Senior Spotlight: Deaundra Vines’ leading LaFayette at point guard
Published 11:54 am Wednesday, December 13, 2023
LaFayette’s basketball team came into the season with expectations through the roof. Early on, the team has begun living up to those expectations. The team’s improvement and function on both sides of the ball is being led by Deaundra Vines.
Vines is no stranger to being a leader. Vines is your prototypical point guard, and he’s as comfortable with the ball in his hands as most of us are at tying our shoes. That comfort comes from years at the position.
“I’ve played point guard my whole life,” Vines said. “It started when we first started when we were like five or six years old. Everybody on my team, we’ve been playing together since we were really little. It just all started then.”
Email newsletter signup
The team chemistry for LaFayette has shown on the court. The Bulldogs have been able to overcome some early challenges, and the team currently sits at 4-2.
The ability to overcome those challenges has come from the leadership. Tae Story, Branaviyun Story and Vines are the leaders of the team.
All of those guys have been playing together since they were first able to pick up a basketball, and now the team has become closer because of the bond between the seniors.
“We’re like a brotherhood,” Vines said. “Nobody can break us apart. This is the best chemistry team since a long time ago. We just got it like that. We’re just all together.”
Vines first took over the starting point guard role as a sophomore, which was also the same season that Chase Lewis became the head coach.
In year three as a starter, Vines has become one of the more aggressive players on the court. Vines has become adept at finding his shot, and he has also figured out better ways to get his teammates involved in the offense.
“I’m getting to my spots way better, and I’m finding my teammates more efficiently than other years,” Vines said. “I just feel like I’ve broken out of my shell. Last two years, I was really scared and nervous and turned the ball over a lot. I feel like I’ve grown out of that.”
With a newfound confidence, Vines has blossomed into a legitimate threat. So far this season Vines has averaged 10 points and seven assists per game.
Coach Lewis came to LaFayette and immediately chose Vines to lead the team. Every step of the way, Lewis has instilled confidence in Vines and helped him to improve. That confidence has grown into a bond that goes far beyond just the basketball court.
“Coach Lewis, that’s my dog,” Vines said. “He’s like a second father to me. His system, it just fits me.”
In an era where point guards have become more ball-dominant and score first, Vines completely breaks the mold.
Vines comes down the court looking to get the other players on his team involved in the offense. Vines can score the ball too, but his passing is what has led LaFayette to a three-game winning streak.
“It just depends on what the situation is,” Vines said about the decision to pass or score. “I always look for my teammates first more than me scoring. It’s always going to be like that. It feels good to get everybody else involved. I learned that if you get everyone else involved it just opens your game up even more.”
As a senior and leader on the team, Vines has become the vocal leader for LaFayette. That’s not just on the basketball court. Vines tries to make sure that he is a leader in the hallways, in the classroom and everywhere else his teammates are present.
“I’m very vocal,” Vines said. “I’m vocal everywhere. Every moment I take very seriously because I know that I’ll never be able to put the black and gold back on after this year. I just take it really seriously. I just instill them with confidence.”
Vines plays the game with a “prove you wrong” mentality. As a point guard, Vines is on the smaller side in terms of height. However, Vines goes out on the hardwood and attacks bigger players with no fear.
“I just try to prove that I’m that guy,” Vines said. “If you don’t stop me, we’re going to win.”
A lot of LaFayette’s offense comes on fastbreak opportunities. The Bulldogs like to get out and run. Vines and Tae Story lead that charge.
“When we set it up, sometimes we’re static and play one-on-one basketball,” Vines said. “When we’re in transition we just always find each other.”
Coach Lewis came into the season with hopes that his team could bring his first state championship as a head coach after advancing to the quarterfinals last season.
All of the players have mirrored that same sentiment, and the Bulldogs have their sights set on a Blue Map.
“I believe that I can end up in the state championship game or in Birmingham,” Vines said. “I think my ultimate goal as a senior, and also as a basketball player, I always want to get there.”
Despite his game resembling several high-level point guards, Vines chooses to model his game after a dominant forward.
“I watch a lot of Lebron,” Vines said. “That’s the best player of all time. I just watch how he distributes the ball and how he goes at situations.”
While Vines is not quite Lebron, he is looking to leave his legacy at LaFayette High School this season.