Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Of the 38 scholar-athletes and two football teams that have been named the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learners of the Week, King High’s Dennis Norfleet holds the distinction of being the very first.
Norfleet, a 5-9 junior point guard, is also the first repeat PSLer of the Week, having led the Crusaders’ basketball team with the same inspiration, dedication and high energy that distinguished him as an honoree in football.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team,” said King Coach Pierre Brooks. “In practice, he goes all out just as he does in the games. He’s diving on the floor for loose balls, taking charges. He ignites our defense. He’s just a great leader overall.”
In the PSL Big D boys’ basketball quarterfinals, Norfleet’s five steals and six rebounds contributed mightily to the Crusaders’ 58-50 victory against Douglass. “He carried the team on his back,” Brooks said. “He just willed the team to victory.”
In the Big D semifinals, Norfleet again played stellar defense and made the game-tying free throw that sent the contest into overtime before King succumbed to top-seeded Southeastern 67-62. The loss put a crimp in Norfleet’s hopes of winning city and state titles in what is likely his last year of high school basketball.
Football is Norfleet’s main sport. He plans to play in the Under Armor All-Star game in San Antonio, Texas after next fall’s season, which would make him ineligible for further high school competition.
“Basketball is just something I can have fun with,” he said. ” I’ve known a lot of my teammates since I was in the sixth grade. We enjoy being with each other like family. I bring a lot of energy to keep us going during the year.”
With a 3.2 grade point average, Norfleet has already been offered a football scholarship at Michigan State, but he hasn’t committed. He’s putting all his efforts into getting ready for the state basketball tournament.
“I want to finish strong,” said Norfleet, who is averaging 16 points, five steals and four assists a game after racking up 1900 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns last fall on the football field. “My goal is to help take us as far as we can go.”