Morgan State men’s basketball senior Sherwyn Devonish-Prince Jr. recently spoke with PressBox about why he stuck with Morgan after a coaching change, the hobby he picked up to calm his nerves and more. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Devonish-Prince averaged 8.1 points, 3.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds last year.

PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Sherwyn Devonish-Prince Jr.: Basketball was pretty much a family thing. My dad, [Sherwyn Sr.], played basketball at High Point High School and then played at Prince George’s Community College, and my mom played at Parkdale High School and then played Prince George’s Community College as well. It was really like a family thing. As soon as I was born, basketball was pretty much introduced to me at a young age. As I got older, I kind of took it seriously and turned it more so into a profession than a hobby. That’s how it all started.

PB: Your brother, Silas, also plays basketball, though he’s much younger than you. Was it competitive environment growing up?
SDP: Super competitive, even more competitive with me and my dad pretty much having the same name. We kind of pretty much compete in everything to basically determine who is the better Devonish in the family. Growing up, I played my mom and I played my dad. I stopped playing my dad because he had two ACL injuries so he … wasn’t really the same. As I got older, I got stronger and I got faster. He pretty much threw in the towel after that. I will always beat my mom. Once I got to a certain age, she stopped playing me. Now it’s just me and my little brother pretty much doing that and I beat him every time. Right now I’m winning.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Morgan State?
SDP: That was more so really my first and only official or unofficial visit that I took. From that point, I really didn’t want to go to any other school because it felt more so like my environment at home. I’m from Bladensburg, Md., not too far from here. It pretty much just reminded me of home. Everybody supports everybody. Everybody looks out for one another. That’s really all I was looking for. I wasn’t really worried about fitting in or basketball or anything like that because that was really going to take care of itself. I just wanted to go somewhere where I felt comfortable, if that makes sense.

PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Morgan State?
SDP: Basketball-wise is hitting a game-winner against Coppin State [in January 2020]. That’s my best basketball memory right now. I guess outside of basketball, it’s pretty much just going in the cafeteria in the Canteen and just talking to every single staff member in the cafeteria and just putting a smile on their face. They’re in there cooking for us constantly. The conditions in there are crazy, it’s hot. I know they’re going through it so I just try to do something just to take their minds off what they’re really going through.

PB: What’s your favorite thing about Morgan State?
SDP: My favorite thing about Morgan right now is obviously the HBCU experience, but beside that, I like everything about it. Now with more money coming in, we’re able to get a lot of stuff that I didn’t have when I was freshman. They’re building new buildings around the campus and stuff like that. Just to see the progress is really not done, that change is slowly occurring, it puts a smile on my face. I really just like everything about this school, honestly.

PB: What’s your favorite thing about Baltimore?
SDP: Crab cakes [at] Koco’s Pub.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
SDP: Honestly, I’ve got two — the two people that I came in with, Malik Miller and Isaiah Burke. Those two are really more so my guys, mainly because of what we went through as a school. Coach [Kevin] Broadus wasn’t our coach when we first came in. Our coach was Todd Bozeman, who’s now at Rhode Island. When he got fired, all three of us [had uncertain futures]. We didn’t really know what to do. We were pretty much nervous for what was going to happen next, and then they brought in Coach Broadus. All three of us stayed and we fought it out. Now, all of us are seniors and we’re going to graduate at the same time. I’ve got history with both of them. In high school, I played against Malik in an all-star game, and me and Isaiah Burke played in the same conference in high school. We’ve got a lot of history, and I think with that history we’re able to gel and stick together on and off the court. I think that’s really the two biggest people that I really lean on the most on this team.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
SDP: Growing up, my idol was always Allen Iverson because I liked his killer crossover and I liked his approach to the game. Going into college as a freshman, I looked up to Martez Cameron. He was a senior on our team. He went to Montverde [Academy]. He played with Ben Simmons, D’Angelo Russell I think and guys like that. His track record was pretty deep basketball-wise, so I kind of looked up to him a little bit. I looked up to Todd Bozeman, our coach, just because of the players he coached — Jason Kidd, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, stuff like that. And then at the same time, I looked up to my father and my uncle.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
SDP: Basically stay true to who you are and no matter how tough this basketball world may get, life is even harder. You’ve got to persevere and look on the other side and you’ve just got to grind to get what you want. In life and in basketball, nothing is really going to be given to you, so you’ve really just got to grind, be resilient, be persistent and just be yourself. Let everything work itself out and pray.

PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
SDP: To be honest, I really don’t see basketball ending for me. Once I graduate, I would like to play professionally, whether it’s through the G League or going overseas, but if they really don’t work out, I would try to be either a sports trainer or a sports photographer or something like that or an assistant coach. I just want to stay as close as I can to basketball, period. I think basketball is pretty much a revolving feature in my life. Without that, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today and [I] wouldn’t have gotten where I wanted to be.

PB: You enjoy painting and sketching. Where does that come from?
SDP: It comes from my somewhat artistic and creative side. I took an art class in high school. I wasn’t really that good at it but I wasn’t bad, either. Coming into college as a freshman going through stuff that a typical freshman is going to go through being away from home, not coming home on holidays, getting through practice, getting yelled at by a coach, so I had to find a coping mechanism that would pretty much center my nerves and calm me down. As a freshman, I started buying coloring books, buying crayons, buying sketch books, canvasses. I just started using that as a leverage to maintain my mental health.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Morgan State Athletics

Issue 271: October/November 2021

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10