A Storied Career at Sherwood Proves Twyman Is a Good Sport

Deontay Twyman
In the past few years, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Deontay Twyman refuted the notion that football and basketball stars literally have to be the big men on campus. (Toni L. Sandys - The Post)
By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 6, 2007

The statistics are impressive: More than 7,000 yards passing in three years as a high school quarterback and more than 1,200 points scored in three seasons on the basketball court. For good measure, throw in a couple of appearances in the Maryland state championship football game and a basketball state title last month.

But Sherwood senior Deontay Twyman's athletic accomplishments can't be described simply with stats. In the past few years, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Twyman refuted the notion that football and basketball stars literally have to be the big men on campus. And in the process, he accomplished one of the rarest feats in Washington area scholastic sports: He earned first-team All-Met recognition from The Post in football and basketball.

No athlete has done that since Carroll's Lawrence Moten in the 1989-90 school year, and only a handful have done so in the 60-plus years The Post has named the teams. Moten -- a small forward in basketball and a wide receiver in football -- turned the trick in his junior and senior years.

"It was a great honor, but I didn't realize at the time how rare it was," said Moten, who played basketball at Syracuse and is the Big East's career scoring leader. "Considering all the talent, and how competitive the D.C. area is, I thought there would have been more."

There have been other athletes named All-Met in multiple sports. It is not uncommon for an elite distance runner to be named in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same school year, for instance. Adam Fassnacht was honored in football, wrestling and lacrosse as a senior at Robinson in 2002-03. (He currently is a senior playing lacrosse at Virginia.)

But the football-basketball combination is harder to pull off. The sports have overlapping seasons, giving players no time to rest and recover, and their popularity creates immense competition for the few spots on the All-Met teams. The Post currently covers more than 300 high schools; the All-Met football team is composed of 26 players; the boys' basketball team has 10.

Moten was 6-5, 205 pounds in high school. Twyman, meantime, was always among the smallest players in the game. Still, he led Sherwood to consecutive state championship games in football and last month led the basketball team to its first state title in nearly 30 years.

"Me being 5-10 and barely 170 pounds," Twyman said, "I'm proud that I was able to overcome that."

His accomplishments haven't been enough to get college recruiters to overlook his size, even though Magruder Coach Dan Harwood said after losing to Sherwood in the state basketball final: "He's probably one of the greatest athletes in the history of Montgomery County. . . . He represents all that's good in sports."

Twyman, who turned 17 on Nov. 4, is a full year younger than some of his classmates. He began the school year dreaming of a football scholarship; when most recruiters dismissed him because of his size, Twyman said he figured he was destined for a year of prep school, and hoped he would grow another inch or two and force some football coaches to reconsider.

But after his performance on the basketball court -- including scoring a season-high 26 points in the state championship game -- basketball coaches began to take notice. Twyman said he has been contacted by the staffs at Maryland, George Mason, N.C. State and Niagara. He said he still needs to achieve a better standardized test score to meet NCAA eligibility standards and plans to take the ACT again on April 14.

"You look at him and college coaches would say he's not much, but when the lights go on, he's something else," Good Counsel football coach Bob Milloy said. "He's one of those guys who does it effortlessly. He's a big-time player. Some school is going to be real lucky to get him."

While the coaches make up their minds, Twyman already is preparing for when he's old and gray.

"Years from now, when they say, 'He was one of the best' . . . I can hear all that already," Twyman said. "That's going to be fun telling people about that."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company