On June 22, the culmination of years of hard work, risk and sacrifice resulted in a lifelong dream for Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox. It was the seventh grade, to be exact, where Fox’s hardwood dreams began to take off. Then a 13-year-old, the shifty guard had earned himself quite the reputation in the state of Texas – enough to pick up recruiting offers and potential scholarships from several prominent collegiate D-1 programs.
From the start though, it was clear that De’Aaron wasn’t the prototypical teenage basketball sensation. Whereas many pursued the likes of athletic history at private prep programs during their high school years, No. 5 grew into his own at newly created Cypress Lakes – in just its fifth year of existence by the time Fox arrived.
“I told him, bless your own path,” De’Aaron’s dad, Aaron, told SLAM Online. “You don’t have to follow nobody else. He bought in to it”
From day one at Cypress Lakes, that’s exactly what he did. As a freshman, Fox started at point guard, recording 23 points per game. While he could score, his ability to lead a team in all aspects is what earned him the ability to don Kentucky blue for storied NCAA coach John Calipari just 3 years later.
“…he wants to use his position to help others. Bang! I was locked in. I knew this is the kind of guy you want running your team,” told Calipari to SLAM.
On the court, as expected, Fox came through as a leader for the Wildcats – netting the team an Elite Eight birth in the NCAA tournament following a freshman record 39-point outing versus another top-ranked prospect in UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. Although impressive, the 39-point game may not have been the No. 5 selection’s most notable box score, as he recorded Kentucky’s second triple-double in school history earlier in the season.
The competitive floor general made his mark on Draft scouts and media members alike, quickly rising in NBA Draft boards throughout the year. That, combined with his off-court persona, truly made him a one-of-a-kind prospect – one that Sacramento faithful clamored for pre-Draft.
An intense gamer and avid Dragon Ball Z fan off the hardwood, Fox’s true self is always visible – whether under the spotlight of an arena or behind closed doors with a joystick.
“When the lights are bright, I love it…off the court, I really just love to be myself,” told the rookie to media members upon his arrival in Sactown.
That yearning for showing his true colors is one that has made him a fan favorite in the city of trees just one week into his NBA career.
What’s next for the 19-year-old is to develop into an on-court favorite, and more importantly to De’Aaron, an NBA great.
“Great players just have a different kind of mentality,” he shared. “Being great is difficult. It’s not all that hard being good—there are a lot of good players out there. Some people are good and don’t even try. But being great is different.”
He surely seems up to the task.