Derrick Rhoden ’04 had the potential to be the finest player ever, to not only wear a Brossart uniform, but to be one of the all-time top basketball players ever to emerge from Northern Kentucky. We were treated to a glimpse of what Rhoden could become during his freshman season (2000-01), when the near-seven footer, played head to head with Senior Kevin Reinhardt ‘01, another of the top players from our area who is a Campbell County Camels and a 10th Region Hall of Famer, during that season’s district tournament.
Unfortunately, for all of us, Derrick was bi-polar and schizophrenic. He had physical and mental issues associated with the disorder.
Derrick Rhoden scored 854 Career Points Desipte a Star-Crossed Career.
Just prior to his sophomore season Derrick had a medical episode that rendered him dependent on medications that caused him to become heavy and stole from us the sleek, mobile athlete, with the soft hands, limiting his athletic abilities and ability to function in a productive manner throughout the remainder of his life. Despite battling through these limitations, Derrick still managed to score 854 career points and his teams won 46 games (46-14) during his junior and senior seasons. He was still good enough to be selected to play for the Derek Smith All-Stars, and there were colleges willing to take a chance on him.
Derrick remained my friend through 2019, fishing with me often here locally, and making several trips to Canada. These are fond memories of better times. In the latter years of his life, Derrick lived in a apartment with extensive caregiving where his health deteriorated. He passed away in late December at the age of 38.
His death is certainly a tragedy, in more ways than one. Selfishly, I often wonder what a healthy Derrick Rhoden could have become, as I watch lesser players excel in college basketball. With his size and his skill set there is no reason that he would not have played professional basketball. Unfortunately, he will be remembered as the player he became late in his high school career. It is tragic that his disability did not allow him to lead a normal, productive life, and that he basically spent his later years facing this early life death sentence.
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