Red Mountain guard's crash makes hoops decision a no-brainer

January 6, 2014 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Colton Plourd loves extra-curricular activities. They run the gamut of playing football and basketball at Red Mountain High School to longboarding and flying a plane when time permits.

But as is the case for many high schoolers, important decisions pop up between a junior and senior year. As Plourd's junior year at Red Mountain wound down, he was deciding whether or not to pare his athletic participation. Shortly after his junior year ended his major decision -- play football and basketball or only the latter -- became easy.

That's because in April one of Plourd's other extra-curricular activities essentially closed the door on football. A longboarding enthusiast, Plourd ended up crashing near his home in northeast Mesa. The result was a shattered collarbone. Surgery ensued with 12 screws and a titanium plate inserted to heal the injury. His appetite for football was gone with the wind.

"That sealed the deal," Plourd said. "I was on a hill near my house and flipped out. Didn't get to do anything basketball wise. I always liked basketball more. It's been my favorite sport. The accident made the decision for me."

Plourd, at a plucky 5-foot-8, would have entered the 2013 football season as Red Mountain's second-leading rusher. He scored six touchdowns in the Mountain Lions' 9-3 season his junior year. A transplant from football-crazy Texas to Arizona, basketball finally won out as his sport of choice. 

Plourd was anxious to show what he could do in person for new coach Todd Fazio, but the longboarding crash put the kabosh to that. It left new basketball coach Todd Fazio to watch film of Plourd  to get a read on his point guard since his summer was a total loss from a participation standpoint.

"We liked what we saw," Fazio said. "There were things we thought he could do to be better, but watching we knew he'd fit in."

Plourd rehabbed hard and eventually was healed in time for practice when it began the first week of November. Red Mountain sports a 7-7 record under Fazio as the second half of the season begins on Tuesday for Red Mountain with its home game vs. Desert Vista.

"Colton plays hard, and he's tough," Fazio said. "I think he's known for his ability to shoot, but he gives us more than that. He and the other players gained our trust fairly quickly. He's our team captain and team leader. It would have been a huge loss for us if he hadn't been able to play."

Plourd has much to look forward to beyond basketball as he's reached for the sky literally with his involvement in the aviation program via EVIT (East Valley Institute of Technology). He is president of Aviation for EVIT and should have his private pilot's' license by the time he graduates in May.

"All of this stuff has been a learning process for me." Plourd said. "I enjoy basketball, getting the chance to knock down open shots. But I''ve focused on taking better care of the ball, and some other mental things. I'm pretty happy with my decisions."