Plowden’s progress: BGSU senior grew into star basketball player

Bowling Green 6-foot-6, 215-pound fifth-year senior Daeqwon Plowden tallied 19 points during his final game as a Falcon, bringing his career total to 1,618 to become the eighth player in program history to eclipse 1,600 career points.

There were at least four NBA scouts in attendance at that final game, which was a 96-56 loss to Mid-American Conference champion Toledo in front of 6,712 fans at Savage Arena.

Some were primarily there to see Toledo 6-4 sophomore guard Ryan Rollins, but Plowden probably caught their attention.

Despite the blowout, Plowden stood out with his 19 points, three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.

In Plowden’s senior year he averaged 15.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, shot 41% from the floor, 36% from beyond the arc, and made 79% of his free throws.

Plowden said he doesn’t know if he’ll get a chance to play at the next level, coach somewhere, or be involved in the game in some kind of format.

No matter what, he said he deeply appreciates his five years in Bowling Green, on and off the court.

“If anything, I’d say I’ve grown more as a person. There is probably more basketball in my future,” Plowden said.

Growth as a person — that is exactly what a coach envisions.

“He’s a better person, you can see that. He’s definitely a better person than basketball player, so that tells you what kind of person he is,” head coach Michael Huger said. “The kid has a heart of gold.”

Majoring in pre-exercise science and the recipient of the Larry L. Miles Memorial Scholarship through the Champions Circle gift of Mark and Michelle Remeis, Huger is confident in Plowden’s future.

“Especially for us, we are going to miss him, but he’s onto bigger things now — his professional career and we wish him all the best and what he’s done for Bowling Green basketball and helping to put us on the map,” Huger said.

Skinny lad arrives in BG

Plowden is a 2017 graduate of Mastery Charter High School in Philadelphia, where he ranked in the top 100 for his position for that class, according to ESPN.com

ESPN.com had him ranked as the 20th best player in Pennsylvania, and he became a two-time all-state selection and the first player ever to score over 1,000 points at Mastery Charter North.

He averaged 15.7 points as a junior and 16 points as a senior, leading MC North to a 24-7 record and trip to the Pennsylvania Class 2A state championship game in 2015-16, where he registered 24 points and 11 rebounds.

When he visited in BG as a skinny 195-pound lad, he loved it so much, it became a second home.

It took a few years and 20 more pounds for Plowden to become “the player we saw this season, putting BG on the map,” as Huger said.

“He was a big part of that and stayed true to it. He stayed every summer, two summer sessions, and never went home back to Philly,” Huger said.

“He worked on his game, got bigger and stronger. Each year he has improved his game, improved his scoring and everything that he did for BG basketball.

“He’s in the record book in a lot of categories and he will be there for a long, long time,” Huger added.

Plowden said he can look back and know that BGSU was the right decision, even though the team finished 13-19 his senior season.

“It’s nothing but good things. I can’t complain about the career that I’ve had and the teams that we’ve had and the friendships that I have made. No complaints,” Plowden said.

Plowden said he grew on and off the court.

“You get out what you put in, pretty much,” he said of the basketball. “Putting in a lot of work with your team, individually, you see progress that I’ve had, that BG has had, as a whole and it has just come from hard work. That’s my biggest takeaway.”

Off the court, Plowden will miss the relationships and the fun things.

“I feel that all that stuff is priceless. You can’t put a price tag on any of that,” he said. “I feel that is the most important thing right there is the bond with some of the great guys that I’ve played along with.”

A future without Plowden

Now Huger, who just finished his seventh season as head coach at his alma mater, must prepare for next season with a Plowden-less team.

There are bigger issues to deal with than just being without his star player, he said.

“The biggest thing is for us we have to get back to playing Bowling Green basketball and we’ve got to play on both ends,” Huger said.

“I don’t think we defended the way we are capable of defending with the talent that we had assembled. We just didn’t put it together on the defensive end,” Huger continued.

“Sure, we can score. We led the league for most of the year in scoring and finished second after (the Toledo game). Toledo was first, and we were second in scoring,” he said. “So, it’s definitely not the scoring for us, it is the defense that we have to improve on and that is what we will go to work on.”

Of course, the past two years, Huger and Plowden did not get to experience normalcy either, just like every other NCAA basketball team going through the pandemic. Huger said it will be nice to have that back, too.

“It was a difficult season and COVID affected a lot of things in so many ways — the way that you can team bond over the summer and the things that we would normally do to get our guys together and get them on one page, we could not do because of COVID,” Huger said.

“But hopefully we can get back to a little bit of normalcy and be able to feel that team camaraderie that we felt for so many years that got taken away within a short period of time.”