Lakes High School senior Daeshawn Wayne has been revered as one of the top basketball players in the South Sound throughout his high school career.
He started as a freshman at Foss, contributing 8.9 points and 3.3 assists to a Falcons team led by former TNT All-Area player of the year Roberto Gittens.
The past two seasons, Wayne has led Lakes in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game as a sophomore, and 18.6 as a junior.
And his scoring average, paired with 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game last year, earned him a second-team selection in a loaded Class 3A Pierce County League.
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But Wayne isn’t just a proven talent on the basketball court. As a senior, he has had a breakout season for the Lakes football program.
Longtime Lancers coach Dave Miller says many of the skills Wayne, 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, displays in basketball — his quickness, his explosiveness, his competitiveness — have amplified his performance as a two-way standout in football.
“He can really elevate, he can jump, so he plays bigger than he is,” Miller said. “Basketball has been something that he’s done forever, and now with football, he’s getting that experience, so I see that confidence that he has in basketball in football now.”
Through the first 10 games this season, Wayne has hauled in 24 passes for 416 yards on offense, picked off a team-leading six passes on defense and has scored eight total touchdowns.
Miller says Wayne’s production, especially in the past several games, have Ivy League and Big Sky schools nearing scholarship offers.
Wayne, a three-star prospect, plays slot receiver and free safety for the Lancers. Recruiting site 247Sports.com considers him an athlete, and Miller said college programs are interested in him on both sides of the ball.
“I think early in the season it was offense, but now it’s both,” Miller said. “He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. He’s a really good free safety. He covers a lot of ground. He’s really good at reading routes, and playing the ball in the air, and he’ll come down and tackle.”
Wayne is confident on both sides of the ball, and would enjoy playing wherever gives him the best opportunity at the next level.
“On offense, what I like the most is after I catch the ball, trying to make someone miss. ... Slot you just kind of creep in, find the gaps, and just make plays from there,” he said.
“And then on defense, it’s just being a ball hawk at safety, and wherever the ball is, I’m going to go get it.”
Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Eastern Washington, Montana and Weber State, among others, have all been in contact, Miller said.
Wayne also excels in the classroom, attends running start classes at Pierce College, and will have his Associate’s Degree by the time he graduates high school in the spring. He plans to pursue a career in dentistry.
“Grades are important,” he said. “I want to go to a good school for academics and athletics. So, that’s my priority.”
And he’s maintained his high academic standing despite playing a sport in all three seasons. When his senior football season wraps up, he’ll return basketball.
In the spring, he plans to turn out for track, and could end up running a leg of the Lancers’ 4x100-meter relay, which will aim to defend its 3A state title.
“He’s an achiever,” Miller said. “He’s a kid that wants to do well, and is a coach’s dream. He’s fun to be around and very respectful.”
Despite missing much of his junior football season with a torn meniscus, Miller said Wayne has become a leader by example in his first full season with the Lancers.
He arrived at Lakes a couple of months into his sophomore year from Federal Way, and missed the football season.
“I remember when he first came in,” Lakes two-way lineman Alan Fischer said. “He has this (leader) vibe to him, and you kind of want to follow him. He’s not super vocal, but he leads by action, and it’s something I can respect.
“He’s always hustling. Even during practice, he makes these amazing plays. He’s incredibly athletic, especially coming back from tearing his meniscus, and has come back and balled out every single day.”
When the Lancers shocked Lincoln for the 3A PCL title last month, Fischer hoisted Wayne into the air after Wayne hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that sealed the win and silenced the Abes crowd.
Wayne held up a No. 1 with his right hand, just visible through the fog, signaling Lakes’ victory.
“As soon as I came here, it was just a brotherhood,” Wayne said. “Everybody was welcoming. The coach was welcoming, the counselors, the principal, everybody around was great. ...
“As soon as I came on the team, it was like, ‘You’re a part of this team.’ Coach Miller has always been great, he’s always had my back, always been there. Since my injury, he has said, ‘We’re going to get you back. We’re going to get you better.’ The players have always been there for me, too.”
The Lancers (8-2) are the No. 5 seed entering the opening round of the 3A state playoffs, and host No. 12 seed Yelm (7-3) on Friday at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
Wayne said the win over the Abes, which is part of an eight-game winning streak, has given the Lancers a renewed confident moving forward.
“If we didn’t beat Lincoln, I don’t think we would be this confident right now as a team,” he said. “After that moment, it was like, the sky is the limit.”
Miller has that same view of Wayne as an athlete — his confidence on the basketball court, and now on the football field, could propel him to the next level.
And, Wayne says he would enjoy playing either sport in college.
“I’ve been getting a little bit more love for football, but basketball has been great to me,” he said. “Whatever gives me the best options and offers, I’ll take that.”