Tyrese Sullivan made his way to New Britain during the fall of 2018, going there to watch the West Haven boys basketball team play in a fall league game.
Sullivan was doing his due diligence as the new high school head coach. He wanted to check out the players who were returning for the 2018-19 season. He took notice of one player in particular.
“I said (to someone), ‘Who is that guy right there?’ Someone said, ‘That’s Malcolm (Duncanson), he plays for West Haven.’ I said, ‘He does? That’s my starting point guard right there.’ I started to put together how to build around him. When I met him, I was like, ‘Wow, this kid, he’s something.’”
And Sullivan was true to his word; He built the program around the sophomore. Duncanson has since blossomed into one of the top players in the Southern Connecticut Conference.
“(Sullivan) is a good coach. He believes in his players. He’s on me every day to be the best I can be,” Duncanson said. “I’m working hard and being consistent. It’s been great.”
The 6-foot Duncanson can score (averaging 17 points per game), rebound (8.0 rpg.) and play some stellar defense as well (4.0 steals per game). Yes, he can do it all for the Westies. And it has led to success this season: currently a 9-1 record going into the SCC Division I tournament.
“For a long time, West Haven basketball has been overlooked, has been the laughingstock of the SCC,” Duncanson said. “In games (against the SCC’s top teams) we see it as an opportunity to come out and showcase who we are and earn that respect.”
— Joe Morelli (@nhrJoeMorelli) March 5, 2021
Duncanson’s numbers were similar last year: he averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals per game as a junior, earning both a Register All-Area and All-SCC selection.
This season, he surpassed 1,000 career points against Notre Dame-West Haven on March 8.
“I just try to do whatever I can to help my team win, securing the W, whether that’s rebounding, passing, getting into the lane, it doesn’t matter,” Duncanson said.
Duncanson’s future is still unknown. But he is a man with options.
Among the 16 schools Duncanson said he has been accepted to include: UConn, Winthrop, Morehouse, Southern Connecticut State, Central Connecticut State, Drexel, Suffolk, Felician, UNC-Greensboro, Hampton, Norfolk State and Johnson & Wales.
He currently holds a 3.5 grade point average. Duncanson plans to major in business management and minor in marketing.
“He is a great student, an SAT qualifier. There’s not much more you can ask out of a kid,”
Sullivan said. How basketball fits into his future is undetermined.
In the game he scored his 1,000th career point — against Notre Dame-West Haven — was also the only loss for the Westies. They earned the top seed in the SCC Division I tournament beginning Saturday against Shelton.
Right now, the focus is on winning the tournament title. Then he can make his college decision.
“Malcom Duncanson has meant everything to this program,” Sullivan said. “I am lucky to have inherited such a student-athlete and when I say that, I mean it. He is of the finest young men I have ever dealt with.”