Randolphs happy with new home

By Frank Rusnak

    DeAndre Randolph and his mom have found solace in Rock Island after leaving Chicago more than six years ago.

    The small town on the banks of the Mississippi River has helped Randolph find his love for basketball while it has guided Trena Randolph away from her evil addiction to drugs.

"He was just a little scrawn freshman with bad knees who didn't play much."

Thom Sigel
Rock Island coach

    Randolph, the half brother of Farragut standout Chris Singletary, has sparkled this year averaging 23 points and tying his school’s record for 43 points in a game.

    “We were a little disappointed with his summer, and then he just really took off this season,” Rock Island coach Thom Sigel said.

    A 6'2", 179-pound senior, the sudden scoring output is especially surprising considering many doubted Randolph ever would play varsity when he came to Rock Island.

    As a 10-year-old growing up in Chicago, DeAndre didn’t particularly love where he lived. But he certainly had reservations when he found out he was going to move 165 miles west to the Quad Cities area.

    DeAndre and his three younger siblings would leave Chicago in 1998 to join their mother, Trena, who had sought out a drug rehabilitation facility in Rock Island a year earlier.

    “I didn’t want to move, but once I came down it was nice,” said DeAndre, 17, an honor roll student. “I got away from all that violence in Chicago. You’d always hear gunshots, wouldn’t know if you’d make it home safe. Rock Island doesn’t really have any crime and everyone’s nice. And now I can focus on what I want to do and be successful.”

    The positives from the move began to flair up almost immediately, but not without a couple of speed bumps.

    “DeAndre liked basketball, but he didn’t really get into it as much when we were in Chicago,” Trena said. “You know, those were the sad years for us.”

    DeAndre’s newfound love for basketball was almost halted when he entered high school.

    “He was just a little scrawny freshman with bad knees who didn’t play much,” Sigel said.

    Around the same time Trena relapsed and used drugs again.

    But the setbacks were nothing they couldn’t handle.

    While DeAndre’s body began to mature physically he also started to take basketball more seriously, devoting more time to the intricacies of the game.

    “As a freshman people were telling me I’d never play varsity,” said DeAndre, who is now described by Sigel as an explosive athlete that can dunk in traffic. “So that really helped motivate me. I was slow, couldn’t play defense and all you had to do was put a hand in my face and you could shut me down. But look at me now.”

    Trena, who has been clean for two years since relapsing, has noticed the difference in her son.

    “I’m very proud of him,” she said. “I’m just glad that I got them down here and away from the drugs and all that stuff in Chicago. I’m pretty proud of making that move. The main reason I stayed down here was so my kids could have a chance in life.”


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