Three-star SF Deontay Long to be preferred walk-on at Grambling State

Photo: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Deontay Long’s next move will be to Louisana.

The Milwaukee Washington (Wisconsin) basketball standout will attend college at Grambling State University and will eventually join the men’s basketball program that is coached by Milwaukee Hamilton graduate Donte Jackson, Washington coach Freddie Riley said Thursday.

Long will be a preferred walk-on this upcoming season but won’t play. Riley said he would be on scholarship in 2020-21.

“I’m so proud of the kid,” Riley said. “Everybody wrote the kid off. …  I’m just glad he kept his focus and finished. It will give him a chance to have a fresh start.”

The commitment is the latest good news for a player who has rebounded from the legal troubles that landed him a six-month jail term last year. Despite the time away, he graduated with his class last month and, according to Riley, continues to make strides personally.

At Grambling, Long will play for a staff that knows his situation and the Milwaukee area well. Coach Donte Jackson is a Milwaukee Hamilton graduate, and assistant coach Demetrius Moore graduated from Washington.

Grambling has a handful of Wisconsin natives on its roster. Dallas Polk-Hilliard (Messmer) and Devante Jackson (Brown Deer) will be seniors next season, as will Travon Bunch, a Racine native who attended school in North Carolina.

Long has the potential to be an impact player for the Tigers, who have been resurgent program during Jackson’s two seasons.

The 6-foot-5 guard/forward plays with a great understanding of the game. He led Washington in scoring (20.5 ppg) and assists (4.6) and ranked second in rebounding (10.3) last season.

Few players accomplished more in a high school career. He was part of three City Conference championship teams, made three state tournament appearances and was selected all-state three times.  The Purgolders were the Division 2 state runner-up the past two seasons.

Riley said he sees a number of positives in Long sitting out this upcoming season.

“For Deontay to redshirt, get ahead academically and get acclimated to college life, I think that in the long run will benefit him more than anything…,” Riley said. “It will allow him to grow and feel he can be successful in college.”

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