Home away from home: Basketball star ‘sets culture’ on and off court


Isaiah Vazquez

Daeqwon Plowden goes to put up a shot the BGSU Men’s Basketball’s game against South Carolina State on Saturday Nov. 28. 

Drew Terhall and Drew Terhall

It seemed like a no-brainer to men’s basketball player Daeqwon Plowden to stay at BGSU for his fifth year.

The NCAA gave student-athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic. 

After the conclusion of last season, the Philadelphia native decided to use the extra year to stay home.

“This is home. This is where I started my collegiate career, where I grew. They took me in and made me a better person and player,” Plowden said.

Head coach Michael Huger said it was one of the easiest recruiting jobs he has ever had.

“(Plowden) came in at the end of the season and said, ‘I’m coming back’. That was it. We didn’t have to throw any pitches at him, no nothing,” Huger said.

Huger first started recruiting Plowden on his AAU team, K-Low Elite. He said Plowden’s athleticism caught his eye, despite Plowden being very skinny.

Once Huger met Plowden’s family and watched him play more, he was sold.

Plowden said he was interested in BGSU because the coaches were the only ones to watch him warm up before a game. That level of commitment from the coaches caught Plowden’s eye.

He felt the level of dedication BGSU had towards him. Plowden said that was the difference in his choice of where to play college basketball. 

After he committed to BGSU and came to campus, Plowden felt at home.

“I feel like a lot of people support me here. I have a lot of people looking out for me out here. It was a home away from home,” Plowden said.

Plowden was one of Huger’s first recruits. He came to campus in 2017 and Huger was named head coach in 2015.

Huger said Plowden is a culture setter for the program. He grouped Plowden with previous players like Justin Turner, Dylan Frye, Demajeo Wiggins and Antwon Lillard. Huger said they all had a role in creating the current culture for the program.

One of Plowden’s traits that helped build the culture is his work ethic.

“He’s a hard worker, a tireless worker. He’s always bringing other guys in the gym with him, wanting them to work on their game as well,” Huger said.

Teammate Trey Diggs said Plowden brings the brotherhood to the locker room. No matter the circumstances, Plowden is always there for his teammates.

It’s in Plowden’s personality to be the one to pick up teammates if they are feeling down or are mentally out of a game.

When Diggs was visiting BGSU after transferring out of Northwest Florida State, his visit was hosted by Plowden.

Diggs said the first thing he noticed about Plowden was how easy it was to talk to him. As he got to know him better, Diggs said Plowden is a genuine person and someone you want to always be around.

“He embodies everything you want in a best friend, a teammate, a role model really. We’re the same age and I look up to him in a lot of ways,” Diggs said.

It took time for Plowden to become the person that he is today.

Huger said he was a quiet kid his freshman year. Plowden had some bad habits and wasn’t the best person he could be.

Plowden said he took baby steps in correcting his bad habits. He also said assistant coach Kevin Noon helped him in breaking the bad habits.

It was a tough journey for Plowden.

“Any kind of change is going to be difficult at first. For me, it was a completely different ballgame,” Plowden said.

Plowden has never run away from the hard work that comes with improving. It’s one of his favorite parts about basketball.

He said his dad introduced him to basketball when he was young. As a kid, he didn’t listen to his dad and take basketball seriously.

He played other sports until about eighth grade. Plowden said at around that time, he started to gain interest in basketball.

It was then he started to talk to his dad about the small details of the game. He wanted to get better and enjoyed doing it.

“I fell in love with the process of getting better, of competing and going out to see all different types of competition and players,” Plowden said.

Huger saw this side of Plowden early on in his collegiate career.

“He stayed. He worked on his game and his body. He transformed from a 175-pound kid to about 210 pounds, all muscle,” Huger said.

Plowden said he had to become a better person to become a better player.

While at BGSU, he found a different passion away from the court.

When he first got here, the team had opportunities to go to local elementary schools and interact with the kids.

The time he spent at the schools left him wanting to do something similar in the future.

“I did my internship working with kids. I picked up a big interest in working with kids and tried to find ways to help the community,” Plowden said.

As a Human Development & Family Studies major, he did an internship through Community Learnings Centers. He worked during after school programs at Crim Elementary. 

Plowden said he was able to spend time with the kids and help them out in any way he could as a program assistant.

He also said people have told him they could see him working as a teacher. Plowden wants to be a counselor or “someone kids can talk to.”

Plowden said he sees himself making more of an impact in a school setting that’s not teaching related.

“I appreciated when I had somebody pull me to the side and talk to me one-on-one. It would only be right if I’m doing it for the kids,” Plowden said.

Even during the pandemic, Plowden was still able to visit schools and interact with the kids. He said he had to follow the proper guidelines to stay safe.

Having the ability to continue the visits was therapeutic for Plowden.

“I was grateful to do it at that time, especially because there was a lot of craziness going on with COVID,” he said.

Plowden will look to end his BGSU career on a high note. The Falcons are fighting for a spot in the MAC tournament.

If they can win the tournament, they will have a spot in the NCAA tournament.

That is the goal and main reason behind returning for Diggs. When he heard Plowden was coming back, Diggs wanted to return too.

“We want to win a championship and what better way than to do it with somebody that you’ve played with two years prior,” Diggs said.

Huger said he will remember Plowden as one of his all-time favorite players to coach.

For Plowden, he will remember BGSU as the place that changed him.

“I felt like I did everything right. I took the necessary steps to growing as a person more than a player. You can’t take away from that.”