Adam DeKoning devours scouting reports. Andover’s senior forward remembers the most minute details — such as whom to foul in the final seconds of a close basketball game.
“He remembers the minor details of a play, where everyone needs to be,” Andover coach Chad Wilmott said. “You tell him something one time, and most of the time, that’s the only time you have to tell him.”
At 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, DeKoning has established himself as one of the best high school big men in the Wichita area.
He has scored 22 or more points six times, more than 30 points twice and is averaging 21.5. Andover (4-6) has lost five games by a combined 13 points, losing the sixth in overtime.
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DeKoning’s attention to minutiae isn’t relegated to sports. He’s always had an awareness about himself, but it intensified when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in seventh grade.
Once DeKoning and his parents got past any initial fears of early death or debilitation, they focused on managing it.
“We learned by helping him,” said Adam dad’s, Rod. “One of the things we learned is that you can actually manage it with medications, the insulin, the pumps. It’s definitely a challenge, but in the last few years, he’s really learned to do a lot of management by himself.
“ It’s something that not many in their early teens have to deal with. Once he figured it out, he accepted the challenge.”
The challenge for Adam DeKoning encompasses constant monitoring and preparation if something were to go wrong. He’s aware of what is going on inside his body, and knows if he’s shaky, his blood sugar is low and he needs to check it.
He’s learned to count the carbohydrates he consumes and has focused on eating healthy — and always has insulin nearby.
Two years ago, he got a pump that gives him a constant stream of insulin, which is what a normal pancreas is intended to do. He disconnects the pump during games.
“I would say (having diabetes) helped develop a sense of responsability,” DeKoning said. “I’m responsible for myself and I’m responsbile for anticipating my needs as they’re going to come up. It’s just making sure I have enough insulin to get through the school day. It’s not difficult at all, but you have to pay attention to it.”
DeKoning’s choice to rise to the challenge of managing his diabetes wasn’t a total departure from his personality.
“He’s someone who will take a challenge,” Rod DeKoning said. “He’ll work pretty hard when he has a goal, an objective to conquer. It’s something he naturally does.
“He kind of treated this like he treats a lot of things. He sees an opportunity, whether he’s working, on the basketball court or in academics.”
DeKoning, who works at Crestview Country Club, scored a 33 on the ACT and is ranked No. 1 in Andover’s 171-student senior class.
His parents have always insisted academics come first, and he has embraced that thinking. He plans to study chemical engineering at Oklahoma State.
So his playing career ends in two months?
“I don’t have a terribly high amount of (basketball) exposure,” DeKoning said. “So not a lot of (basketball) programs with a strong engineering program have been too interested in me. If the right offer comes along, I’m willing to play in college.”
The lack of interest in DeKoning as a player confuses Wilmott.
DeKoning is a force in the lane and has been a consistent bright spot for the Trojans.
“He wants the ball in his hands. If the game’s on the line, he comes to me if there’s a timeout, ‘Give me the ball.’ You can’t coach that,” Wilmott said. “And the fact that he’s a threat inside and out. The work ethic, he brings it.”
The losing is disappointing, but DeKoning’s focus hasn’t shifted. He wants to lead Andover back to the Class 5A tournament.
To him, it’s all good whether he scores 35 points, as he did in a two-point loss at Maize, or 14, as he did in a 26-point win over Valley Center.
“The team does rely on me, but it doesn’t rely on me more than on anyone else on the team,” DeKoning said. “(People) look at box scores, and they see one person scoring and another isn’t. It’s important to understand that I’m not playing for me. I’m not playing for the numbers.”