Del-Val's Giddings parlays cameo into a starring role

Posted: March 12, 2014

WHEN YOU'RE in high school, few walks are longer than the one that ends at a varsity/junior varsity cut list.

However, as a sophomore at Delaware Valley Charter last season, DaShon Giddings strolled with a confident bop as he walked to learn his fate with teammates who already had earned varsity nods as freshmen.

At yesterday's practice at the Simons Community Recreation Center, Giddings, now a junior standout for the Warriors, was a little fuzzy on where the list was posted ("maybe on the gym door at the school"), but he certainly remembered seeing his name on the understudy list.

"Yeah, I felt like I was a little embarrassed," he said. "At first, I was a little mad and frustrated, because I thought I worked hard enough in practice to make varsity. So, I asked coach if I could come to practice and if it went well, continue with the varsity, but if not, I'd move back down to JV.

"I knew I was a better player than that and I could run with the varsity players, so I asked coach for a shot and he gave me a shot. I came to practice ready to work, didn't take any easy ways out, and my hard work paid off."

And the dividends keep coming.

After a 14-point, 18-rebound performance last week in the Warriors' 60-45, PIAA, first-round victory against Notre Dame-Green Pond, Giddings has his squad ready for Round 2.

In Class AA play tomorrow, Del-Val (18-7), a District 12 No. 3 seed, will face fourth-seeded Loyalsock from District 4 at 7 p.m. at Cumberland Valley.

But for Giddings, a West Oak Lane resident, it all started with a 120-second opportunity as a sophomore.

Coach Jason Harrigan suited about 14 players that season and said Giddings might have ranked 13th. But after a few players arrived late for the team bus before game No. 1, Harrigan decided to give Giddings a chance.

"I was cautious, because it was the first game and you want to win," Harrigan said. "So I was like, 'We'll only give him 2 minutes and then get him out of there.' And he got about five rebounds and stretched his 2 minutes into 10 minutes."

By the middle of that season, Giddings was a starter.

"It wasn't a scoring thing," Harrigan continued. "He wasn't even looking to score; he just wanted to be out on the court. And on a team that was really kind of selfish, with everyone looking to be a star, he was a young guy that just wanted to give all the energy that he had. That's what his game is based on, and it's hard to take that out of the game."

A long-armed, 6-3 forward with spring to spare and an ever-improving jump shot, Giddings is one of Harrigan's best scorers, alongside senior guard Clayton "CJ" Wolfe.

And he comes from a long line of hoopers. His dad, Devon Giddings Sr. ("my biggest supporter"), played at Thomas Edison. Older brothers Devon Jr. and Hezekiah played at John Bartram and Northeast High, respectively, while younger brother Marcus currently plays JV at Del-Val.

"I try to score when I can, but besides that, I just get down and play 'D,' rebound when I can and just be a team player," Giddings said.

Academically, he made the honor roll last semester, and with his favorite subject mathematics, Giddings is pondering sports management in college. He reports a few Division II looks thus far, though he is still working on the more nuanced aspects of his game.

"Previously," he said, "I would overdribble, and that was a problem, because I probably wasn't able to see an open guy or I turned it over, so I've had to work on that."

With that in mind for all of his players, Harrigan held a half-court scrimmage yesterday that awarded points to the defensive squad when offensive ballhandlers carelessly spent dribbles.

Ah, practice. Without it, Giddings might not have parlayed those 2 sophomore minutes into a high school career that he hopes to spawn into a college opportunity.

"It was long and it took a lot of hard work," he said with a smile. "But when I look back at it now, it all paid off. I'm where I want to be in my junior year, and now we're in states."

On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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