffered the injury five games into the basketball season.
Following in the footsteps of NFL players Adrian Peterson, and most recently Robert Griffin III, Baskett never stopped working toward getting back to this point.
“I watched a lot of videos of them while I was doing my workouts,” Baskett said about working his way back.
The results speak for themselves. On Friday under the hot sun – Fox Creek started its practice at 5:30 p.m. – Baskett was rolling out and running in drills with no hesitation.
“It’s like it was better than it was before,” head coach Russ Schneider said. “The doctors did say once he went through that surgery and once it’s repaired and rehabbed right it will come back just right.”
Schneider said that there was no loss in speed for Baskett, and he may even be quicker than he was before. That’s quite the statement, considering that in addition to playing quarterback, Baskett was one of the team’s top wide receivers last season.
Baskett split time at quarterback for most of last year with Trey Mock. This year he will be the unquestioned starter and only have one position.
“It’s easier on your legs, but I still have to do a lot of running,” Baskett said. “This year I want to be more like a quarterback instead of a running quarterback. I hope to throw a lot more.”
Even though that is Baskett’s hope, the threat of his speed will keep defenses honest.
“It’s kind of like going back to what we had with Marty (Williams),” Schneider said of his former star who was an All-Aiken Standard selection. “He’s not just a pass threat, he’s a pass threat and he’s a run threat. That kind of gets us back to what we’re comfortable with running and calling in our offense.”
Baskett’s prepared to step up into a leadership role this season as well.
“I have to be a leader this year, I wasn’t one last year and I have to step it up,” he said. “I’m the quarterback and a senior so I have to show the younger guys what to do.”
The senior has received offers to play at the next level from Limestone, Liberty and Holy Cross. Baskett said other schools have also shown interest, but have yet to extend offers.
He said that he will play baseball, though his return to basketball is currently up in the air. At this time, his main focus is to lead the Fox Creek football team back to the playoffs after failing to qualify for the postseason in 2012.
“I really want to make it to the playoffs, at least, if anything,” Baskett said. “There’s more talent and more teams out there.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He’s a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.