Trojan guard excited to return home, face Mississippi St.

Published 6:32 pm Thursday, December 8, 2011

While Deonata Jethroe will not be on the court, he is still excited about Troy’s matchup with No. 17 Mississippi State on Saturday.

The sophomore at Troy and is scheduled to be redshirted this season.

Jethroe is a Columbus, Miss native and grew up making the 25 mile drive to Starkville to watch the Bulldogs football team.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I was a big Bulldog fan growing up,” Jethroe said. “It will be good to go back and watch us play a team I grew up watching.”

The 6-4, 220 pound guard tore his ACL in his senior year at Hazel Green High School casting uncertainty on his collegiate future.

“I knew I was going to play college ball,” he said. “I just didn’t know how I was going to get there.”

One of Jethroe’s high school teammates was slated to visit Alabama Southern Community College for a tryout and asked Jethroe to join him.

“They asked me to try out too,” said Jethroe. “I had really good day. I was the best one in the gym that day.”

Alabama Southern offered him a scholarship and immediately made an impact.

After missing time early in the season rehabbing his knee, Jethroe averaged 12 points in the month of January and scored a career high 21 against Southern Union, including going 5-for-7 from 3-point range.

Alabama Southern would post a 23-9 record that season and a berth in the semifinals of the Alabama Community College Conference Tournament before Troy came calling. Jethroe is currently a Sports and Fitness Management major.

Aside from the familiar faces in the stands, Jethroe will see a recognizable face on the opposing bench. Jethroe and Mississippi State guard Deville Smith played AAU basketball together during the offseasons. Playing on the same squad was Sacramento Kings and former Kentucky Wildcats star DeMarcus Cousins. The high quality of competition is something Jethroe says has made him a better overall player.

“I had never played with that caliber of player before,” he said. “I could tell I was a step behind. Since then I have stayed in the gym and worked hard to improve.”

While Jethroe will miss this year’s matchup with the Bulldogs, he is looking forward to a good game against a quality opponent.

“I think we have a good shot at beating them,” he said. “I would be good to go back home and see us beat them.”