[Editor’s note: The idea behind “Alphabet Stories” is to write one noteworthy athletics-related story about each OSAA-member school. We started with Adrian HS on Sept.18. Today’s story, more than two months later, is about Butte Falls HS. The goal will be to write two per week. While we will be relying upon athletic directors to furnish story ideas, anyone may offer suggestions by emailing [email protected]]
Devon Malcolm was 5 years old when he first picked up a basketball.
The Butte Falls junior hasn’t put it down since.
Basketball is the reason he won’t have to pay for college.
Love, Ainge, Singler, Pritchard…one day, we may be talking about Malcolm in the same sentence as the state’s all-time greats…
Athletically gifted, Malcolm was a seventh grader when he dunked for the first time. He started on varsity as a freshman. He was All-State as a sophomore.
“He’s a one in a million player,” said high school and AAU coach Devin Price. “He has instincts that no one can stop him.”
Malcolm is a family-oriented young man who lives with his mother, sister and grandmother. He’s had his share of challenges for one so young. His father fled the country to avoid legal peril when Malcom was 11 but not before running his half-brother out of the house. An uncle who was a father figure passed away from diabetes. And his first mentor coach, Bryan Wood, was diagnosed with ALS three years ago at age 41 and now is wheelchair-bound and unable to speak without a computer.
So much adversity might have derailed others. It fuels Malcolm.
“I play for my family; I play for everyone,” he said.
Malcolm has grown to a lanky 6-4 with a 6-8 wingspan. He plays inside for the Loggers but projects as an athletic wing at the next level. His half-brother, who now plays basketball professionally overseas, hit a growth spurt his senior year that took him to 6-7. Malcolm hopes to add a few more inches himself before he graduates..
“More height makes it easier against big men because of my athleticism,” Malcolm said.
“What makes Devin Malcolm elite is his rebounding and shot block ability for his size,” noted Price. “He has an elite second spring and gets back up off the floor quickly. His bread and butter is at the basket. He has a killer mentality and tries to dunk on everyone.”
Dunking brings Malcolm great joy.
“Definitely it energizes me and gets me and my team hyped especially when I get to do the flashy ones on fast breaks,” he said.
While Malcolm can score at all three levels right now (in the paint, mid-range, beyond the arc), he is working hard to improve his range.
“I want to be able to knock down even contested threes,” he said.
Ask most kids with Malcolm’s talent about the future and they will talk about playing in “The League.” Malcolm is more focused on getting to college. He recently received his first Division I offer, to the University of Portland, and hopes to pick up Pac-12 and Mountain West offers soon, including from his dream school, Arizona State.
“I want to play professionally and will do whatever it takes,” he said. “But first I’m going to college. There’s lots of risk in skipping college. I want to go all 4-5 years so I can have something to fall back on.”
“I’m super excited to watch his growth,” said Price. “I think he’s one of the top players in Oregon in any class.”