Ethan Dujon wanted to be a basketball player. This season, four years after he got cut from the freshman team at Toll Gate, Dujon wasn’t just a player. He was one of the best in the division, and he helped lead Toll Gate to one of its best-ever seasons.
“I remember freshman year, he said he really wanted to be a basketball player,” said Toll Gate head coach Tom Rayko. “He came back sophomore year and he just kept working on it. That mindset translated to everything he did.”
For Dujon, it was quite a journey. Every time there was a roadblock, like getting cut as a freshman or playing poorly in a playoff loss as a junior, Dujon just picked up speed.
“I wasn't the biggest kid or the strongest kid when I was coming up, but I always wanted to play at the next level,” Dujon said. “I just worked my hardest. Every day in the summer, late nights, taking extra shots in the summer.”
It started to pay off last year, when Dujon had a good junior season. But the way that year ended is what really sparked the next step.
“Last season when we lost to Juanita Sanchez, I was injured in that game and I played bad,” Dujon said. “I made up my mind after that I wanted to play college basketball. As soon as my teammates saw a couple of us take the lead, everybody started working hard. We knew we could go somewhere.”
And they certainly did. Dujon averaged 15.3 points per game, and the Titans went 15-3 in the regular season. Though they lost a heartbreaker in the first round of the state tournament, the season as a whole was a great way for Dujon and a big senior class to go out.
“Ethan’s mindset and their mindset was to win,” Rayko said. “They stuck together and made it happen.”
Now Dujon is focused on taking another step. He isn’t yet sure where he’s headed next year, but he’s gotten interest from Dean College, CCRI and Marianapolis Prep.
“If he finds the right fit, he can play at the next level,” Rayko said. “The biggest thing he has going for him is that he’s willing to work. That goes a long way.”