By Rob Kiser
Scoring 1,000 points is a rare milestone for high school basketball players — who have three to four years to do it, depending on when they first reach the varsity level.
For Edison Community College to have two players do it in the same season — with two years to do it in — is quite an achievement and another sign the programs are heading back in the right direction.
And it would be hard to find two better representatives for the school and its athletic program.
Both former Stebbins standout Malik Thurman and former Bradford standout Brooke Dunlevy accomplished that feat for the Edison men’s and women’s programs this past winter.
Thurman grew up dreaming of playing college basketball.
“Everybody there (on the Stebbins team) did ,” Thurman said.
After a high school career where he averaged he averaged in double figures as a junior ans senior for the Indians the choice to come to Edison was an easy one.
“They were the only ones who made me an offer,” Thurman said. “I had said other opportunities to walk-on. I am glad I made the decision to come here.”
Edison coach John Ralph is not surprised by Thurman’s success.
“Ever since he began at Edison, Malik (Thurman) has been an outstanding young man,” Ralph said. “He has maintained a three-point academic average and he has been our leading scorer for two seasons. He is an all-around good person and great citizen.”
After averaging 18.7 points and 7.8 rebounds as a freshman, Thurman averaged 19.8 points and 7.6 rebounds this past season— despite standing just 6-2.
After being All-OCCAC honorable mention as a freshman, he was named first team this past season.
“I like to think of myself as more than just a scorer,” Thurman said.
He admits his freshman year — when Edison went 7-19 overall and did not win an OCCAC game —was tough.
But, the Chargers hard work paid off in improvement this season, finishing 12-19 overall and 3-11 in the OCCAC.
“Definitely, that was one of the things we talked about,” Thurman said. “Last year was tough, but we had a lot of talented young players this year.”
He will always remember his 1,00th point, which came in a 91-88 win over Cincinnati State on a jump shot in front of the home crowd. Thurman finished his career with 1,062 points and was Edison’s first 1,000-point scorer since Keith Lowe scored 1,210.
“That was pretty sweet,” he said. “I never thought about scoring 1,000 points. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought I could do well (at Edison).”
He hopes to do the same the next two years for Urbana University.
“I know they have big expectations for me,” he said.
Second-year coach Tim McMahon considers Dunlevy something of gift for his first season at Edison.
“We didn’t recruit her,” McMahon said. “She made the decision to come here. I was coaching at Indian Lake (the year before), so I didn’t know who she was because we didn’t play Bradford.”
Dunlevy was coming off leading Bradford to one of its most successful seasons in school history.
“I think it did (give her confidence),” she said. “I just liked the close-knit (environment) here at Edison. I did feel a little pressure to prove myself when practice started.”
It didn’t take long for McMahon to take notice.
“Oh yeah, you could see it right away,” he said. “You could see she was a player.”
McMahon admits for the most part — Dunlevy was the offense as a freshman, averaging more than 25 points in OCCAC games.
“Every team’s focus was to stop her,” he said. “And she still led the conference in scoring.”
Like the men, the women’s program took a big jump forward this year — going from 4-20 overall and 2-11 in the OCCAC to 12-18 overall and 5-9 in the OCCAC.
“Last year was tough,” Dunlevy said. “There wasn’t a lot of help. This year, there was a lot more help.”
During her career, Dunlevy scored 1,145 points.
She was a two-time first team All-OCCAC selection.
After averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists as a freshman, she followed it up this year by averaging 21.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
“She has a quick first step,” McMahon said. “If you come out on her, she will go by you — if you don’t, she will shoot the three.”
Dunlevy, who is considering Urbana University for her next stop, scored her 1,000th point in a road game at Owens. But, she has always been appreciative of the support she has received from her hometown faithful.
“It is not something I thought about when I came here,” Dunlevy said about scoring 1,000 points. “The community has always given me great support. I am hopeful that I can (continue her success at the next level). I have really enjoyed it (at Edison) and made a lot of new friends. It was a great decision to come here.”
And you can be sure Edison feels the same way — about both 1,000 point scorers.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.