Davion Gude and his Manual Arts teammates attend study hall everyday, which has helped the senior guard achieve a 3.5 grade point average. Photo by Jason Lewis
Manual Arts Head Coach Dwayne Polee and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Julio C. Quintanilla present Davion Gude with the Student Athlete of the Week award. For more information about the army, visit www.goarmy.com or contact them at 310-426-9875
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Manual Arts basketball player Davion Gude has a plan, and he has a back up plan too. The senior guard has been preparing himself for college since his freshman year in high school, and he wants to do that at Arizona St., which fits into his athletic and academic plans.
Athletically, Gude chose basketball over football when he attended a Lakers basketball camp at the age of nine years old. Shortly after he started playing at Jim Gilliam Recreation Center, and he has been working on his skills as a guard ever since.
At Manual Arts, where he plays for head coach Dwayne Polee Sr., a legend at the school, Gude has excelled as a shooting guard, even though he prefers the point guard position.
“I think that I fit in more at the one position (point guard), because I am a smaller guard, but if that’s where Coach Polee puts me, then I’ll play the two guard (shooting guard),” Gude said.
Gude is certainly an unselfish player, evident from his willingness to play another position to make the team better, and by what he believes is his best attribute.
“First off it’s leadership,” Gude said. “Talking to your teammates, upholding them so they won’t fall or break.”
Last season Manual Arts turned some heads when they won their first playoff game since 2005.
“A lot of people didn’t think that we could do it,” Gude said. “But coach Polee gave us the attitude that we needed to prove everybody wrong.”
Gude averaged 12.2 points and four assists per game last season, and he has worked hard to improve on those numbers for this up coming season. He and his teammates have been practicing everyday since the end of last season, running on the track and bleachers, running at the beach, lifting weights, and shooting hoops all the time.
The training will help Gude improve on his quickness, which he uses on both sides of the court.
“I’m a good driver,” Gude said. “As far as somebody sticking me on defense, I have a good first step to get to the basket, and I have a nice pull up. I can elevate over taller defenders.”
Gude’s quickness makes it difficult for defenders to stop him. He can either take them to the basket, or pull up for the jumper. When he hits his shot he acts like he’s done it before.
“It’s like, I’m not glad that I made the shot, because I’m supposed to make the shot,” Gude said. “After I lay the ball up I go back and get on defense.”
Gude has played travel ball for the West LA Bulls, but this past year he put all of his focus into his team at Manual Arts.
“We have to run the floor because we’re not a big team,” Gude said. “When we get on that floor and play defense and run back and forth, we got to go hard and get it.”
Gude favors Arizona St. as his college of choice because he feels that their style of play fits him well. He likes the 2-3 zone that they run because it is a pressure defense that can utilize his quickness.
Arizona St. has sent Gude letters, and he hopes to make a recruiting trip out there. His 3.5 grade point average makes him more appealing than many other players.
Gude likes to follow politics, as AP Government is his favorite class.
“It teaches a lot about how we live, and the economy and politics,” Gude said. “As a kid, you can see what we’re going through now as far as the money and things like that.”
Gude will be 18 next month, so he will be able to vote in the next election. He is not taking this new privilege lightly, as he is preparing himself to use his vote wisely, which does not automatically mean that he will be voting for President Barack Obama.
“I think Obama is a good President, but I think that some people probably picked him because he would be the first African American President,” Gude said. “I’m not saying that there is something wrong with that, but you have to pick somebody who is going to do something for you. And I think that he has, but it is like he’s trying to rush stuff at the end. I think that stuff that he’s trying to do now, he should have done at the beginning.”
Gude has checked out who is coming out on the Republican side, and now he is looking into who is coming out on the Democrat side. So far, he believes that Obama will have some competition.
It would appear that Gude would be a political science major when he gets to college, but he wants to be a marketing major. Whichever path he chooses, he understands the value of an education.
“Since the ninth grade I’ve been saying that I want to go to college,” Gude said. “I don’t want to be like everybody else. I try to put myself into that mindset that I can do it. It’s a lot of work, but that’s what it’s going to take. You have to want to do it.”
Coach Polee makes sure that his players are hitting the books, as he has them in study hall everyday, which is where Gude does a lot of his work. If he does not finish up there, then he goes home and does the rest.
“Working hard shows a lot of character,” Gude said. “If a teacher sees that you’re working hard, they’ll try to help you. I think that academics are a big key. Without education it’s not a lot you can do. So I feel that if I get an education, and if I do play basketball, I can have a back up plan. A lot of players only play college ball for two years, but I want to play all four years and graduate so I can have something to fall back on.”
Coach Polee told Gude that it is a great honor to be in the Sentinel, especially for academics as well as athletics. He took his coaches words to heart, and he knows that he has to live up to this great honor.
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