DeShawn Stevenson (born April 3, 1981) is an American professional basketball player at shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. Before his NBA career, he originally committed to play at the University of Kansas, but decided to enter the NBA directly from Washington Union High School in his hometown of Fresno, California, and was picked by the Utah Jazz with the 23rd selection of the 2000 NBA Draft. He is well known for his defense and his athleticism.
DeShawn Stevenson was born in Fresno, California to Genice Popps and Darryl C. Stevenson. A year after DeShawn's birth, Darryl Stevenson was hospitalized for threatening family members, allegedly attacking his brother with a butcher knife. Stevenson's parents never married, although when the boy was 3, his father signed a court order agreeing he had a duty to support his son. Two months after being released from a Fresno County mental health facility, Darryl Stevenson held up a gas station with an accomplice who held a knife to a woman's throat. Darryl was found incompetent to stand trial and wound up in Atascadero State Hospital. Psychiatrists diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic. He eventually was placed on probation, but arrested again for kidnapping a woman in 1985 and jailed in April 1986. In 1993, when Stevenson was 12, his father Darryl murdered his own mother, Clara, by strangling her. Darryl Stevenson died in Corcoran State Prison of lung cancer at age 36 in 1999. Tattooed on his chest was one word: "DeShawn."
When Stevenson began his high school career, he lived with his godparents so he could establish residency in Easton and play at the same school that his father played at. Stevenson played varsity as a freshman and traveled in a summer league. College recruiters came to the farm town to see him play. In his junior year, Stevenson led the Division III team to a state championship. After he committed to play at Kansas, head coach Roy Williams called him the "most gifted recruit ever". Stevenson averaged 30.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game his senior year. He led the West to a 146–120 win in the McDonald's All-American high school game in March with a game-high 25 points. He also won the slam-dunk crown. Stevenson flirted with skipping college and declaring his eligibility to go pro, a decision that upset his mother. The Jayhawks lost their future star when a surprisingly impressive jump in his SAT score caught the attention of the Educational Testing Service, which "red-flagged" it, making him temporarily ineligible to play. Stevenson could have appealed and explained how he had managed to improve his score from 450 as a sophomore to 1,150 as a senior. Instead, he took the SAT a second time and received less than a 650, well below the NCAA minimum of 820.