Corona Centennial phenom Deontae North gearing up for Long Beach State

Corona Centennial guard Deontae North, who estimates he's hit seven or eight game-winning shots in his high school career, will take his talents to Long Beach State next season.

Deontae North is not only a big shot taker. He’s a big shot maker.

North was just a freshman at the time on the freshman basketball team at Long Beach Jordan. He was playing in his first game and the Panthers were in a back and forth game with Loyola.

With four seconds left on the clock, the Panthers had the ball underneath their own basket to inbound and needed just a bucket to win the game. The play was drawn up for North to come off a screen and be ready to knock down a jumper. He did just that, catching the ball and burying a three from the wing as time expired.

He was beside himself.

"I had never had a moment like that before," North said. "I was pretty excited. I ran out of the gym."  

That was the beginning of a high school career — starting at Long Beach Jordan and ending at Corona Centennial — in which the guard estimates knocking down "seven or eight" game-winning shots.

It was the first game winner, however, that shaped the course of his career.

"It made me want the ball at the end of games," North said. "I always feel like if you do something once you can do it again. Every time the game was close and we needed a big shot I just wanted the ball in my hands."

North hit plenty of big shots for the Huskies this season while helping them to a 29-4 record and a Southern California regional championship.

On Saturday, he’ll lace them up as a high schooler one last time in the SchollyMe All World Classic at Concordia University in Irvine.

The boys game at 8 p.m. will be preceded by the girls game at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a 2018 Rising Stars game at 4 p.m. and the Cal Supreme elite 2018 game at 5 p.m.

"It’s bittersweet," North said of his high school career winding down. "It’s exciting but at the same time it’s going to be a little tough to handle."

North has signed with Long Beach State along with Bishop Montgomery point guard Justin Bibbins, Chaminade forward Jack Williams and forward Temidayo Yussuf from Alameda St. Joseph’s of Notre Dame.

Former Long Beach Poly star Roschon Prince, who played at USC last season, has announced he will transfer to Long Beach State as well.

The class is already being dubbed one of the best in the history of Long Beach State. It is the highest ranked class in the post-Jerry Tarkanian era.

Once there, North hopes to keep his big shot making ability alive.

"I think most definitely I’ll be able to do it," North said. "I got a lot of confidence in myself when the game’s coming to an end and we need a big shot. Hopefully, I can come in and contribute that to our team."