McAdam – When basketball season rolls around in the new school year, Dawson Boon will be wearing a jersey that looks a little different than what he’s used to.
Instead of the usual gold and purple of the McAdam High Warriors, Boon will be donning a white and red jersey of the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds.
As a senior at McAdam High, Boon was recently recruited to play basketball for the UNB team. During his time in the high school varsity program, Boon became known to rival teams as an unstoppable offensive threat, and it wasn’t unusual for him to score 40 or more points a game.
In Boon’s Grade 11 year, the Warriors advanced to the provincial final as the underdog against the Harvey High Lakers. Leading by 20 early in the third, the Warriors nearly stole the title from the defending champions, but fell by one basket to the fourth quarter titans.
In this past season, the Warriors stole second place in the A southern conference during a January match from the Sir James Dunn Academy Algonquins, to cement second place heading into regionals.
The Warriors needed to beat the Algonquins by 18 points (having lost 98-81 to the team earlier in the season), to seize the spot.
The Warriors led 83-67 with mere seconds remaining. With the Algonquins throwing the ball in the Warriors offensive zone, Boon stole the ball from the Algonquins inbounder, and nailed a buzzer beater that sent the Warriors bench into a frenzy, and into regionals as second seed.
After the 2016-2017 regular season, Boon was named to the NBIAA All Star team.
Weighing his options for post-secondary education, Boon said he contacted the coach of the UNB squad, who later invited him to come for a work out.
“I came in for a visit, and then I knew that he wanted me and stuff.”
Admitting he was “really happy” after committing to the Reds, Boon said one of the first people he delivered the news to was his high school coach, Justin Faulkner.
“I’m happy for him. He’s a type of kid, that’s what he works for,” said Faulkner.
Faulkner explained the summer before Boon’s senior year, Boon was passed over to participate on the Basketball New Brunswick summer provincial team.
Upset by the snub, Faulkner said “it just added fuel to the fire for Dawson to work harder.”
The coach said Boon spent the entire summer in the gym working to get better, and added “he spends literally every day in the gym.”
“Everyone was surprised; he should’ve made that team. But he didn’t give up, and he worked for it. He played all summer, and even joined cross country to make sure he was in shape for basketball season.”
Faulkner said since being involved in the McAdam basketball program for 20 years, as a player and a coach, Boon is the first McAdam student to make an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) program.
“He has a natural talent for sure, but you don’t get there with natural talent. He puts hours, almost a full time job, in at the gym.
“He’s one of the top five scorers in the province, and he’s deserving of it, for sure.”
Faulkner identified Boon as “one of the most coachable players I’ve ever coached,” and said the young athlete is always looking for ways to improve his game.
“He’s one of the best to coach, and he doesn’t shy away from criticism. That’s how he wanted it; he wanted your help all the time, and wanted to get better, and I think the coaches will really like that.”
Boon first began playing basketball in elementary school, in the mini program around Grade 3 or 4, he estimated.
“Through middle school I kept playing, and then I got better, and better,” Boon said, and added he really started taking the sport seriously during the summer before his Grade 11 year, when he began training on his own.
“I kept on getting better and better, and I kept on getting recognized around the province. It seemed like the more I played it, the more I loved it, and now it’s just a passion that I have,” Boon said of his decision to start putting serious time into training.
“I love getting better, and I love the atmosphere of playing basketball, and meeting new people.”
Playing in the provincial final in his Grade 11 year, Boon said, was the icing on a cake made of hard work, long hours, and dedication.
“That just topped it off right there. Through all the hard work you put in, to get to that level to try and win a banner for your school,” Boon paused momentarily, as if reminiscing.
“Just to get the whole town there, and make everyone proud,” Boon said, leaving his sentence unfinished.
Boon is planning to take a Bachelor of Arts while at UNB, but said he’s looking into other programs, and has an interest in kinesiology.
During the offseason, Boon said he plans to continue training hard, and said the Reds coach, Brent Baker, plans to give him workouts.
“He’s going to set me up with a strengthening and conditioning coach, so I’m pretty excited for all those things.
“Grinding like that stuff is something I love to do,” Boon said, placing emphasis on the word love. “I do it all the time by myself, everyday; that’s how people know me, as that kind of person. That’s why I think I’ll be successful hopefully at that level.”
Though Boon will be wearing a white and red jersey next season, he said he will always be a Warrior at heart.
“That’s one of the biggest things, because I don’t know how many people from McAdam played at a level like this, so hopefully I can get my game to a really high level, and get good minutes, and make McAdam proud.”