Try as some might, sometimes it’s just impossible to escape ones DNA. That seems to be the case with Minnesota State men’s basketball senior Jon Fuqua. At a young age, he didn’t have that instant clichéd infatuation with the sport that gets glorified at times. A part of him even wanted to rebel against the status quo of what his three brothers and sister, all four older, had established with their time on the court.
“I think that might have been one of the things that made me not want to play. I wanted to be different because I’m the youngest,” said Fuqua.
Coming from a family of athletes, his father played basketball, his mother played softball and volleyball, and his older brother Nate was an All-American in basketball.
Even though he resisted, he was still eventually caught by the balling bug. It started in the sixth grade when Jon transferred into a new school where the coach recruited him to give it a try. From there, he was hooked.
“From there on, I just loved it,” said Fuqua.
It finally started to click with Jon that he could be good at the sport when he was in the seventh grade. After one of the starters got hurt, Fuqua came off the bench scoring 15 points in the game.
“From there, it kind of clicked with me that I could be kind of good,” said Jon.
Fuqua played high school ball at Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park, Illinois. Playing there was where his favorite pre-college memory of playing basketball was birthed.
“I hit a game-winner my senior year against our rival St. Francis. Our team stormed the court and it was their senior night too so it was a huge thing,” Jon said.
After attending a showcase event that he almost didn’t even go to, Jon was recruited to play for the Des Moines Area Community College Bears. Fuqua spent two years playing there along with a familiar face to Maverick basketball fans in Aarias Austin.
“We were both being recruited by a lot of the same junior colleges, so we kind of decided that we were going to be a package deal and we both visited Des Moines and that was the school that stood out to us,” said Fuqua.
The two men had a great two years in Des Moines. Their freshman year, the team finished in eighth place and improved to fourth place their sophomore years, along with making it to the National Tournament both years.
Once his two years at Des Moines were up, it became time to start thinking about where to head next. Fuqua had a few choices in mind but also didn’t want to stray too far away from home. After making a few visits to schools, including Minnesota State, the decision was an easy one for Jon to make.
“I was welcomed with open arms. I took a couple visits before then and some guys, they can kind of be distant from you because you might play that same position or, they don’t want you to come there but, when I came here the coaches embraced me, the players embraced me, and I just kind of felt like I was family already when I came on my visit,” explained Fuqua, on what led to his choice.
In Fuqua’s two years as a Maverick, he averaged over 15 points and seven rebounds per game. After his final two regular season games with Minnesota State, he is sitting at an impressive 937 points as a Maverick.
“Jon has been a huge impact on us these past two years and obviously is one of the most talented guys in the league. He’s not only just a great player, but a very good teammate and has worked extremely hard on his game since he’s been here,” Head Coach Matt Margenthaler said on Fuqua.
Fuqua, a senior, is wrapping up his time at Minnesota State and majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with focuses on communication, ethnic studies, and management. While he has had thoughts of playing professional ball, his goals seem more focused on going back to school to get his master’s degree in communications and eventually coaching.
“Maybe I’ll do youth coaching because I’d work with kids and I’d be able to coach basketball which I love so, you know, that’s always out there as something, maybe go back to my high school and coach. That’s something I could maybe see myself doing,” said Fuqua.