Update (11/25/2015): De’Monte Buckingham has signed to Richmond.
In three years at Henrico High School in Richmond, Virginia, junior shooting guard De’Monte Buckingham has evolved into one of the state’s most dynamic players and top recruits. The six-foot-three-inch Buckingham possesses a rare blend of strength and skill, often leaving onlookers asking themselves if there is anything he cannot do on the basketball court.
This past season, Buckingham averaged 21.5 points, 3.6 assists, and 9.6 rebounds per game (via MaxPreps.com) and helped Henrico to a second state championship in three years. One would think Buckingham’s recruitment would be everything he ever imagined and maybe more, but according to the guard, it has not progressed like he hoped it would.
Before the start of the high school season, Buckingham suffered an injury to his right knee. Buckingham was able to playout the season, which he closed with a 20-point performance in the state title game. Not long after his season ended, Buckingham underwent arthroscopic surgery on his meniscus to clean the tissue. Approximately two months after the surgery, Buckingham has made a steady return to the court. And just like prior to the surgery, Buckingham is once again ready to perform.
Despite his heroic performance in the state playoffs and a quick recovery from the surgery, Buckingham’s recruitment has hit a speedbump. Buckingham is still a highly-touted recruit (as of publication, Buckingham has 13 Division 1 offers) but said some schools have lost interest after his surgery.
“When people found out about the surgery, I felt like colleges started taking off and started doubting me,” he said. “But some colleges stayed with me.”
Among the schools that have continued their pursuit of Buckingham are East Carolina, Richmond, and VCU, with Richmond and VCU the schools most frequently in contact with him.
“[Other schools] knew the type of player I had been and knew I could come back from the surgery so those were the colleges I was really like, ‘Thanks for staying there and believing in me.’”
Hardworking and unselfish, Buckingham says his strengths as a player are his ability to use his strong body to his advantage, get to the basket, and find open teammates.
“I just like to get up the floor and find my teammates before I even try to think about scoring. I always think about finding the open man. I just like getting everyone involved before I always get myself
involved because that’s the right way to play the game.”
Buckingham does not have an official list of likely destinations, but does plan on making his decision towards the end of the summer. Until then, Buckingham plans on improving his game and showing the schools with cooled interest in him that he is the same player as before the surgery.
“Outside of the court they don’t see the things I work on, but everything I do I go at it hard, 100 percent because I want to be better than the next player.”
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