Daeqwon Plowden (above) has been a key player for Bowling Green for four years, turning into an all-conference talent. (Photo courtesy Isaiah Vazquez/Bowling Green Athletics)
Kevin Callahan (@CP_Kcallahan)
Daeqwon Plowden plays in the MACtion, the Mid-American Conference with its catchy slogan. His nickname also could be MACtion.
You see, the former Mastery Charter North standout is now a senior wingman at Bowling Green where he has been the MACtion - Middle of the Action.
“Dae can guard all five positions, and on offense you can slide him into multiple spots as well,” Bowling Green coach Michael Huger said this week. “His ability to score on all three levels makes him a Swiss Army knife.
“Beyond scoring, he has some of the best reactionary instincts of any player I’ve coached. When the ball is in the air, he will come out of nowhere and block a shot or snatch a rebound. To be 6-foot-6 and get 15-plus rebounds multiple times in a Division I game is incredible.”
Plowden, the all-time leading scorer at Mastery North, is genuinely modest about his contributions to the Falcons, who are coming off consecutive 20-win season and a 4-1 start this year, which helps explains why he continues to be … in the middle of the action.
“I try to do anything to impact the game, to help my teammates out, whether it is crashing the offensive boards or bringing energy, whatever my teammates need,” said Plowden, a three-year starter for the Falcons.
Plowden, a two-time All-State selection who was named the Public League Liberty Division’s MVP as a junior and senior, opened this season with 15 points and seven rebounds against Big Ten power Michigan. He followed by plowing South Carolina State with a double-double of 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to even the Falcons’ record with a win.
“I can’t really say expected it, I just try to play every possession as smart as I can and as hard as I can and do whatever the team needs,” Plowden said about his explosive start.
“From being here all four years and building up to games like that, we do take pride playing those teams, but really in playing everybody,” he added about playing so well against Michigan, “but to see how much progress we made and where we came, I feel like we’ve taken pieces from each of games and applied them.”
He collected 10 points and eight rebounds in Bowling Green’s 86-78 win over Buffalo on Sunday that lifted the Falcons record to 1-0 in the MAC.
Overall, he’s averaging 12 points and 9.2 rebounds in 29.2 minutes a game for Huger, a former star player himself at Bowling Green, who has led his alma mater to its second straight season with at least 20 wins for the first time since 1947-48 and 1948-49.
“Day in and day out he has been one of our hardest-working, hardest-playing and most coachable players,” Huger said about his first commit in the 2017 class. “The level of effort and focus he has dedicated to perfecting his craft has made him a beast on the court.”
Plowden’s admirable work ethic showed results on the stat sheet with tangible numeric improvement each season. He averaged 4.8 points and 2.9 rebounds as a freshman when he played in all 32 games and made one start. Then, as a soph, he averaged 6.9 points and 4.8 boards and 12.7 points and 8.5 rebounds as a junior. He also shot a career-best 47.6 percent from the field last year, which included a career-high 26 points at Miami (Ohio).
Huger called him “an incredibly special person.”
“As much fun as it has been watching him develop on the court, it’s off the court that makes him so special,” Huger said. “With Dae, we have never had a single problem, or heard a single excuse. He holds himself to such a high standard of excellence, and his teammates follow his lead.
“His growth as a leader is one major reason our program has flourished the past few years. Dae is as humble as they come and always the first person to give his teammates credit.”
Plowden (above) averaged 12.7 ppg and 8.5 rpg as a junior at Bowling Green, and is off to an even stronger start to his senior year. (Photo courtesy Isaiah Vazquez/Bowling Green Athletics)
Plowden, who is set to graduate in the spring, is majoring in human development with a minor in sociology. He plans to be a family therapist, but one has to think there’s some professional basketball in the mix as well.
“It was probably dreams at first, but as I’ve seen what I can do and how much I’ve grown, it has become expectation to get things done on and off the court, more so off the court to get things done,” Plowden said. “So it has become more expectation than dream.”
During the coronavirus shutdown, Plowden relied on his special traits to keep improving. Others have noticed Plowden, too, as he was named a second-team preseason all-MAC pick. The Falcons were tabbed to win the league.
“We just take everything a day at a time and do what we can, to get up shots in limited time or just being able to practice,” Plowden said, “it is an adjustment, but I do just take it a day at a time.”
“It really does motivate me, but just being able to be in the court is enough motivation to fuel me,” Plowden continued about last season dream of winning the conference tourney was cut short. “We didn’t have a chance to play in the conference tournament and we were right there just hours away from playing, so this year especially since last year we saw how fast it can be taken away.”
Plowden’s middle of the action game compliments the scoring of fifth-year senior Justin Turner, who Is coming off a 33-point game against Buffalo.
“He is a really smart player and determined to do whatever the team needs, really unselfish, great leader, amazing player,” Plowden said.
The Falcons’ next game is Sunday against Wright State at the Stroh Center where 200 to 300 fans are allowed to attend.
Plowden isn’t looking past Sunday so you know he isn’t hurrying toward next year.
“I’m just focusing on every day with teammates now and being the best teammate I can be before reaching that point,” he said.
Which means staying in the middle of the action.
“Guys like Daeqwon Plowden are hard to find,” Huger said. “He’s the ultimate competitor, person, teammate and his best years are still ahead of him.”