By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor
Malcolm Drumwright has been through it all during the last four years.
At a school, not only 2,000 miles away from his home in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., but also a football powerhouse trying to establish itself inside a basketball conference, Drumwright has helped do what many believe would be impossible — bring relevance to the Gamecock men’s basketball program.
The seed for success was planted years ago, though.
During the 2014-15 season, Drumwright, then a true freshman appeared in 30 of 31 games. He averaged 21.8 minutes in those 30 games. But the biggest indicator came when he started six of the final seven games. Drumwright played 34 of 40 minutes and had eight points, seven assists and four steals in a 72-70 win over conference powerhouse Belmont.
That performance carried over to the 2015-16 season, where Drumwright started 24 games before an injury halted his season. However, he scored in double figures in 18 games during the season, including a career-high 30-point game against Jacksonville University.
His teammates Erik Durham and Greg Tucker reached the same scoring mark later in the season.
Then his junior season came. That’s when Drumwright took his play for another level.
In 34 games, Drumwright averaged 12.5 points, 3.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds. He was one of three JSU players to average 30-or-more minutes a game and dished out a team-high 129 assists. He became the first Gamecock to dish out 10-or-more assists in a game when he had a 14-point, 12-assist double-double against Mississippi Valley State. He became the first Gamecock to win when Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player award when JSU knocked off UT Martin 66-55 to win its third game in four days to claim the first conference championship in men’s basketball.
Against Louisville in the NCAA Division I Tournament, Drumwright scored 12 points, dished out six assists and brought down two rebounds in 36 minutes.
His school was known. His name was known. Basketball was known.
Before the start of the 2017-18 season, Drumwright was one of two Gamecocks (Norbertas Giga the other) to be named as a preseason All-OVC player. But the accomplishments didn’t stop for the senior. He’s set the JSU Division I record for career starts and flying up the school’s Division I scoring list as quickly as his school turned into a conference title contender under head coach Ray Harper.
Through all the statistics, the scores, games won, and games lost, the thing that separates Drumwright from the rest is simple — how he handles himself.
No matter the end result of games, Drumwright has always been gracious when it comes to media availability. He’s always kept his cool and never said anything negative when a call on the court goes against him — he just walks away from the situation without saying a word.
With everything going on in today’s world, being able to know when to remain silent and not escalate a situation is key.
With Drumwright’s career in a Jacksonville State uniform coming to a close in the coming weeks, one can’t help but appreciate how much he’s done to help turn around the program and become the face and captain of a resurgence.